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Family Grounds Anniversary Party

By Tatum Bartlett | Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Grounds Cafe. Photo by Mike Fourcher.

Prior to having children, John TenBrink and Brady TenBrink traveled the world. With each new destination came a new cafe experience. It was then, some 13 years ago, that the TenBrinks made a pact to one day own and operate their own cafe—and then came Sophia, and Dylan, and Liviya.

Children typically bring a sense of urgency to parents’ lives—a feeling that dreams must be put on hold and practicality must take precedence. Then there are some who never stop dreaming; instead, they mold their dreams around their present circumstances. The TenBrinks did exactly this.

With backgrounds in interior design, marketing, and education, the TenBrinks did their market research, and with three children of their own, they had firsthand insight into what parents seek in a coffeeshop. And so they launched Family Grounds at 3652 N. Lincoln Ave.

Family Grounds is a place for parents and their children. The space is equally divided among cafe and play space, allowing parents an opportunity to take advantage of the free WiFi, while junior pretends to mow the lawn in front of the Victorian playhouse. The cafe routinely features a variety of classes and events. Coming up on the calendar, a round of Bitty Ballerina Classes will start on September 8; a Baby Sign, Say & Play series on September 16; and an Infant and Child CPR Class also starts on September 8.

The cafe serves Intelligentsia coffee, pastries, coffee breads, scones, and seasonal salads, as well as PB&J sandwiches and apple sauce for the kids. The TenBrinks have apparently thought of everything!

It was one year ago yesterday the couple renovated the auto body garage at 3652 N. Lincoln Ave. (just north of the Brown Line Addison stop) and created their 3,000-square-foot coffee shop and play space. On Saturday, August the 28 (9 a.m. – 2 p.m), the TenBrinks will throw an anniversary party in honor of the community that has supported both their family and their dream.

The party will feature live performances by local children?s favorites Little Miss Ann, Laura Dorherty, Poochmugus, and Emily Claire Palmer, face-painting and a fire truck (we’re talking the real deal here!). Admission to the play space is free in honor of the day’s festivities.

John TenBrink is looking forward to spending the day with his family and yours. Reflecting on the past year, he said, “We cannot thank the community enough for embracing us and really making Family Grounds Cafe the Chicago brand that it is.”

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