Customers don’t have to worry about dejá brew in Gardner.
Although the community boasts three new shops that specialize in coffee, the java stops – all within a few blocks of one another – each offer their own unique twist to selling coffee.
Originally Michael Grim wanted to open an ice cream store.
“My wife and I love soft-serve ice cream,” Grim, who owns Java Cone at 405 E. Main St., said. “I wanted a place where teenagers could come and hang out and have ice cream.”
But coffee seemed like a natural fit for an ice cream shop, he quickly learned. Guests can enjoy coffee in the cooler months and soft serve ice cream during the warmer months.
As he continued his research, the concept grew to become more of a specialty restaurant.
The store opened its doors on Oct. 15 with a limited food menu that included Grim’s stuffed burgers and sides.
“I wanted to keep it very, very simple at first,” he said.
After several months in business, the menu continues to grow. Recently, Grim added a healthier choice sandwich with grilled ham, cheese, spinach leaves and pesto on a focaccia bun; a chicken pot pie and new sides like fried mushrooms and onion rings.
Virtually everything on the menu is hand made, and made to order, Grim explained.
“We don’t sell frozen (hamburger) patties,” he said. “Even our fries are home made.”
The establishment itself is a family environment.
“We have family and friends game nights on Mondays. You can come in and get some food and I provide the games,” Grim said. “Part of the reason I’m open is to serve this community – making sure our teenagers have a place to hang out at.”
A Cup Above
Josh See didn’t set out to become a barista.
“But it’s something that I started doing and kind of fell in love with it,” See, the owner of A Cup Above, located at 213 E. Main St., said.
See, along with his mom, Becky (Fleming) See, first broke into the coffee business in 2002. They owned shops in Louisburg and in Olathe Medical Center before Josh decided to open a store in Gardner.
“Between the two of us, Mom and I probably have about 15 years of experience in the coffee business,” See said.
The Gardner store opened on Dec. 5 with menu of gourmet coffees, sandwiches, soups in bread bowls, quiches and baked goods.
Everything is made from scratch, See explained. From the bread used to make the sandwiches to the muffin-sized quiches that can be grabbed on-the-go.
“We have a full lunch menu, and biscuits and gravy in the morning and that’s all from scratch,” See said.
Since its grand opening, the store has added employees and a drive thru window.
“We really have a good thing going here,” See said. “Mom has been baking and cooking for a long time and now has a chance to show it off. Now everyone else gets to see it and taste it.”
Christa Schroeder hoped to open a coffee shop where people can sit and stay awhile.
“What we went into it to accomplish was just a sense of community – a place to come in and hang out,” Schroeder, the owner of Groundhouse Coffee, located at 103 S. Elm St., said.
The store, recently converted from a home furnishings store, boasts high tin ceilings, brick walls and plenty of space for guests to work, converse or read.
Since its opening on Jan. 20, Schroeder said stay-at-home moms in Gardner have enjoyed having a place to go where they can just get out of the house for a little while. In addition to quiet tables and a fireplace, the shop has a miniature coffee brew station where kids can play at making coffee.
“It has been a high traffic area,” Schroeder said. “Moms can come in and have a cup of coffee with a friend, and the kids enjoy it and the moms enjoy a little bit of a break.”
The shop also boasts a conference table in a quiet space in back that businesses and groups can book and utilize. To date, Schroeder said businesses and groups including a Bible study group, are regularly using the space.
“So it’s been getting a lot of use,” she said.
The store serves a variety of baked goods including brownies and cupcakes and occasionally offers live music, but Schroeder said the shop truly focuses on coffee.
“My husband and I are big coffee people,” she said. “We’ve been looking forward to opening a coffee house. It’s been a lot of fun.”
All three shops are located in downtown Gardner. For more information about the individual stores, they can each be found on Facebook.