OTTAWA — The minute Angie Hooper rolled into Ottawa, she knew her family’s search was over.
“I sometimes have fate feelings, or premonitions, where I just know certain things,” she said. “Where I grew up we had a courthouse like (Ottawa’s), and it got burned down. When we pulled into this town and saw the courthouse, I said, ‘This is it.’ ”
Angie, along with her husband, Chris Hooper, and son, Garrett Hooper, are owners and operators of Roasted Cafe, 123 E. 2nd St. in Ottawa. After years of work, the Hoopers held a soft opening for their restaurant Feb. 15.
“We didn't even announce we were going to open — we just flipped the sign,” Angie said. “Our reviews have been positive, which is blowing me away.”
The Hoopers’ entrance into the Franklin County restaurant scene has its roots in Colorado, where they originally are from. Angie and her mother, Patty Ann, owned and operated B&B Cafe in Castle Rock, Colo., for more than three decades.
“There's a lot of history in that café,” Angie said. “It was never shut down in over 120 years. They used to march prisoners over from the courthouse and feed them twice a day at the café. A marshal was shot and killed in there. My mom and I had it for 32 years before she passed away.”
After a brief stint operating an Italian restaurant and an establishment named Patty Ann’s Cafe, Angie and her family started searching for another region where they could put down roots.
“We've got family in Missouri and family in Colorado, so this is a good middle location,” Angie said.
The Hoopers bought their restaurant's current location in March 2018.
“Between March and September we did 30-some odd trips back and forth, Colorado to here,” Angie said. “Getting the restaurant set up has taken quite a while, between permitting and organizing contractors. That took a lot.”
The Hoopers also refurbished their building’s upstairs area to be used as a suite in conjunction with The Old Post Office, a wedding and event venue across the street.
“It's nice to be a part of this corner’s revitalization,” Chris said. “These buildings have been here forever, but there hasn't been much here for the past decade or so.
“The town has a feeling of ‘getting ready.’ All of the old shops are evolving into new, more sleek/modern places, which gives the town a whole new look.”
While participating in the new wave of food and entertainment in Ottawa, the Hoopers plan to keep their cafe welcoming and family-centric.
“We are a family establishment, so everyone who comes in, we want to get to know,” Angie said. “We want to remember faces and welcome customers back — when you hit that door, we'll say hi and welcome you back. That's our niche — we are family, and we incorporate that into how we wait on people.”