After a marathon race to finish up the building we are excited to announce that Common Grounds has opened their doors! We started with a soft opening of “drive thru only customers” the day before Thanksgiving. We were amazed at the lines of cars that joined us in our excitement to have a local coffee shop in town. Bless you all, who came out that first day and calmed our nerves as we handed you our first set of mochas and lattes. We had so much fun that we decided to go ahead and open our doors for Black Friday at 4am! Kyle and I were surprised by how many people we had from about 4-6am, that swung in to get their hot cup of espresso before heading down to Bloomington and Peoria to find their deals! That Friday and Saturday the shop was full of families and friends coming home for the holidays. It warmed our heart to see friends and classmates meet up and embrace after not seeing each other for years and then sit and chat on the couch over a cup of hot cocoa reminiscing memories of Gridley.

The next week we tried added baked goods to our menu. We burned the midnight oil making pans of cinnamon rolls and scones, pies and cookies. We had a lot of fun filling the pie case and serving the treats the next week. Our pie menu included warm Bourbon Pecan, Dutch Apple Crumble, Peach Cream, Cherry with lattice top, Cindy’s famous Coconut Cream, Chocolate, and Pumpkin Cream. Our mini pies were a big hit and we decided they should be a staple on the menu! It was fun trying out different items and seeing people’s reactions. Aunt Dixie’s scones were a huge hit with the raspberry almond taking the win for being sold out before noon! The creamed Kuchen is a new item for a lot of people. We shared a lot of samples of it and soon it became a fast-moving item as well!

This week we are hoping to add a limited breakfast and lunch menu. We are hoping to serve several quiches and breakfast items such as berries and yogurt, avocado toast, and maple baked oatmeal. Our lunch menu will have toasted sandwiches, soups, and oriental chicken salad. We hope to have some seasonal lunch specials going forward. We will also have boxed lunches available for pickup if you are looking for a quick healthy lunch option. Our kitchen has been working to create the perfect combination of lunch items and we hope you will agree!

Thank you for your patience as we ease into opening and getting everything up and going. We have learned a lot along the way and are still figuring out the best way to store, create, and serve our products. We are so grateful for a supportive community that has encouraged us and been patient with Kyle and I and our awesome team of baristas and bakers. We know we have a lot of learning and discovering to do, but we are enthusiastic and eager for the future of this community’s coffee shop.

Katrina Reinhard