WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER | PHOTOS BY THERESA ST. JOHN
Kevin Myers’s specialty is combinations. As a chef, he intuitively understands food pairings. His restaurant, The Ribbon Cafe, is a powerfully pleasant tribute to the divine union between food and love.
The Ribbon Cafe is perhaps best known for serving Kevin’s Southwest Shrimp Corn Chowder. First crowned the Saratoga Chowder Fest champion in 2017, its creamy sweetness meets with a slight kick of jalapeno for a marriage of classic flavors. Topped with a crispy crab wonton popper and zesty tequila candied bacon, a bowlful of this beauty has continued to win the top spot in the annual cooking competition every year since.
The real triumph of the award-winning favorite is the story behind what made this sensory experience possible for so many. It’s a bittersweet tale rooted in the loss of Kevin’s wife, Jennifer.
Bites that Make Tastebuds Sing
For twenty years, Kevin and Jennifer were the best of friends and co-workers at Gaffney’s Restaurant. After being married for a brief 18 months, Jennifer died of breast cancer in 2017. In her memory, Kevin opened the Ribbon Cafe the following year.
Although it’s Kevin’s chowder that’s had the most infamous run here, his other culinary couples are also attracting attention.
“We have a full-on line out the door. It’s food that’s simple, easy, and effective,” he said.
This is food that can satisfy your every craving.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Kevin remembers back when chicken wings had to each be hand cut and were sold all-you-can-eat for less than four dollars. A lot has changed since then, including Kevin’s wing recipe. He’s spent years playing around with it. Today, his signature wing sauce has the mild-medium tang of Franks RedHot, with a zing of garlic set off by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Another of Kevin’s noteworthy sauces is named in honor of his wife. Kevin created the recipe before her death but deemed it Jen’s Secret Sauce because of the memorable way she described the dish. (She said the cheeseburger eggrolls in a tomato-based horseradish sauce tasted like a McDonald’s Big Mac on crack).
When it’s nothing but sugar that will satisfy, Kevin’s French toast concoctions are your ultimate go-to food. By crushing Cap’n Crunch, he gives the gooey sweetness of this special breakfast food a delightfully delicious added layer. If you’re a kid (or just a kid at heart) you can’t go wrong with Kevin’s cookies and cream French toast made with Oreo cookie crumbles and fresh strawberries.
If you’re like me, nothing quite hits the spot like sweet and salty. Well, Kevin and his sister have got your back here. too. Their homemade potato chips dipped in chocolate and peanut butter will have you addicted in no time.
Food That Does Good
When it comes to the Ribbon Cafe’s food, comfort is the name of the game. Their menu is filled with homemade items, hearty sandwiches and substantial salads. It’s a hit because Kevin starts with good ingredients, which is what’s made it a success, he said.
As tasty as it is, the good being done here goes far beyond the food. The Ribbon Cafe regularly supports those battling cancer. In addition to donations to the Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center, and delivering meals to those in need, The Ribbon Cafe has participated in at least a dozen fundraisers.
In May this year, they helped raise $10,000 for Ballston Spa’s Union Fire Co #2 Department firefighter Ken Woolley, who is suffering from terminal throat cancer. By teaming up with Ballston Spa’s Sunshine Kids, in July they hosted Alex’s Lemonade Stand and helped raise $5,000 for the family of three-year-old Jagger Zopp, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, that affects the body’s soft tissue. In September, they will be at the Wiawaka Center for Women’s annual cancer survivor retreat.
Mark Your Calendar:
On October 1st, the Ribbon Cafe, 11 Prospect Street, in Ballston Spa will be participating in Saratoga's 5th Annual Wing Off and raising money for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. The street will be closed off to feature up to 30 vendors and craft booths. This FREE event features tarot readings, four friendly donkeys, and live music by cancer survivor Jeff Brisbin. The Ribbon Cafe will be serving breakfast until 12 p.m. and a menu of foods filled with fall flavors from 1 until 5 p.m.
For more information, check out their Facebook.
Simply Saratoga Magazine is published by Saratoga Publishing, LLC, who brings you such award-winning niche magazines as Saratoga Bride, Saratoga Family, Welcome Home and the weekly newspaper, Saratoga TODAY!
We love Saratoga Springs! The people, the shops, the history, and of course racing season. Our Mission is to bring you everything Saratoga.