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Skip Stone is slinging drinks all year in Sister Bay

The coffee shop serves up traditional coffee options to the local community

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September 19, 2023

SISTER BAY – A hop, “skip” and a jump up Wisconsin’s peninsula sits a coffee shop that has been serving traditional coffee drinks to the Door County community for the last five years.

Skip Stone Coffee Roasters (10678 North Bay Shore Drive) opened in 2018 under Wild Restaurant Concepts, a parent company that also operates Wild Tomato Wood-fired Pizza and Grille, Clover & Zot, Solago and Headwaters.

“Britt Unkefer, who is the owner of Wild Restaurant Concepts… had the idea of a coffee shop, so he opened one,” Lilly Orozco, the new co-owner of Skip Stone, said. “Britt grew up on Schoolhouse Beach (on Washington Island). That’s where the inspiration of the name comes from – skipping stones at (the beach).”

Though recently coming on board as co-owner of Skip Stone, Orozco is not new to the operation – serving as the coffee shop’s manager since spring 2019, shortly after the shop had first opened.

Open year-round
For a Door County business, Orozco said Skip Stone is unique in the fact that it stays open year-round, whereas many businesses throughout the peninsula are closed during the winter months.

“The main reason we decided to remain open year-round is because No. 1, not many businesses do,” she said. “So, we wanted to give our local community the opportunity to have a space where they can (come) get coffee – coffee is a social event these days… We are also able to offer employment to some locals who are looking for work.”

Skip Stone Coffee Roasters, Lilly Orozco said, tends to stick to more traditional coffee drinks such as cortados and flat whites. Submitted Photo

“Life happens, coffee helps”
When it comes to the coffee menu, Orozco said since the beginning, the Skip Stone team has tried to keep the menu “as simple as possible.”

“(We offer) more traditional coffee drinks,” she said. “You have to adapt to how coffee has evolved, but even with that adaptation, we try to stick to the more traditional (offerings) anyway. It works great for us.”

Some of those traditional drinks, Orozco said, include cortados, pour overs and flat whites.

One of the things Skip Stone does that remains popular amongst customers, she said, is having its own blend of locally roasted coffee.

“We don’t roast ourselves, but we do offer our own blend of coffee,” she said. “That’s what we serve… we have a great partnership with Kick Ash Coffee in Ellison Bay… They were super nice about letting us come up with our own blend of coffee.”

Skip Stone, Orozco said, orders the roasts from Kick Ash in small batches weekly, so all the coffee remains fresh. 

Lilly Orozco

Orozco said she also makes all of the coffee shop’s syrups and sauces from scratch.

In the fall, Skip Stone’s pumpkin spice latte is always a popular hit, which is made with Orozco’s homemade pumpkin sauce.

“Every year around the fall season, there’s the big pumpkin spice hype,” she said. “I wanted to offer it, but I also did not want to fall into the same old pumpkin spice latte you can find anywhere. So, I played around with some recipes and came up with a homemade, 100%-from-scratch pumpkin spice sauce… I like to compare it with a pumpkin pie filling.”

Skip Stone’s customers, Orozco said, “are always looking forward to our pumpkin spice in the fall.”

The key to syrups, in Orozco’s opinion, is to focus more on the flavor rather than the sweetness.

“I think a lot of the decisions I’ve made as far as flavored syrup is based on the fact I do not necessarily have a sweet tooth,” she said. “So yes, (the syrups) are a little sweet, but you get more of the flavor – what they’re supposed to taste like. If you’re getting a vanilla latte, it tastes like vanilla.”

Orozco said the shop recently added a new signature drink – a pecan latte.

“We began to offer the pecan latte as a seasonal special but it became so popular we decided to keep it on our menu permanently,” she said.

Lilly Orozco said Skip Stone’s pumpkin spice latte, which is made with her homemade pumpkin sauce, is popular every fall. Submitted Photo

In addition to the beverages, Skip Stone also serves baked goods, like chocolate croissants and breakfast sandwiches – such as a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. 

Always learning, always growing
As Orozco reflects on Skip Stone’s fifth year in business and her years serving as manager, she said she’s “learned a lot” and is “grateful for the opportunity of being myself and being creative.”

“I’ve been in the service industry most of my life,” she said. “Skip Stone has been my first position as general management… I had always loved coffee, I had never worked in the coffee industry… most of the knowledge I have acquired in the past few years is coffee knowledge and of course, running a business.”

Orozco said she became co-owner of Skip Stone Coffee Roasters earlier this year with Unkefer.

As Orozco looks to the next five years of business in her new role, she said “there’s always room for improvement.”

“Every year, there could be a small or big change, but I always like to stay up to date,” she said. “And learn what people like these days and adapt every year.”

Skip Stone is open from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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