Twisted Grounds offers coffee and community amid pandemic
The shop’s high ceilings, wing-back chairs and relaxed sitting area gives it the cozy feeling the owner hoped to create.
A 200-year-old French chandelier, coffee grinders from London and a chesterfield sofa decorate Twisted Grounds, a coffee shop that opened on the east-side last week after pandemic-related delays. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, owner Abby Padlock says she was impressed by strong community support for her new small business.
Twisted Grounds is open weekdays and mornings on weekends and offers an abundance of local coffee, beers, wine, doughnuts, bakery goods and gluten-free and vegan options. Padlock, who lives in the neighborhood, says she always felt the community needed a local eatery, and hopes to open a full food menu in the coming weeks.
“I knew it would be something that families would want to walk [to] with their kids,” Padlock says. “Mom and dad can come get a coffee drink or a beer and you have tons of options for the little ones.”
Padlock was in law school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison when she realized she wanted to start a coffee shop. She finished her law degree, which she described as a “good backup plan,” and focused in on labor and insurance law, before signing a lease on the property last November.
COVID-19 encouraged Padlock to delay her opening, but she used the extra time to decorate the shop’s interior with décor she made or found antiquing. The shop’s high ceilings, wingback chairs and relaxed sitting area gives it the cozy feeling Padlock hoped to create.
One of her favorite menu items is one of the cafe’s specialties, the lavender honey latte. Padlock also loves the vegan donuts from ShantyTown Twisted Grounds sells every Wednesday and Thursday.
But before Twisted Grounds opened its doors, Padlock struggled to find furniture, light bulbs and other necessities because of COVID-19-related staffing shortages in the companies she was ordering from.
“It took me a while to open ... Anything from warehouses and factories were so delayed. I still don’t have some bulbs I ordered months and months and months ago. I had to pick all new furniture all based on when it could get here [and] chairs came three days before I opened,” Padlock says.
Now that Twisted Grounds is open, Padlock says she’s seen the community turn out to support her. While most customers eat outside — some shaded beneath a centuries old oak tree — a few stop inside the coffee shop, which has hand sanitizer and masks for patrons.
“I definitely knew the area would be supportive [from] living here and just knowing people,” Padlock says. “I was definitely surprised that — even without the food menu instituted yet — that we’ve totally been hitting our marks.”
Next week, Padlock plans to add umbrellas and lights to the outside seating area — along with lanterns to hang on the oak tree’s branches.