Misconceptions abound regarding where to find high-caliber vegetarian cuisine. The general assumption tends to be that cities in coastal states like Los Angeles and Portland are the prime locales to find restaurants that effectively cater to a variety of dietary preferences without sacrificing taste, presentation or adequate portion sizes. However, Paradigm Coffee and Music in Sheboygan is demonstrating vegcentric food businesses can not only survive—but thrive—in the Midwest, too.
The first factor working in Paradigm’s favor is setting. Situated in one the most walkable sections of Downtown Sheboygan on North 8th Street, the coffeehouse is centrally located plus within a few blocks of Mead Library (the largest library in the city), John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Above & Beyond Children’s Museum. The steady foot traffic is not a problem because Paradigm’s interior is much larger than it appears when standing on the outside peeking in. Having abundant seating makes it a venue well suited for longer work lunches, group study sessions and the occasional live events like drag shows which happen sporadically throughout the year—putting the small stage in the rear section of the café’s main room to good use.
Another major draw is the exceptional hospitality the staff provides to every customer. Patiently attending to food modifications and requests while also staying on top of to-go orders and sharing details about initiatives in the area which might be of interest to locals or tourists is no easy feat during peak business hours such as its weekly Vegan Burger nights on Thursdays. Yet, somehow, the Paradigm staff efficiently pulls it all off, in addition to maintaining impeccable manners with patrons.
Although probably the most unexpected, pleasant surprise is no one leaves hungry. The menu may be fully meatless, but there’s plenty of substantial eats beyond a salad. The individual servings can comfortably feed two—no matter if ordering a Breakfast Betty burrito stuffed with tempeh, eggs, greens and avocado; a jumbo pumpkin chocolate chip muffin; or a vegan Scotcharoo bigger than a tea saucer.
And the beverage offerings may be an even bigger draw. Coffee, chocolate and nondairy devotees will especially adore the assortment of specialty frappes and lattes like the Busy Beaver, a redolent combo of Omanhene chocolate, cardamom, espresso, maple syrup and steamed oat milk, that tastes as good as it smells. It’s one of many items keeping regulars coming back for more—as well as making Paradigm well worth taking a foodie road trip here in Wisconsin.
Paradigm is open Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. To learn more, visit www.paradigmvenue.com.