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Four Kids Coffee: Not Your Mom's Coffee Shop

There's a great new coffee shop in town! Grab your kids and go-they have a supervised play area and great coffee, and gluten-free baked goods

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brandice Schnabel November 15, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I was told at my visit that there will be a minimum purchase amount and only one hour given on the wifi. If that's changed I'm very interested. Also, the hours pretty much guarantee that I will never be there. I think it's great for day time folks, but I'm at work until 4 pm and at coffee shops in the evenings or late on weekends. I'm not going to be a patron until this shop gets on board with evening hours and actually being open on the weekends. The soft open with unclear hours and wishy-washy answers to a lot of things is a little bit of a turn off. Just open, offer more reasonable hours that accommodate a broader customer base, and get to work. *shrug*
Brandice Schnabel November 15, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Also of note: 9 am open time doesn't accommodate the early work goers either for a coffee drive-thru. There's literally no time that working adults can enjoy this place. I guess if you're not the target market you're out of luck. :(
Vanessa Marie Wentzel November 15, 2012 at 05:32 PM
What exactly is your target market?
Mrs November 15, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Maybe target market is SAHMs with little kids? $6.50 is too much for me to pay for play area because I can go to mcd's or playland at First Christian Church for my child to play for free. If the play area was free, I would come for lunch with my 4 yr old and then let her play.
Jason November 15, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Clarification on the hours: The hours for Four Kids Coffee are currently 8AM-5PM. The reason is simply that the shop is in a soft open phase doing training and hiring staff. Once the drive thru menu signs are completed - the shop and drive thru will open at 6:30 AM. Four Kids will extend evening hours as the staff become capable of providing a great coffee experience.
Jason November 15, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Clarification on the WiFi: There seems to be some concern over the availability of the WiFi within the coffee shop. This is certainly understandable. In order to keep the WiFi available with the best speed for our customers (by keeping those outside the cafe from being able to log in), patrons must have a code to log in. The code will print at the bottom of your receipt. If you need more than an hour - just talk to the staff at Four Kids.
Jason November 15, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Clarification on the Playroom: Four Kids coffee admires other great businesses and organizations. Places like First Christian and Chick-Fil-A offer an excellent jungle gym for children to burn energy. What Four Kids offers is more than a "playroom". The 800 sf creative playspace is comprised of a playhouse with a kitchen, paints, musical instruments and many other sources for both fun and learning. The area is separate - but attached - to the coffee shop. There is at least 1 certified teacher (usually 2) who will interact with your child - like any great teacher. While parents are welcome to play along, they are also invited to have some "me" time, "girl" time, or "work" time in the coffee shop with the peace of mind that their child is enjoying good old fashioned play. Four Kids also offers free community reading times, discounts for siblings, group rates and more. And...the room and toys are sanitized at least daily.
Jason November 15, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Four Kids Coffee is a completely peanut and tree nut FREE environment. Also, the dedicated kitchen does not process gluten or any of the top 8 food allergens (no dairy, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish or shellfish). There are also many great Vegan options.
Katie Miller November 15, 2012 at 07:41 PM
This place sounds wonderful! Congratulations on making a dream come true! Thank you for creating a very future forward establishment in or old town :)
Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta November 15, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I recently stopped in the shop with my family and was quite impressed! While my husband and I weren't able to stop in during the week because of work, we visited the location a couple of saturdays ago. The lunch options were delicious and the brownies were amazing! It was near impossible to pull my son out of the play area, so we will definitely be back! Congratulations on a fantastic place!
Joey P November 16, 2012 at 03:31 AM
I don't understand how they pay lip-service to the idea of "buying local" and "giving back to the community" but purchase their biggest good - coffee - from a supplier in Kansas.
Christina Weyrick-Cooper November 16, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Very excited about the vegan options, coffee and a place for my kiddo to play.
Elizabeth Studer November 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Best of luck with your new business! Don't let any nay-sayers discourage you. Sounds wonderful and I'm sure word of mouth will be your best advertising! I plan to bring my granddaughters soon!
Caroline November 18, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Can't wait to try it out! I personally won't take my two year old to McDonalds or Chick Fila play places. I don't find them sanitary and we try to avoid fast food due to the ingredients. I also love the idea of your play area being supervised, I do have a question though as to what your policy is regarding children with colds or other illness?
