This was Grace's first public performance with Dylan Kay (Kelehan), who was also her music theory teacher. Grace performed several times with Dylan early in her career.
Grace has since said that she “hated” music theory, though that probably was not a reflection of her relationship with Dylan, but more what appears to be a general dislike of “formal” musical training. She appears to be more of a learning by doing and experimenting type of person.
Located in the Artists District in Peekskill, just 45 minutes north of NYC, the cafe, includes a performance stage, art gallery, lounge area, dining room, and outdoor patio. It also has a special Kids Room adjacent to the main dining area.
"The Bean Runner Café is a modest venue, but one that carries a lot of history and memories for Vanderwaal. “Grace, when she was 11, came here to do open-mic night,” Vanderwaal’s mom Tina explained. “So much happened here to put her where she is…If she had not had the Bean Runner, I don’t know that she could’ve sung for all those people at AGT.” Grace agreed. “It’s what started it all,” she said." (Corbin Reiff for UPROXX March 6, 2018)
"Before her television debut, VanderWaal frequented the open mic nights at The Bean Runner Café in Peekskill, NY. The tiny, close-knit community audience became her support system, encouraging her with each new show at the café. Every month VanderWaal returned with two songs. From poetry slams, acting, music, and singing, The Bean Runner crowd exposed VanderWaal to a wide-ranging of diversity and talent while solidifying her confidence. "The open mic nights prepared Grace for what she was able to do on television,” her mother said" (United Methodists of Greater New Jersey (2016-07-01)
"The Studio Two Music Open Mic is held in the famous Bean Runner Cafe! You can perform plugged or unplugged, and a very nice sound system is provided. ALL musical styles are welcome. They also have a great piano and a drum kit (bring your own cymbals). We can handle backing tracks as well, with advance notice. If you wish to use the drum kit or bring your own amps, please arrive before 6:15 to set up. Thanks! (Hudson Valey Music)
The hosts Andy Phillips and Scarlett Antonia present the open mic nights like this: ""Come and share your stuff at the Studio Two Open Mic, at the Bean Runner Café in sunny downtown Peekskill. We're primarily a music open mic, held the 2nd Monday of each month. We welcome newcomers and music of all genres! Poets and comics welcome too.. Solo acts get 2 songs / NEW collaborators get 3 songs."