Beloved Kansas City cafe closed, but its owner just opened a new Johnson County bakery

Months after Cafe Europa closed in Kansas City, its new incarnation in Johnson County is now open in Mission Farms.

The Lemon Cake Bakery began serving its brownies, lemon cake (of course), and other treats Wednesday morning at 10683 Mission Road in Leawood, said owner Ben Cascio.

On its first morning, the space — bedecked in greenery and Christmas lights — saw a handful of excited customers. They approached a display case holding a few of the treats Cascio is proudest of, many of them favorites from Cafe Europa.

“Everything we do in the bakery is small batch and from scratch,” Cascio said.

He cut off a thick piece of lemon cake, which sells for $8.75 a slice. Next to it, a row of frosted chocolate cupcakes ($4.75 each).

The shop also serves specialty lattes and other coffee drinks using Messenger coffee beans, as well as a selection of teas. While there’s no seating inside, a few chairs and tables sit outside, near the entrance.

When Cascio originally announced the bakery’s opening, he had hoped it would be ready to roll in September. It’s taken a bit longer for him to get the space ready than anticipated — so it often goes with new shops.

The Lemon Cake Bakery is now open in Leawood’s Mission Farms.
The Lemon Cake Bakery is now open in Leawood’s Mission Farms.

Fans of Cafe Europa were crestfallen when that longtime Kansas City cafe closed for good this year. It shuttered shortly after relocating from its Crestwood location to its final resting place at 4928 Main St.

When he closed the cafe, Cascio wanted to reopen as something smaller, so he scaled back the menu and square footage. (Cafe Europa once served soups, salads and sandwiches.) Its new name is emblematic of the changes.

But Cascio promised his customers that he’d bring back Cafe Europa’s most popular pastries and desserts to the new Mission Farms spot.

Cafe Europa had lost many of its longtime employees before it closed, Cascio said. Plus, the pandemic created new challenges that disrupted the “flow” of business for Cafe Europa.

But the silver lining in all this, he said, is that the team can hone in and perfect the baked goods.

“We wanted something more specialized instead of trying to move forward with a bigger concept,” he said.

Cafe Europa first opened in 2001 as Europa! Cafe. Cascio purchased the business in 2016, though he said it’s “always had a big following.”

Pre-orders can be made in-store or online at

Lemon Cake Bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.