New owner brings old restaurant to life
By Meg Dickens
Lois’s cafe was a Johnson County staple before it closed. For a short time, the company continued to host events, although it was closed to the public until further notice. No one knew how long before something new happened. Another family-run café has opened in the closed building and will continue to supply the neighborhood with local cuisine.
Jen Bumgardner opened the doors to Jen’s West Main Cafe on December 1 and people are raving about the quality of the food. So far, reviews indicate the food is good, the service quick, and the staff friendly. Bumgardner reports that the restaurant has been “very busy” and the staff are adapting quickly to meet the needs of the community.
For those concerned, there is no disagreement between the previous and current tenants. In fact, it was Lois Dunn who came up with the idea for Bumgardner to rent the building in late October, according to
Bumgardner. After praying about it, Dunn reportedly decided that she would like a similar business to bring the building to life and approached Bumgardner, who was born in Johnson County and has been in the restaurant business as an owner in over the past eight years.
“We would like to thank our loyal customers for a lifetime of fond memories and wish Jen’s West Main Cafe all the best as it opens today at the cafe,” Dunn announced on his official retirement.
The repurposing of what had become an unused building into something new is a perfect example of what could happen with the multitude of unused buildings within the community. This trend is slowly spreading as more and more people start to buy or rent these buildings and get to work. For example, the abandoned ice rink has become Black Bear Wines and Spirits, while the former Army Surplus store is on the way to becoming a delicatessen. Continuing on this path could lead to economic growth and increased quality within the Johnson County community. As part of its continued growth, Bumgardner hopes to continue growing the business in a way that helps the community, for example by providing occasional live music.
For more information on Jen’s West Main Cafe, including hours, menu and more, visit their Facebook page or call (423) 727-8778.