Robin Krause, the owner of threeFilling Station
coffee shops in Kansas City, has strong family ties to Shawnee Mission North High School.
“I’m the only one out of my extended family who didn’t go to North,” she says.
For years, Krause had driven by the empty gas station building across from the school. The building was in pretty bad shape. “It had been sitting empty for I don’t know how long,” Krause says. But the entrepreneur saw past the holes in the walls — and decided to convert the building into her fourth Filling Station. It took about nine months and a lot of work to convert the gas station to a comfy, clean and industrial-chic coffee shop.
“Everything in there is brand-new minus the floors,” Krause says.
The Overland Park Filling Station, which opened in November, looks similar to the original, nine-year-old location at 2980 McGee Trafficway in midtown Kansas City. Imagine clear garage doors, polished concrete floors, a sleek coffee and juice bar, vintage gas tanks on the walls, and a glass pastry case filled with quiche, muffins, scones, cookies and other sweet treats.
The pastries are made by Krause’s own Soho Bakery, 310 W. 8th St. in Kansas City. I like Soho’s moist apple muffins, which come topped with bacon crumbles, and can’t get enough of the golden blueberry scones, which barista David Pugh recommended. Pugh also suggested a cup of pour-over coffee ($3) made with Ethiopian beans roasted by Blue Bottle Coffee, based in Oakland, Calif., and Brooklyn, N.Y.
Pugh, a coffee geek who says he realized his passion for good java after ordering a mocha from the midtown Filling Station, said the Blue Bottle coffee tasted “fruity” and had a “lemony acidity.”
The Overland Park Filling Station serves coffee made with beans by a variety of local and national roasters. The current menu puts local picks such as PT’s Coffee from Topeka and Kansas City’s own Broadway Roasting Company next to beans from Novo Coffee in Denver.
The Filling Station also serves hot chocolate, espresso drinks and locally blended tea from Hugo Tea Co. (Try the green, which isn’t at all grassy or bitter.)
I’m a fan of the fresh juices, particularly the Tasty Tater ($5), which blends juices from sweet potato, pineapple and lime. Sweet potato juice sounds unusual— but it’s actually creamy and subtle and helps mellow out the sweet and sour of the pineapple and lime.
If you’re vegan or gluten-free, you’ll find a lot to love at the Filling Station, which serves several gluten-free pastries, raw protein balls and rotating made-from-scratch soup selections that are often free of meat and dairy.
The new Filling Station lives up to its name — it’s the perfect place to pause, refill and get on with your day. Krause says she’s already building a base of regulars who live in the neighborhoods surrounding the high school. She’s hoping to grow her customer base next fall — that’s when IKEA opens its first regional store a mile west at Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive.
Furniture shopping requires energy — and the Filling Station definitely supplies it.