Cara’s Cup in Barrington Village changes ownership, newly named ‘The Steam Engine’

For those who remember, the original location of PT’s coffee in Topeka holds a lot of sentimental value to local coffee connoisseurs.


Currently undergoing a transition — PT’s, or Cara’s Cup as it was most recently known, at 5660 S.W. 29th St., in Barrington Village, will soon fully transition over to its new name, “The Steam Engine.”

On Sept. 1, Sonja Hinman and her husband, Bruce, took over Cara’s Cup and early last week began changing their social media to reflect the changes.

“We’ve been regular customers at the shop for many years,” Hinman said. “My husband and I have talked many times over the last few years about how we would love to own it. Not because we wanted to be business owners necessarily, we just love this coffee shop. It is in a nice location and already has a great customer base.”

In 1993 PT’s opened in Barrington Village, and after some changes in ownership and a death in the family, the location was renamed to Cara’s Cup in honor of Cara Kroll, the stepdaughter of Jack Brier, an original partner of the coffee franchise.

Kroll died in 2012, and since 2014, the business has been known as Cara’s Cup.

A flagship in Barrington Village, the business currently retains its same exterior, the simple signage partnered with a home-y interior. Hinman said she’s not planning on making any major changes, and they plan to continue serving PT’s Roasting Co. brand coffee for the foreseeable future.

Hinman said it wasn’t originally part of the plan to be business owners, but because it was this specific business, they made an exception.

For the past two and a half years Hinman’s son, Kaje Fortney has been a barista there, as well as their daughter, Scarlett Fortney, for the past nine months. Hinman herself said that she and her husband are regulars, and have become attached to the small shop.

“It has been in this location for almost 25 years and we just want to continue to be here for our customers,” she said. “We’ve had so much positive feedback from our customers on the cosmetic changes that we’ve made so far and that makes the time we’re putting in, all worth it.”

The Hinman’s did bring back the old sandwich menu at the request of several customers and plan to have the exterior signs and logo changes implemented by the end of January.

In regards to the name change, Hinman and her husband both work full time at BNSF Railway and are a family of railroaders, which Hinman said was the inspiration behind the name change. She said she’s had the idea for years, but didn’t know when the right time would be to use it.

Working full time and revamping a business has resulted in a hectic schedule for Hinman, but she said she currently has no complaints and is very excited to continue offering quality coffee at the corner of 29th and Arrowhead Road.

The Steam Engine is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (785) 527-3566 or follow their Facebook page at “The Steam Engine Coffee.”