Sophia's Bakery & Cafe will close by the end of the month.

Last year at this time, Sophia Barabas was ready to retire and close her popular bakery and cafe after almost 21 years, but she wound up keeping Sophia's Bakery & Cafe open an extra year.

"This time it's for real," Barabas said. "I just can't do it any more. I'm 73 and it's over."

The cafe, which is only open Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., will close at the end of the month.

Barabas doesn't want to get more specific than that for fear of large crowds during her remaining days.

The cafe can seat 15 inside, but Barabas said she can usually squeeze in about 10 more. With her outdoor seating in the warmer months, she can handle a total of about 35.

Barabas possibly has someone to take the space over, but the deal is pending her landlord's approval. "There's discussion with a person, but I'm not ready to say," she said. 

In the past year there have been a number of people interested in continuing it as Sophia's, as well as others with their own plans, but none of them worked out, Barabas said.

"It felt depressing to give up the restaurant and so we stayed open," she said. "At this point it is clear to me that I want to move on to a new chapter in my life."

Barabas' daughters, who have worked in the cafe in the past, have other interests and don't want to continue the cafe, she said.

So the cafe at 831 E. Johnson St., is closing after 22 years. "Sophia's succeeded in a way that I had hoped for. I think it made an impact," Barabas said.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.