Kirby Keomysay and Tyler Sutter, partners in life and in business, are the owners of West Omaha’s newest coffee shop The Grind Coffeehouse.
Ko & Co. Studios, which connects to the coffee house, is only one of its unique features.
The salon, also owned by Keomysay, provides entrepreneurs the freedom to build their own client base while having access to salon industry experts and in-house education.
“I think for both of us this is so different from our primary careers,” Sutter says. “You can make everyone happy, and they start their day off with you.”
Keomysay has worked in cosmetology and entrepreneurship for over 20 years, and Sutter works as a physician assistant at a local emergency room, so neither of them previously had experience with the coffee industry.
“I felt like there was a need for me personally and professionally,” Keomysay says. “To do something different, but yet still serve the community.”
The coffee shop is innovative as well, with a self-ordering approach customers can order at a kiosk, through a QR code or online.
“We’re also known for an elevated vibe,” Keomysay says. “We put a lot of emphasis into the way the coffeehouse looks and how it feels.”
The inside of the coffeehouse features a modern look with ambient lighting, high-end fixtures and décor.
“We wanted a coffeehouse that felt warm, welcoming and inviting,” Keomysay says.
When designing the coffeehouse, they intentionally added warm finishes, so that people would feel comfortable and cozy. In addition, they curated an inviting playlist.
They also incorporate Keomysay’s deep-rooted Asian heritage into the menu and decor.
The Mekong Mist is their take on a London Fog, but with a name that honors Keomysay’s parents’ birthplace in Laos, specifically the Mekong River and the misty tropical monsoon climate in the spring and summer months.
The menu has a wide variety of different beverages including cold brews, lattes, pressed juices from The Grove Juicery, iced teas and hot teas. They also serve sweet blenders and refreshers.
“I just wanted to be a coffee house that was different and unique,” Keomysay says. “Growing up, my family used to own a Thai restaurant, and I really loved and enjoyed the ambiance, the decor and the work ethic that my family had.”
Both Sutter and Keomysay love traveling to Asia, so they wanted to bring some of that into the Grind Coffeehouse brand.
The coffee house officially opened in December of 2022, however, the pandemic delayed the opening for at least six months.
“In retrospect, that actually worked out great because we needed time to learn the ins and outs of coffee,” Sutter says.
The delayed opening gave them time to fine-tune their brand and find the right employees to help operate the business.
“In a way, yes, it slowed us down,” Keomysay says. “But I think we opened late enough where the community felt fairly comfortable and safe coming into a coffee shop.”
The typical demographic that they see is a mixture of students, professionals, stay-at-home parents and families.
“We cater to everyone,” Keomysay says. “We feel like our menu caters to the masses, we have kid-friendly items and items that fit dietary restriction needs.”
“A fair number of people that come in actually want to sit down and enjoy the space instead of just grab and go,” Sutter says.
For food, they have bakery items, specialty toast and a hot food item called The Childhood Favorite, which was a dish that Kirby’s parents would make him as a kid.
The Childhood Favorite has now become a local favorite among patrons, including a piece of toasted wheat bread with over medium oven-baked eggs, furikake seasonong, black pepper and Maggi sauce.
“People appreciate the different types of flavors that we’re bringing in for a breakfast item,” Keomysay says.
One of the favorites is a honey lavender matcha, featuring a couple types of matcha rather than just one.
“We’ve had a couple of guests say this is the best matcha they have ever had,” Sutter says.
Their signature drink, called The Grinder, combines different coffee blends, shots of espresso with a few espresso beans that create a bit of texture.
Keomysay says right now they’re currently focused on providing Omaha with high quality and consistent beverages, Asian influence and an elevated vibe.
“It’s been surreal,” Keomysay says. “But also rewarding to come to work and know that we’ve had this vision and it’s all come to life.”