The pandemic sapped the passion of Terra Verde Organic owners Kevin and Mariana Ivens, who are shutting down their San Mateo Road café Friday after two years in business.

Like many restaurant owners, the Ivenses have had challenges finding and keeping enough staff, with the couple having to work from opening to closing every day.

“It was probably the most difficult decision I ever made,” said Kevin Ivens. “The business is actually doing very well. Coming out of the pandemic, we’ve been getting busier.”

He said the café has seven employees but optimally needs about 11 to operate. He said it’s hard to find employees and some have left for other jobs.

“We have been getting hit left and right,” Ivens said.

Terra Verde Organic is a breakfast-and-lunch establishment that offers a juice bar, coffee, tea, and soup and bowl dishes.

The Ivens family came to Santa Fe from New Orleans in 2018 with the dream of opening a juicery, smoothie bar and coffee house. At the same time, Kelly Egolf sought someone to take over the space where she operated her Verde café so she could focus on her other business, New Mexico Fresh Foods LLC.

“I don’t want people to think we are just giving up,” Kevin Ivens said. “There will probably be a better time to reopen in a better location and reignite our passion.”

The next order of business is vacation.

“We just want to enjoy the city and enjoy our family,” he said. “It’s putting a strain on my family. I’m going to take my wife and daughter on a vacation to the beach, which we haven’t done in three years.”

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