Indies Only: The Village Grind Making it Work in the Age of Corporate Coffee

Behrens family working around the clock to dish out the morning Joe.

Jodi Behrens, owner of The Village Grind, works long, hard hours with her family to ensure Oswego’s quaint coffeehouse will remain a popular gathering place for years to come.

The Village Grind has been here for 15 years. A small little coffee house surviving in this big world is definitely exciting,” said Behrens, who has owned the business with her husband, Dave, for eight years. “I work 95-100 hours each week to make this business work."

For the Behrens, the business is all about family.

“My husband does the book work. My kids do the computer work. My daughter, Brooke (24), runs the Yorkville location," Behrens said. "My daughters Katie (22) and Molly (17) work the counter here, and my son Nate (20) is our grunt man.

"We couldn’t do it without the kids. It takes all six of us to make this business work.

In the days of corporate coffee popping up all over town, Behrens said the locals keep the business going.

“There are no small coffeehouses around anymore," she said. "If you like the feel of a small town, then you need to support small town businesses because they are going away. We thank God for all our loyal customers—they are a huge part of what keeps us going.”

Behrens opened  four years ago, but she isn’t planning on further expansions.

“I want to keep the small town feel; I just want more people to come," she said.

has a cup of coffee to suit any coffee drinker. The shop also offers homemade gelato and baked goods, soup and sandwiches, tea, lemonade, fresh fruit and steel-cut oatmeal. Quiche is offered on Sundays. 

Kid-friendly items include iced chocolate milk, Italian soda and 10-cent candies.

“We really try to offer affordable and fresh items for people to enjoy," Behrens said. "I hate when I have to raise prices."

The Behrens family has lived in Oswego for 17 years, and can be spotted at community events all year round serving coffee and giving back.

In the back room, a large bookshelf is filled with popular hardcovers, paperbacks, children’s books and videos. Books are sold for $1 or $2 and proceeds go to Kendall County's Court Appointed Special Advocates program.

“We have made close to $4,000 for CASA through book donations. and it’s our customers who have made that happen,” Behrens said.

One group of regulars claim a large circular table as their own each weekday morning after their workout. 

“We schedule our lives around coming here for coffee,” said customer Lisa Kittilsen. “We coordinate work hours, grocery shopping, everything around being here with our friends.”

The Village Grind, 19 Main St., is open Monday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

M.S. July 31, 2011 at 04:52 PM
The Village Grind is a wonderful part of downtown Oswego! When I visit The Village Grind, I enjoy that I always feel welcomed and I always receive service with a smile! I appreciate their community service efforts each year at Fox Chase. I completely agree with Jodi......"If you like the feel of a small town, then you need to support small town businesses because they are going away. The Village Grind is quite a gem for Oswego!!
Rev. Bob Butler July 31, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Thanks Jodi for all you. do.
oswegoannie July 31, 2011 at 09:54 PM
We love the Village Grind and especially the home-made baked goods - as much as the coffees and gelatos. Kudos to the owners and their kids for all their hard work and for making the Grind such a nice destination to go with friends.
Karen Kulzer August 01, 2011 at 02:52 AM
I, my family, and my friends love Jodi, the Behrens family, and both locations of The Village Grind. It's wonderful to have such a great business in Oswego that goes out of its way to provide a friendly atmosphere with excellent food and coffee that constantly contributes to our community.
AprIL Morganegg August 01, 2011 at 06:56 PM
The girls at Oswego Travel love the Villiage Grind... When we are experiencing A RATHER STRESSFUL DAY !! a quick trip to the Grind for something sweet can turn it around.. When my accountant from Park Ridge makes a trip out he has to have some sweets from the Grind.. Thanks Jodi.. keep up the good work !


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