Small batch artisan roaster brings top-tier coffee to airport
SSP America, a division of SSP Group, a leading operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations worldwide, announced today the opening of Valentine Coffee at Milwaukee County’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE).
Valentine Coffee Roasters is a popular Milwaukee specialty coffee brand and retail store developed by Robb Kashevarof who was later joined by Joe Gilsdorf. Both are experienced food, wine and coffee professionals and residents of Milwaukee. Kashevarof started roasting coffee in his garage, one half pound at a time, micro-analyzing every step involved in order to eventually sell his first cup of coffee to a farmer at a market who took a sip and said, “That’s damn good coffee.” Then, he dropped a bag of snap peas on the table as payment. Gilsdorf joined the team as the business took off, and today, Valentine Coffee is still roasted in small batches using top-tier, rigorously graded, traceable coffees.
“We have an outstanding collection of local and national brands here at MKE,” Airport Director Izzy Bonilla said. “The new Valentine Coffee locations give travelers another opportunity to sample our local Milwaukee flavor, and we’re glad to partner with SSP America to offer Valentine’s great product.”
The new locations at MKE featuring Valentine Coffee are available on Concourse C, Concourse D, and in the Concession Mall. The stores carry baked goods from Wild Flour Bakery, a woman owned business led by Dolly Mertens, which has four retail locations serving Downtown, Bay View and the South Side.
SSP America has been a food and beverage operator at MKE since 2009, proudly operating seven locations in the airport including Northpoint Custard, Nonna Bartolotta and Pizzeria Piccolla—all in partnership with the renowned Milwaukee-based Bartolotta Restaurants.
Kashevarof commented, “Joe, our team and I have a passion for focusing on the process of how to make a great a cup of coffee. It’s the fun part of our job, and it’s humbling. We’re proud to be part of the MKE community because we’re first and foremost roasters who hail from the incredible Milwaukee craft and artisan culture. So, to all the folks getting ready to hop on a plane at MKE, we have a locally roasted freshly brewed cup of coffee waitin’ for you!”
Michael Svagdis, Chief Executive Officer of SSP America mentioned, “At SSP America we have a passion for delivering our airport partners a ‘taste of place’—the favorite local restaurants that make a region special. Valentine Coffee Roasters is a beloved Milwaukee brand. Robb and Joe are two guys we can relate to—they love great food, wine, and of course coffee. We’re just so grateful for the opportunity to partner with them.”