CITYSCAPE

Winery revamps Plaza restaurant space

Updated: 2012-12-14T22:23:14Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

This vast restaurant space overlooking the Country Club Plaza has struggled to find just the right tenant.

Now Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has cut the 13,644-square-foot space down to a more digestible size by offering several operations in one.

“It’s a modern, casual restaurant with full working winery and retail center,” said Chris Massengill, general manager of the new restaurant at 4686 Broadway. The space formerly housed a sports bar, 810 Zone, and the Canyon Cafe.

The idea is to make customers feel like they are visiting a Napa Valley winery. They enter a two-story foyer housing the retail shop and wine tasting room with more than 300 bottles stacked up on the wine wall — more than 40 varietals. A server will typically be holding a tray of small wineglasses for a free sample of the featured wine.

Cooper’s Hawk has several dining areas — downstairs and upstairs — along with a bar and private dining room, both with Plaza views. Dark woods and wine-themed paintings — vineyards, grapes, wine bottles — also give the large space a cozier feel.

Cooper’s Hawk was founded in the Chicago area in 2005 and now has 11 locations in five states. It has won numerous regional, national and international awards for its wines.

It offers a mostly seasonal menu, but a few customer favorites — such as pistachio-crusted grouper, red wine and mustard short ribs, and Mexican drunken shrimp — are served year-round. Other menu items include gnocchi carbonara, blackened bacon-wrapped sea scallops, Thai chicken flatbread, pepperjack cheese with jalapeno bacon burger, Caprese Panini, and a monthly cheese platter.

Massengill said Kansas City favorites so far include the sweet chili calamari and the sampler for starters, the tortilla soup, the trio of medallions and the short rib risotto entrees. And for dessert, the Banoffee pie with a graham cracker crust and fresh sliced bananas in a toffee filling and whipped cream.

The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. It will add a Sunday brunch in mid-January.

A link to a video of the new restaurant is posted with this column online.

Quick bites

•  Sherry Williams and James Fugate recently opened a dine-in, carry-out and delivery operation called Mr. Good Chicken at 3605 Broadway.

The operation offers chicken, wings, chicken breast sandwiches, gizzards and livers, burgers, sides and a children’s menu.

Meals are cooked-to-order so the wait time, on average, is 15 to 20 minutes.

•  After 15 years of operations, the locally owned Prospero’s Books at 1800 W. 39th St. has expanded again. It recently opened Prospero’s Uptown, a 5,000-square-foot store in the Uptown Shoppes, 3600 Broadway, No. 107, and will soon add a coffee shop and vegan and non-vegan café. It also will add online sales in early 2013. A Prospero’s Parkside opened in Blue Springs four years ago.

The stores sell gently used books, along with movies and music.

•  The owners of Pieroguys Pierogies have closed their café at 1724 Main St. to concentrate on their wholesale business.

Frank Gazella Jr., co-founder and managing partner, said he is contracting with an East Coast company that will take over production, and will have both an East Coast and local distributor.

“So we are keeping some of the business in the area. We want to expand throughout the Midwest and in Kansas City, to be the No. 1 distributor of pierogies,” Gazella said.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.

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