In September, Get Real Cafe marked the five-year anniversary of its opening on Sturgeon Bay’s west side. For owner and operator Veronica Ripp, the cafe has been a childhood dream come true. After growing up in the Sturgeon Bay supper-club atmosphere, her career has come full circle, and she has more in store for her future.
After a brief closure in mid-2018 while she helped her brother to reopen the Hitching Post Bar and Grill, Get Real Cafe itself reopened in November and has since had the busiest year yet.
“It’s been back-breaking, but record-breaking,” Ripp said. “We have seen a lot of traffic simply through word of mouth – especially people who have dietary preferences or restrictions are finding us.”
From the beginning, Get Real Cafe has focused on using fresh, organic ingredients with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly items. The current menu includes delicious cold and hot sandwiches, wraps, salads, smoothies, raw juices, typically two to three daily soup options, and plenty more frozen choices that are ready to take home for easy reheating. The deli case near the entrance also stocks lots of grab-and-go options for easy meals on the move and for stocking the home fridge.
With the addition of Lawlss Coffee in the space next door – which opens at 7 am daily – Ripp adjusted Get Real Cafe’s hours to open at 8 am for those who want to get their coffee and breakfast or to-go items in one stop. The cafe’s breakfast menu is also new, served 8-11 am. You’ll find colorful variations of breakfast burritos, French toast, house granola, egg plates, avocado toast and a breakfast bowl that has proved immensely popular.
As a made-from-scratch operation with a made-to-order kitchen, busy summer days were, as Ripp said, back-breaking. The current space limits how much food can be prepared at once – and food can be prepared only so fast in any environment – which leads to longer wait times, which has led Ripp to consider her next move. She’s looking to the future with the intention of gaining more kitchen space to broaden her food offerings and make serving more customers during the summer months a more viable undertaking.
With potentially more space, Ripp is also eager to offer cooking classes to kids and adults about how to turn fresh ingredients into healthful, tasty meals at home.
“You don’t have to buy [food] from the center of the grocery store,” Ripp said. “You can shop the outside, and learn how to make it yourself, and actually be self-sufficient without Rice-A-Roni. No offense to Rice-A-Roni – it has its place – but there’s a reason why we are all on some type of medication. It’s what we eat; it’s environmental.”
Want to hear more about the inspiration behind Get Real Cafe? Listen to our conversation with Veronica Ripp, recorded earlier this year, on the Door County Pulse Podcast titled “Door County’s Food Scene: Veronica Ripp of Get Real Cafe” at doorcountypulse.com/podcasts.
Visit Get Real Cafe, 116 S. Madison Ave. in Sturgeon Bay, Monday and Wednesday – Saturday, 8 am – 3 pm. (Closed Tuesday and Sunday.)