Location: 640 W Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53703
Ambience: Hipster coffee shop
Best Dish: Mocha
To be fair, I can’t exactly pick any other dish from Porter because I haven’t eaten anything else. I went at 9 AM, and had already had breakfast. My companion did have their avocado toast and enjoyed it — however, for almost $6 for avocado on toast, it seemed a little overpriced.
Porter’s biggest draw is its atmosphere. Tucked behind a bicycle shop just off of the railroad tracks, it’s very inconspicuous. In fact — it was so inconspicuous that Google Maps sent me around in circles for 10 minutes before I finally called my friend to ask where it was. Right outside the shop, there’s a stationary, giant yellow train just waiting there. The inside has an exposed pipe and a modern yet cosy vibe, despite how small it is. The exposed countertops and brick add to the ambience, as does the single, large square table in the center of the coffeeshop that serves as the main seating. Having everyone sit around the same coffee table really does encourage conversation — as I found when I spoke to the person sitting next to me about the newspaper.
As for their drinks, their mocha is delicious. It tastes even better because their whipped cream is light, fluffy, and clearly homemade. As someone who generally does not enjoy whipped cream, this was a very pleasant surprise. Their mocha was a little bit on the stronger side, but it still had the distinctive flavor of the chocolate. The rest of their coffee menu is pretty standard — cortados, macchiatos, lattes, and the like.
Porter is a lovely place to go for a date or just a long conversation with friends. I wouldn’t recommend it for studying simply because it is so small. It’s a great addition to Madison’s local coffeeshops, and definitely a hidden gem.
Update: Porter’s sandwiches are also amazing. Their Veggie sandwich, with tangy artichokes that add a heartiness, arugula, and gooey cheese is phenomenal and is surprisingly one of the best sandwiches I’ve had.