RED FERN CAFE: A Greener Hit of Caffeine in Fall Creek
Red Fern Cafe introduces not only delicious coffee, but a unique partnership offering compostable cups
words & photos by Sheng Yang
The magical coffee bean! Coffee is largely considered the elixir of life for many Chippewa Valley residents, and Julie Stautz of Fall Creek would agree. Julie is the owner of the Red Fern Cafe (125 East Lincoln Ave., Fall Creek). This cafe specializes in comforting drink options and is a made-from-scratch waffle bar!
Julie, a St. Paul native, and her husband moved to the area seven years ago, but she is no stranger to Eau Claire: In fact, she has an art degree from UW-Eau Claire. Julie’s love of coffee and waffles stemmed from her grandmother, Fern, for whom the cafe is named.
"But coffee isn't the only thing (Julie Stautz) is cooking up: She is a proud advocate for living green and sustainability."
Don’t expect high-priced lighting and modern color matching chairs and tables, though. Walking into The Red Fern feels like walking into a friend’s house with bright-colored tables where kids can make art or play one of their many board games. The walls are plastered with art from local artists which change from time to time, and an aroma of fresh waffles hot off the griddle fills the space. The grand opening on Oct. 1 was a huge hit for Julie, as the community joined her for hot coffee and waffles.
Julie is currently serving Backroads Coffee, which is roasted in Hayward. Julie is getting quirky with a couple of drinks for this autumn season. There is currently a Poppycock and caramel popcorn latte. She is also including a lot of spice variations that she says customers love, including The Lumberjack, which is a maple cardamom latte, and a cayenne spiced s’mores latte called The Fiery Redhead Latte.
But coffee isn’t the only thing she’s cooking up: She is a proud advocate for living green and sustainability.
In that regard, Julie partnered with a unique company that is daring to stop the unnecessary one-time use of coffee cups. Good To Go Cups was started by two friends located in the Twin Cities, Melissa Seeley and Michelle Horan. Their goal was to create a reusable coffee cup with very little to almost no waste footprint.
These cups are made from compostable polymer which has a very high heat tolerance. The 16-ounce cups can be purchased for $19.99 at the cafe and may be returned to any participating shop to be cleaned and refilled up to 50 times. At the end of the cup’s life, it gets returned to the manufacturer and is ground up to create a new Good To Go Cup! There is even an app that maps all partnering shops. While there are plenty of coffee shops with this program in Minnesota, currently, the Red Fern Cafe is the only Wisconsin shop to participate in this program. This is something Julie is hoping to change!
As Julie says, “We are stewards of this planet and have a responsibility to take care of it.”