Coffee and ice cream shop opens in Royal Oak

A coffee shop that keeps families in mind has opened in downtown Royal Oak.

The Proving Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream might seem like your average coffee shop, what with its array of coffee, ice cream, smoothies, sandwiches, and baked goods, but the coffee shop distinguishes itself with a family-friendly vibe.

There’s the Montessori-style playroom, complete with toys, puzzles, and books. Co-owners James and Jodie Courtney are taking advantage of the two-story, 6,000 sq. ft. building with a two-story sea-inspired playscape with slide that is expected to open this summer.

The coffee shop first opened in downtown Milford in 2017. They’ve now opened a second location, and this one in Royal Oak.

"Ever since opening our first Proving Grounds location in our hometown of Milford a few years ago, we’ve known that we wanted to expand with more locations," Jodie says.

Proving Grounds roasts its own coffee beans and also carries products from local makers like Browndog Ice Cream, Crust Bakery, and Drought Juice. The menu includes the "James Cracked" Grilled Cheese, a veggie-forward "The Amp", and their take on a turkey club.

In addition to the programming for children, the coffee shop features an open mic night and concerts on the weekends. There will also be spoken word, yoga, and trivia nights.

A walk-up window allows for easy ordering from passers-by.

"What sets our coffee shop apart from others is that we welcome both working professionals and families with children with open arms," Courtney says.

"We’re excited to bring our unique programming like an interactive kid’s area and live music to this beautiful space in Royal Oak."

The Proving Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream is located at 417 S. Washington Ave. in downtown Royal Oak.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.