Johnson County cafe closes after two years: ‘It was not a decision we made lightly’

Richard and Coleen Babcock spent two years searching Johnson County for the perfect spot for their comfort food restaurant.

They preferred a location in downtown Overland Park with its “small town feel” and other mom-and-pops with one-of-a-kind operations. In 2017, they opened Ambrosia Cafe at 7933 Marty St., next to Brew Lab.

But now, almost two years to the day after opening, they have closed the cafe. Heavy construction in that area, along Metcalf Avenue and 80th Street, has limited access to the restaurant and impacted sales, and they also want more time to devote to family issues.

“It was a challenge with all of the construction down there. We had too much overhead and not enough people coming in,” Coleen Babcock said. “We are really sad. It was not a decision we made lightly. I regret it every day. The last day some regulars came in and said, ‘We don’t want food, we just wanted to tell you we love you.’ ”

But the food did have its fans. Their menu included biscuits and gravy, fish tacos, vegan quesadillas, Jamaican Jerked chicken salad, barbecue, and black bean quinoa burgers.

The Babcocks said the landlord is in negotiations with two restaurant concepts for the space.

Meanwhile, the couple will still operate their Ambrosia food truck and catering kitchen in Shawnee.

By early November, their fans also will be able to order most of the same menu items through ChowNow, an online food ordering system.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.