Does a mug of hot chocolate sound perfect, post-cross-country skiing? Door County’s coffee-shop scene has you covered, with cozy, artsy spots to curl up with a book or linger over lunch.

As a nod to the county’s Swedish heritage, Skip Stone Coffee Roasters in Sister Bay—near Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, where resident goats graze on the green roof—is all about minimalist, Scandinavian design with its furnishings, paired with repurposed, salvaged woods at the espresso bar. Breakfast sandwiches as well as glasses of wine and Irish Cream coffee join pastries and espresso/coffee drinks for a twist on the typical daytime café.

Base Camp Coffee Bar—also in Sister Bay—is a sweet spot if you love antiques. Consider fueling up at the café, a half-flight below street level, before sifting through treasures at Summer Camp Antiques, in the same building. Just look for the historic white schoolhouse along Highway 42. Hearty lunch options include “comfort grilled cheese” (three cheeses and tomatoes baked on ciabatta) and drinks skew creative (like campfire cocoa and maple steamer, folding in Door County maple syrup). Early riser? The breakfast sandwiches may be your jam.

If you’re looking for a substantial breakfast with your java, Blue Horse Café in Fish Creek is that place. Options range from huevos rancheros to a Tuscan egg sandwich and the baristas have fun with drinks, coming up with options like Vacation Latte and Chuck Norris (that’s three espresso shots, steamed milk and caramel sauce).

Over on the Lake Michigan side, Bearded Heart Coffee in Baileys Harbor gets a lot of social-media love for its tiny-house home. Its bright-yellow door and local art adds pep to those dreary winter days, too. Their house coffee features rotating beans from a variety of roasters around the state, including Ruby and Kin-Kin. And, five different toasts prove there’s a world outside of avocado toast (although that’s included, too), such as their smoked whitefish toast, with locally-smoked whitefish.

Image courtesy of Artemis Photography


Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer who calls Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood home.