Meet Amy and Joe from River’s Edge Cafe

Amy and Joe Petit

 

Amy and Joe Petit still seem stunned that they’re the ones standing behind the counter at River’s Edge Cafe in downtown Aurora. They’re happy that it worked out that way, but the last few weeks have been a whirlwind for them.

 

After just over 20 years of marriage, the Petits are starting a new journey – one that was neither planned or expected, but new adventures are nothing new for the forty-something couple that took over the cafe at the end of April.

 

“It connects with so many parts of our personality,” Amy said. The mom of three said she has a passion for coffee and food, and the cafe gives the whole family a chance to be part of the community.

 

“We can do it together and it can continue to be a great meeting place for the community,” she said.

 

The Petits, who recently homeschooled their two eldest children, KyraJo, 17, and Kyle, 14, are making it a family affair for now at least. Amy is running the day-to-day at the cafe while KyraJo and Kyle help out, and volunteer Christina Bakker is assisting as well. They plan to hire more staff soon, as they expand their hours and offerings.

 

Amy said that they hope to open on Saturdays starting as early as this June, and they’ll stay open on Friday nights, too, starting on June 6 during First Fridays in Downtown Aurora.

 

Joe said they are looking to have local musicians play on Friday nights, or at least on one Friday a month. They want to showcase local artists, as well.

 

The couple talks a lot about developing relationships and continuing to be part of the community.

 

“We want to keep the same mission,” Amy said. It’s a mission that started with the first owners of the cafe, Jeff and Cathy Jones, and it details support of the redevelopment of downtown Aurora, as well as creating a place for everyone to feel welcome.

 

The Petits like how the cafe’s slogan is “a place for minds to meet.” It’s especially poignant for Joe, who received a new heart in November 2011. He said he woke up from the operation the next day, on his birthday. He now feels a profound amount of gratitude and thankfulness.

 

“It’s about giving and paying it forward,” said Amy, who met Joe while attending classes at Waubonsee Community College in the early 1990s.

 

Amy said she was afforded the opportunity to be a wife and mom while Joe ran Petfish, his custom design and t-shirt company that is currently located behind the cafe. They also have a three-year-old son, TJ.

 

Although the cafe is no longer affiliated with a church, the Petits are part of the Warehouse Church community. And Joe is a well-rounded musician.

 

Aside from having former owner Beth Standish and her family behind the counter, the cafe remains largely unchanged. The Petits know that the cafe is a much-loved place and they only want to strengthen what Standish brought to downtown.

 

Joe likens their new roles to his new heart. “It’s about circulation. We’re getting out there,” he said.

 

River’s Edge Cafe still has the same menu with some added offerings, like apple and cinnamon muffins. Currently open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Amy said the cafe will likely open on Friday nights and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. They are also considering opening earlier in the morning.

Visit the cafe on Facebook at River’s Edge Cafe or at www.theriversedgecafe.com.