If you’re a fan of independent coffee shops or have gluten -free issues in your life, and have young children, a visit to the newly-opened Four Kids Coffee could easily become your new favorite place.
The coffee shop at 6307 Whipple Ave. NW, just north of Dressler in Jackson Township, is unique because of its dedicated gluten -free kitchen and separate supervised play area for children.
Owners Jason and Catherine Sackett are the parents of four young children, ages 3, 4, 6 and 10-hence the name of their shop.
“All parents sometimes need a break,” said Jason. The couple wanted a place where people could relax with a great cup of coffee.
The shop boasts two kitchens-the second one being strictly gluten and peanut -free, to accommodate customers with food allergies.
The Sacketts have first hand experience with food allergies. Lily Kate, the youngest of their brood, is gluten intolerant. The 3-year- old was part of the impetus for starting the business. Love of coffee was another reason.
The affable Jason said he’s “wanted to own a coffee shop since college.” After years in the lumber business, he decided to take the plunge with his wife Catherine, an accountant.
The Sacketts schooled themselves in coffee: Jason headed west to coffee school in Portland, Oregon and Catherine headed to Holland, Michigan for a crash course to “learn how the business works and how to run a successful shop,” explained Jason. The Sackets tasted a lot of coffee and finally settled on settled on PT’s Roaster, out of Topeka ,Kansas. They loved the flavor-but just as important-it’s direct trade coffee.
Direct trade coffee means that the coffee roasters buy beans directly from the growers. Since the Sacketts strongly believe in giving back to the community, up and down the business chain, PT ‘s Roaster was a good choice.
Jason will bake cookies, scones and coffee cakes, all which have been tested on his family and friends. “He’s a great baker,” said Catherine proudly.
Catherine explained that the attractive, upscale interior also reflects their belief in buying local, whenever possible. The pendant lights over the coffee bar are from a local lighting store-Lighting By Design- and are made from bamboo, hickory and maple. Other lighting in the shop is made from recycled glass and metal. An Amish craftsman built the sturdy walnut tables and chairs. A meeting room for small groups is available and of course, there is the requisite free Wi-Fi.
On the far side of the café, the 800 -square -feet play area is inviting and full of light. Geared towards toddlers and children up to about the age of 10, there’s a playhouse, a reading area and toys made from recycled and BPA –free materials. Parents will also be able to see their kids through the doors and can enjoy their coffee, knowing that their children are being supervised. A fee of $6.50 will be charged for children to enter the play area. Future plans include making the space available for birthday parties.
Kristel Thomas of Plain Township is enthused about Four Kids Coffee. As a busy mom, she is anticipating frequent visits to the shop. Thomas is also the owner of Brain Balance, and sees a number of families that deal with gluten sensitivities. “We will send families their way to Four Kids Coffee. I think they are going to be wildly successful...people have no idea how many families struggle with food allergies,” she said.
If you unable to stop in for your coffee and gluten free goodies, fear not: a drive -through is also available on the north side of the building. Promise your kids they can check out the play area next time.
During their “soft opening” Four Kids Coffee is currently open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., with plans to extend their hours soon.