Celina Tio, a James Beard Award-winning chef, will open two new restaurant themes in the Crossroads Arts District.
By JOYCE SMITH
The Kansas City Star
Tio took over management of Kansas City Cafe in late November while buying the building at 1532 Grand Blvd. The purchase was final Friday, and now Tio will roll out Collection and The Belfry in the building.
Collection is in homage to her days at the Westtown School in Pennsylvania, a Quaker boarding school. Its students and faculty gather each morning in the Collection Room for announcements, birthday acknowledgements, fellowship and the like.
Tios Collection will be a place for people to gather and a showcase for what she calls American feel-good food from her favorite recipes, some dating to her time at Westtown.
They made items from scratch at the school, Tio said, like the pork roll sandwiches, apple butter, mac-and-cheese, birch beer.
The menu also will include lamb shepherds pie, seared trout amandine, baked rigatoni and pineapple upside down cake.
The restaurant will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. It also will be open for dinner when there are special events at the Sprint Center or the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Tio will continue to operate Kansas City Café until converting it to Collection, probably in April. The bones of the restaurant and its floor-to-ceiling windows along Grand will stay the same, but Tio will change the decor. So Kansas City Café could close one day and then reopen quickly as Collection. She wants customers to be surprised.
On Westtowns campus there also is a place called the Belfry where students hang out and order snacks. So Tio will convert the back of 1532 Grand to a casual neighborhood joint serving French press coffee and grab-and-go lunches, along with a dinner and late night menu. She also hopes to serve her own beers made on site and is applying for a liquor license.
The menu will include parsnip-pecan bread, maple yogurt with house-made granola, clam chowder, ham and Gruyere cheese on semolina bread with sunny egg, and sweet and spicy nuts.
The Belfry will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays with an entrance on 16th Street. A May opening is planned.
Blue Moose adds truck
KC Hopps Ltd. Restaurants & Breweries is taking its Blue Moose Bar & Grill concept on the road.
Its new bright blue and green Moose on the Loose food truck first set up at several charity functions last fall. On Monday it was stationed at an Overland Park law firm as a dress rehearsal for its first official season. By Thursday morning it plans to have staked out a strategic spot downtown to feed fans of the Big 12 and other hungry folks.
Chris Sutton, chief executive officer of KC Hopps, has wanted to add a food truck to the companys lineup for a couple of years. Along with having its own revenue stream, it can serve as a promotional vehicle for the four Blue Moose Bar & Grill restaurants in Lenexa, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Topeka.
Food trucks are hot. Theyre very flexible, and they are great marketing, he said.
On Monday the food truck was featuring three items: the Caesar Burger with garlic frites, Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Drunken Pinto Beans and Pico de Gallo, and the Napa Chopped Salad. Menu items will rotate for public events.
For private events the menu will range from gourmet small plates to street food to fit a particular event. The truck is already booked for more than 75 events this year, including many of the home games at Kauffman Stadium and First Friday events in the Crossroads, along with charity functions, festivals, birthdays, block parties, graduations and anniversaries.
• Firehouse Subs plans to open two new area locations this week. The Ward Parkway Center location, at 8600 Ward Parkway, is to open Friday. A location at 6415 Quivira Road in Shawnee is to open Saturday.
Firehouse specializes in hot sandwiches with toasted breads and steamed meats and large portions, said David Johnson, the area representative for Firehouse and a franchisee. A Blue Springs location is to open in late May or early June.
• Hot Mama, a contemporary clothing store chain, plans to open Wednesday in Zona Rosa, 8670 Dixson Ave. The company was founded in 2004 and now has more than 30 locations in a dozen states.