Jason November 18, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Four Kids Illness Policy: Children who have visible signs of illness are not permitted in the creative playspace. Also, we ask that all children be free from fever (without medication) and contagious illnesses for at least the last 24 hours . We appreciate parents with ill children keeping them home to recover for the benefit of all our guests. If any of our guests see something that is of concern, please let the staff know so that we can remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
alivia November 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM
hi! i am a stay at home mom and i can tell you that it is so nice and so worth it to drop your kids off at the play area for one full hour of NO Interruptions!!!:) i don't know about you, but at mickey d's i am constantly making sure my kids are not being beat up by another kid or hurting any other kids, lol, and cant just sit an relax! also, they are required to wash their hands as soon as they go in and take off their shoes. it is so clean there, and i am always grossed out about mickey's bc i have crawled through those things and they are nasty! also the teachers are amazing and play with the kids and even paint! i have a 2 yr old and a 4 year old and it is $10 an hour bc i have two, so that makes it more affordable too! just think...is $10 really too much for one complete hour of sanity??!?! ;) i hope you try it out!!!
alivia November 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM
hi! i am a stay at home mom and i can tell you that it is so nice and so worth it to drop your kids off at the play area for one full hour of NO Interruptions!!!:) i don't know about you, but at mickey d's i am constantly making sure my kids are not being beat up by another kid or hurting any other kids, lol, and cant just sit an relax! also, they are required to wash their hands as soon as they go in and take off their shoes. it is so clean there, and i am always grossed out about mickey's bc i have crawled through those things and they are nasty! also the teachers are amazing and play with the kids and even paint! i have a 2 yr old and a 4 year old and it is $10 an hour bc i have two, so that makes it more affordable too! just think...is $10 really too much for one complete hour of sanity??!?! ;) i hope you try it out!!!
Holly Pierpont November 19, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Congrats to this family on the start of their business!
Deborah November 19, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Thank you! What a great place!! We will be coming back often. The play area is awesome, the coffee is awesome, the lemon cookies are awesome. It felt more like visiting a friend then walking into a business. It's spacious, clean, and peanut free. The kids loved it and so did we! See you again soon!
Niki November 25, 2012 at 12:20 PM
So excited to try this coffee shop. I've been looking like some place like this for awhile. We'll be visiting soon! Best of Luck!
RACHELLE RANDOLPH November 26, 2012 at 02:39 AM
TO ; Brandice and 'MRS'-- omg- stop your whining and criticizing. It's obnoxious. No one is forcing you to go there- you wouldn't be happy, no matter what they did. If it's not the hours, it will be the coffee, or the food, or the service. People like your love to knock someone else down , and enjoy seeing them fail.
LeahMP March 03, 2013 at 07:17 PM
I was shocked to hear so many negative comments! I Love this coffee shop!!! Although my daughter does not have any food allergies we have friends with gluten and peanut allergies and it is so nice for their moms to not have to worry about these things when we are there. My daughter is almost two and usually has some separation anxiety--the teachers in the "playroom" were wonderful about getting on the floor and playing with her so that she would be engaged. She loves it there and it is much cheaper than paying a sitter or daycare so that I can conduct work meetings or even meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee. It is also cleaner, more educational, and much safer for her than anywhere else we've been. The coffee and baked goods are delicious! I've also had their salad, chili, and rice and beans--all delicious also! The entire staff is always friendly and helpful and they go out of their way to ensure we both enjoy our time. I have boys who are 10 and 11 and my only complaint is that there was never such a wonderful establishment when they were little! I just can't say enough good things about it:)!
CAB April 26, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Sounds like a wonderful establishment and I wish you nothing but the best. I only wish that it could accommodate my son safely. He has multiple life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, seafood, egg, and all poultry The fact that you serve chicken and turkey will not allow us to visit your coffee shop and play area. Obviously, there is no place that can accommodate everyone safely, but kudos to you for opening a place that works for many with other food allergies. We need more places like this. Best of luck to you and your family.
Annette May 01, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Im appalled by the negative comments. Go ahead and do what you want but don't try to hurt a new business. Very distasteful. On a happy note? Good job guys! :)
Melissa May 01, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Loved it! The Black Bean and Rice Soup was delicious and the brownie bite left me wishing I had purchased more than a bite LOL! Staff was very knowledgeable and kindly answered many questions. The decor is VERY clean and welcoming. Children are happily playing in another SOUNDPROOF area. An amazing concept brought to life! Will definitely be on my list of go to spots!

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