The large wooden sign behind the counter and above the kitchen door at the Pink Mocha Café & Coffee House in Hartland could very well be owner Heidi Nugent’s philosophy.
“To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream. Not only plan but also believe.”
Nugent’s belief in her dream to provide tasty food and drink for breakfast and lunch in a friendly, casual atmosphere was tested this past year as she moved from Hartland’s Capitol Plaza on East Capitol Drive to Merton Avenue. The move was fueled by a new apartment development taking over the former location and reportedly nearly $80,000 of financial assistance for the move and building improvements from the village. The old café closed in November 2015 and re-opened at the new location this past July.
In late September, Nugent was in the process of refining her extensive menu and developing a web site while working out the kinks of the slightly smaller storefront space that features a shabby chic motif. Business, she said, has been brisk.
“It’s amazing,” Nugent said. “I am humbled that people had been waiting for me to reopen. I did not know I had that kind of following.”
Those following Nugent are tasting daily baked items such as various muffins, pies, bread pudding, cinnamon buns, pecan rolls and much more. Heidi’s Specials include blueberry granola pancakes, banana stuffed Belgian waffles, and mac ‘n cheese with crab cakes or balsamic chicken. Also available is a host of sandwiches, wraps and paninis as well as soups, salads and specialty coffees, teas, soft drinks and more.
Also served is plenty of personality as Nugent and her staff take the time to greet customers and personalize their visit. On a warm September afternoon, the owner got a big hug from a woman who was celebrating a birthday.
“I’m pretty much all over, from back in the kitchen baking and cooking to waiting on customers,” said Nugent, who added that she is never in a bad mood.
That attitude has served her well over the past 25 years as she has developed similar businesses. She ran Heidi’s Café for eight years in Delafield, had a coffee and bakery cart at Mayfair mall in the 1990s, and ran Java by Heidi for more than a decade at Miller Park before opening the Pink Mocha Café’s first location.
“I wanted a name that would be fun and distinctive,” Nugent said. “Pink is my favorite color and I love chocolate.”
The addition of Coffeehouse to the business name is to help the marketplace understand the wide array of available food and drink.
The entrepreneur learned skills early from her parents who established an ice cream parlor named Peppermint Junction in Sussex. Her mother also once won a state fair blue ribbon for her apple pie.
“All of that influenced me,” Nugent said. “My parents would talk about the business, so I learned a lot of entrepreneurial skills from them. You know, parents think their teens don’t listen when they talk, but they do.”
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At A Glance
Pink Mocha Café and Coffee House
ADDRESS: 418 Merton Ave., Hartland, WI 53029
FARE: Breakfast all day with an emphasis on homemade bakery and eggs benedict, omelets and pancakes. Lunch items range from soups and salads to various sandwiches, wraps, paninis and specialty items including mac n’ cheese with crab cakes or chicken. A variety of coffees and teas as well as soft and ice cream drinks.
PRICE RANGE: From $2.95 muffins to $11.95 mac n. cheese with crab cakes.
AMBIENCE: Casual, colorful shabby chic with friendly mixed and matched new and distressed tables and chairs. Outdoor seating when weather cooperates.
HOURS: Daily from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (best to check Website)
RESERVATIONS: Not needed (Call ahead for large take-put orders)
DIETARY NEEDS: Check with staff, who will try to accommodate in this made-to-order eatery.