yola's cafe madison wi
Local Highlights of Madison WI

Healthy Restaurant Series – Yola’s Cafe & Coffee Shop

Today we have another restaurant to share with you!  As always, we looked to answer the same list of questions that will help you find your healthy place in Madison and the surrounding area when looking for local restaurants.  

Here’s our checklist for the review: 

  • The food
  • The knowledge of the staff regarding different diets or preferences
  • The overall experience

The fifth restaurant in our Madison Healthy Restaurant Series is Yola’s Cafe!  Let’s check it out!

Yola’s Cafe, Madison, WI

A few weeks ago, Becki (co-owner of The Healthy Place) and I were able to enjoy lunch at Yola’s Cafe, a popular breakfast and lunch spot on Madison’s west side. They even serve breakfast all day long! Who doesn’t love a waffle for lunch?

We had both been there before, but were pleasantly surprised this time by their fresh, new look. In the past six months, Yola’s website, store, and menu have gotten a makeover.  

Yola’s is a family-owned cafe that opened in January of 2009. They will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary next month! Yola’s is named after the owner’s (Lance) grandmother, who had a passion for cooking and community.  

Lance is also passionate about serving food that everyone can enjoy. He was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue in his late teen years and knows the pain of trying to find good-tasting, gluten-free food when dining out. It is important to him that Yola’s sources and serves great tasting dishes for everyone.  

Their store mission is to provide delicious food and a space for people to come together to form “business and personal connections that give meaning and purpose to your life”.  

What’s on the Menu?

We were impressed by the variety in the menu. I am gluten-free and Becki eats mostly vegan, so we were happy to find that there were delicious options for both of us.

Yola’s serves both breakfast and lunch! For breakfast, you can order anything from frittatas, egg sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, and waffles. For lunch, they serve a variety of sandwiches, soups, and salads.  

Both the breakfast and lunch menu offer a variety of options for different dietary needs.  They also offer lunch boxes to go, baked goods, coffee and specialty drinks that include frappes, smoothies, and natural sodas.  There is something on the menu for everyone!

Yola’s Cafe, Madison, WI healthy food

More About Yola’s Cafe

Do they offer a variety of healthy options?  (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan)
Yes!  We love the variety of options that are both healthy and made with organic and local ingredients. We were also impressed with their gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options! Most of the breakfast and lunch options can be made gluten-free and there are vegan waffles, baked goods, and a sandwich option. They also have a number of milk alternatives (like coconut, almond, and oat milk) so everyone can enjoy their latte.  

Do they use seasonal, local foods when possible?
Yes, they do their best to use as much local food and produce as possible. They use all Wisconsin cheese and local, cage-free eggs from Madison farmers. They also serve fresh Madison Sourdough and all organic, uncured, and nitrate-free meats.  

Do they accommodate food sensitivities and allergies?
They do accommodate food sensitivities, but cannot guarantee anything for someone with a severe food allergy as they do not have separate kitchen spaces. Their menus are clearly labeled, however, and they have a good variety of gluten-free, vegetarian, nut-free, and vegan options for both meals they serve.  

Do they have separate menus?
No, but the gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are clearly labeled in their menus both at the store and online.  

Do they have separate kitchens/ food preparing spaces?
No, Yola’s does not have separate spaces for preparing their food.  Everything is prepared in a shared kitchen, but they do take precautions to prevent cross-contamination.

They have a dedicated iron for their gluten-free waffles and they use different gloves for preparing gluten-free foods, as well as dedicated cutting mats. They have a speed oven and use separate plates so that there is no cross-contamination.

Are the servers/staff knowledgeable?
Yes. We didn’t have much interaction with the staff, but they were helpful and the owner was able to answer my questions.

What is the atmosphere like?
The atmosphere is great! There are plenty of spaces to sit alone and study, to have a business meeting, lunch with a friend or just a place to go to get out of the house with your kids. There is even a play area for the kids so you can enjoy your cup of coffee in peace!  

Is the food delicious?
Yes! I ordered the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Wrap on a gluten-free wrap with greens and Becki got the Hummus Supreme with a side of chips. Both sandwiches were very good!  

Catering from Yola’s Cafe

If you’re hosting an event or need lunch for a work meeting, Yola’s has an extensive and diverse breakfast and lunch menu with options for everyone! Their catering menu features party platters, appetizers, breakfast and lunch options, bakery items, drinks, and desserts. They have many gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options as well. They are open for catering Monday through Saturday during business hours.   

Final Thoughts On Yola’s

Yola’s is a fantastic spot if you live in or are visiting the west side of Madison. It is a personal favorite of mine when I’m meeting up with a girlfriend for coffee and we have our kids along. My girls know that when we go to Yola’s for breakfast, they get waffles and they get to play!  

I’ve also gone there to read and get some work done. It’s a great place for all occasions. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is wonderful! Whether you’re going to stay for a few hours, grab a lunch box to go or order from their amazing catering menu, support a local spot and check out Yola’s soon!  

Yola’s Location

494 Commerce Dr.

Madison, WI 53719


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