Until recently, photographer Jenny Wheat’s studio looked out on Crossroads mainstay YJ’s Snack Bar.
She describes herself as being like the nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz from the old “Bewitched” television show. As she worked, Wheat could see everything happening on the block and knew most of the regulars.
So when the cafe decided to relocate after decades at 128 W. 18th St., Wheat wasn’t about to see that Crossroads hub die.
“I’ve been on this block for five or six years. This is my creative home and I love all of the neighborhood,” she said. “YJ’s is kind of a creative hub for the creative community. I just didn’t want to see that end.”
Wheat plans to open a weekday breakfast and lunch cafe, Wheat Neighborhood Table, in the spot on Sept. 1.
As of midafternoon July 17, she had raised $3,852 from 72 backers on the Indiegogo crowdfunding site with a goal of $20,000 in the next few weeks, all to help with initial expenses.
Wheat Neighborhood Table will serve such items as specialty toasts, entree salads, snacks, treats such as lemon bars and cookies, and soups in the winter.
“The thing we liked about YJ’s — if they ran out of something you would just get something else,” she said. “We will make stuff every day and when we are out, we are out. It will be a very informal vibe for sure. I feel like I can tackle that and I can keep an eye on it from my studio.”
Wheat started Wheat Photography in 2004 in her Overland Park home, later operating in studios in the West Bottoms, the West Side and then the Crossroads.
YJ’s is relocating to the former Sylvia’s Deli space at 1746 Washington St. It had shared the building at 18th and Wyandotte with such tenants as the Pearl performing arts theater, Oracle Natural Science, Village Collection and Fishtank.
Sight Realty in Leawood purchased the 19,000-square-foot building (circa 1920s) in June for an undisclosed price.
Peggy Noland recently closed her namesake shop in the building and Sight Realty is talking to possible retail tenants for the tiny space.
“The building has so much potential and we want to help it reach that potential,” said Dan Sight, president of Sight Realty.