Good Vibes Only: Plaza Perk Serves Vintage Moods, Cool Coffee
19-year-old business student launches retro new Eau Claire coffee shop
Halfway through her business program at Chippewa Valley Technical College, 19-year-old Lillie Speros decided there’s no better way to learn about business than by owning one. That passion for entrepreneurship (and a love of delectable coffees) led her to open Plaza Perk, a ’70s retro-inspired coffee shop at 2530 Golf Road in Eau Claire (formerly Cafe Tempo).
The shop features an eclectic collection of vintage wares, including a sunkissed clock from the 1980s that reads “Good Vibes Only,” a golden record of The Monkees, a vintage Fresca clock from 1973, a vintage stereo system, and a retro record player – complete with assorted vinyl for coffee drinkers to peruse.
When you look at old family photos or old outdoor family photos from the ’70s and ’80s, they have sort of that warm cast to it that gives them a comforting family feel... I want to embody that.
Owner of plaza perk
Besides their fair trade, organic coffees and espressos, Plaza Perk blends a slew of signature drinks, including a lavender honey oat milk latte, warm vanilla chai tea, and Italian cream soda.
“You go to Starbucks and you ask for a macchiato,” Speros said. “They’re making you an upside down latte. It’s not a true, traditional macchiato. We try to be as true to traditional, true coffee terms as we can be.”
The coffee shop hosted a soft opening on Feb. 1, with plans for a grand opening later in March. In May, Speros plans to host Plaza Perk’s first art show, featuring the flower-themed work of Kelly Speros, Lillie’s aunt – the first of many art shows planned for the future. “People need something bright and new,” she said. “Sometimes change can be scary and sometimes it can be exactly what people need.”
Speros keeps regulars’ orders written carefully on index cards, memorizing their names to really give this retro cafe a hometown feel – similar to the famous, cozy Friends coffee shop, Central Perk (though the similarity in name is a mere coincidence). “I grew up with whatever (music) my parents grew up with,” Speros said, “which was a lot of ’70s music, so it’s what feels like home to me – what feels comfortable. And that’s what I want to achieve when I walk into a space.”
Plaza Perk • 2530 Golf Road, Eau Claire • www.facebook.com/plazaperkllc • (715) 514-0146