One of Kankakee County Dining Establishments, Blue Coffee to West side of Kankakee, has not changed much in recent decades.
But there has been a major change over the past week and it has nothing to do with the menu or its wonderful selection of homemade pies.
Co-owners Debbie and Julie chouinard, a member of the family who opened the restaurant in 1954 at 1190 W. Station St., sold the business.
New owners Florin Ahmedoski, 43, from Minooka, and Nick naksuti, 49, from Albia, Iowa, reopened the restaurant on Tuesday.
It would be difficult to recognize that there has been a change in the business other than not seeing Debbie or Julie upon entering the cafe. The menu is largely the same and most of the staff stay.
First of all. the homemade pies will remain a staple of coffee. Julie will continue to supply her assortment of pastry creations.
Debbie said the time had just come. She said she spent 55 years working at the site and Julie spent over 30 as they both started working there as children.
âIt wasn’t a difficult decision at all,â Debbie said. âI like not having to get up at 2 am every day. “
When asked what her plans might be now that the restaurant opening had been taken off her plate every day, she replied that she had nothing concrete.
âNo plan. Just enjoy each day of life,â she noted. âLife has always been good. Blue’s has always been good for our family. There are a lot of memories there since then. until now.
Debbie and Julie also thanked their customers – both of whom would be considered “regulars”.
âNone of this would have been possible without them,â she said.
Regarding the new owner, Matt Ahmedoski, 21, son of new owner Florin, said the location will continue as it always has. He noted that the breakfast menu has been expanded and there may be a few additions to the lunch offerings, but overall things will stay as they always have been.
He said it was important for them to keep the name of the Blues.
âWe wanted to keep the name and family culture alive here. Everyone loves him. We want to appeal to the same people, âhe said.
Ahmedoski operated Cindy, a family restaurant for 13 years in the LaSalle County community of Mendota, Illinois, but the pandemic and its impact on the restaurant was more than the family could absorb.
Like so many other restaurants, they switched to take out orders, but that was not enough to support the business.
When the effects of the pandemic on the restaurant business began to wear off, the family began to look for another location. They spent time traveling around Illinois and one day stopped for lunch at Blue’s.
The site wasn’t even for sale at the time.
They had looked around Kankakee County for an opportunity, but when they experienced Blue’s they believed they had found what they were looking for: a family owned restaurant tucked away in a neighborhood.
âWe all loved the ambiance of the restaurant,â he said.
The opening hours of the site will remain the same: 6 am to 2 pm Tuesday to Friday; and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.
âWe are new owners, but we are just planning the same,â Ahmedoski said.
Blue’s had been closed for about two weeks due to a lack of staff. It reopened on November 2 and customers are coming back.
âWe got a lot of feedback saying ‘Thank you for reopening’,â he said.
Lee Provost of the Daily Journal writes about local business rumors, whereabouts and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at [email protected] or 815-937-3364.