After 30 years working in prominent kitchens across Kansas City, chef Richard Babcock decided it was time to finally open his own restaurant. And as he and his wife and business partner Coleen looked for spots, they kept coming back to a vision of downtown Overland Park.
“It always been my dream to open my own cafe, and as we looked at locations, we just knew this was the right fit,” he said.
It took a couple of years to find the space, but in a couple of weeks, the Babcocks will open their new Ambrosia Cafe in a storefront directly across from the Overland Park farmers market — a location that couldn’t be more ideal for Rich’s style of cooking.
“I’m a seasonal chef,” he said. “So I’ll use whatever ingredients are fresh that we can get from the market vendors.”
Babcock, who spent years cooking at local country clubs and at the Royals Stadium Club restaurant, has been honing his recipes through the couples’ catering company Ambrosia Catering for the past seven years. The cafe will include a series of classic breakfast and lunch entrees, from fresh biscuits with sausage gravy and omelets to distinctive tarts and sandwiches.
Coleen said the vision is for high service cooking. Rich isn’t afraid of custom orders, she said.
“That’s one of the advantages of having a chef on site,” Coleen said. “We can accommodate dietary restrictions and do things made to order.”
Eventually, the duo intend to offer grab-and-go options as well as fresh-to-order fare.
“We’ll see what does well and turn some of those items into grab and go options,” he said. “We like to change things up, too.”
The Babcocks anticipate a grand opening in mid-September. The new cafe will be adjacent to Brew Lab in the former pharmacy building on Marty Street.