The owners of Westport's famed Bluestem restaurant have long wanted to open a second location in Leawood.
Now they've taken the first step.
A few months ago Colby and Megan Garrelts began consulting with Leawood's Trezo Vino.
Three weeks ago Trezo Vino's owners put them under a management contract and they have since been working on a new menu that will take the restaurant back to its roots - authentic Italian.
"The food and restaurant didn't have a single identity. They were serving tacos and lobster mac-n-cheese," Colby Garrelts said. "It was an Italian tapas wine bistro, that's Italian and French."
The new menu is now "95 percent" in place except for a few tweaks here and there. It includes smoked ricotta ravioli, shrimp carbonara, and potato gnocchi, filet, and salmon, along with pizza and flatbread.
The Ahi tuna tacos and other favorites can still be had in the bar area.
"We'll keep them for awhile but I want people to fall in love with new classics," Colby Garrelts said.
Trezo Vino opened in March 2008 in Park Place, 11570 Ash St., and has about 50 full and part-time employees.
Colby and Megan Garrelts will continue to work on the concept they originally planned to open in Leawood and perhaps debut it next year.
Trezo Vino managing partner Mark Walker said he hired the couple because he wanted to get back to development and not be a day-to-day operations person. Now he'll help them get financing in place for their Leawood concept.
"This puts Colby in the market where he can understand the customer profile," Walker said.
Colby Garrelts has been nominated several times for Best Chef in the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation and Food & Wine Magazine named him as one of the "Top 10 Best New Chefs" in 2005.
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