RIVERSIDE – Grumpy’s Coffee & Ice Cream Cafe closed Dec. 24 after 20 years as a community gathering spot where packs of regulars greeted the day and each other.
Friends Kimberly Palka and Davoid Moreau opened the cafe in August 1993. Even after Grumpy’s closed its doors to the public, regulars continued to stop in for their morning coffee until the cafe’s spot at 35 E. Burlington St. was turned over to its next-door neighbor, The Chew Chew restaurant, which bought the location.
“We solve the world’s problems here every day,” Palka said. “It’s 'Cheers' without the hangover. Everybody knows everybody’s business. It’s become family. We go to everyone’s funerals, birthdays.”
Palka said people from all over the area would visit Grumpy’s daily for their morning coffee or breakfast.
“Someone told me it’s like going to a party and ending up in the kitchen,” she said. “There’s no places like that any more. It’s a shame. It’s a dying art in a way.”
Palka said she and Moreau are hoping to open another cafe, which would be called Grumpy’s Too, at a different location in Riverside or Berwyn. In the meantime, they plan to meet with the cafe’s regulars at another coffee shop, she said.