European Grind to brew its last drop

Tricia Michel

Brian Meredith likes the fact that he gets to start his work day with loud indie rock, a vacuum cleaner and an empty coffee shop.

Meredith, an Augsburg College senior, has worked at the European Grind coffee house in Stadium Village for more than a year. But this week will be his last.

After six years in Stadium Village, the European Grind will brew its last cup of coffee Friday. Owner T.J. McCleod was not available for comment Wednesday, but employees said the shop is closing because of lack of revenue. Meanwhile, the coffee shop’s regulars said they are disappointed to see the shop go.

Customer Julie Hrdlicka, a University sophomore, said she will miss the European Grind because it is unlike any other coffee shop.

“There is something here for everyone,” Hrdlicka said. The unique atmosphere and decorations, couches, comfortable chairs, poetry readings, live music and smoothies make the shop special.

“It’s disappointing to see small businesses like this failing when they have so much community support,” she said.

Meredith said some of the regular customers spend more time at coffee shop than many of the employees. He said a woman in her late 40s comes in at 7:30 every morning.

“She doesn’t order because I know what she wants,” he said.

Every day she sits in the same chair, sips on her coffee, sucks down five cigarettes and leaves 20 minutes later, he said.

The European Grind is one of the few coffee shops near campus that allows its customers to smoke inside.

“It’s really nice to be able to ruin your health while drinking coffee,” University junior Rachel Mayer said as she puffed on a Camel Light.

Mayer worked at the European Grind two years ago and has been a regular customer since.

She said she is sad the European Grind is closing but that it was inevitable.

“No matter how great the place, you’re still just selling coffee,” she said.

Eric Gustafson, a University graduate student, said he has been going to the European Grind since it opened. He said its atmosphere is like no other coffee shop on campus.

“A lot of other coffee places, I get the sense that when I’m in there I just want to get out,” he said.

Gustafson said once the European Grind closes he would rather hang out in his graduate office and drink coffee than go to other coffee shops.

Meredith said customers are shocked to hear the coffee shop is closing.

“This place has become a part of people’s lives,” he said.