A two-fer for chef Celina Tio on Grand Boulevard

Updated: 2013-05-07T12:19:39Z


The Kansas City Star

Celina Tio wants to create a new Crossroads gathering place, so she’ll keep a least one door open daily from early morning until late at night.

The James Beard Award-winning chef took over management of Kansas City Cafe in late November while buying the building at 1532 Grand Blvd.

The first of her two food operations, Collection, opened last Thursday.

Collection is an homage to Tio’s days at the Westtown School in Pennsylvania. It’s a Quaker boarding school where students and faculty gather each morning in the Collection Room for announcements, birthday acknowledgments, fellowship and the like.

Tio’s Collection will be a place for people to gather and a showcase for what she calls “American feel-good” food.

That includes starters like spinach salad with apricot dressings, goat cheese and garbanzo beans, along with house-ground burgers with house-made ketchup; pulled roasted chicken on a Farm to Market hoagie; and Spanish mac ’n’ cheese with Serrano ham.

Under entrees, Tio has such items as baked rigatoni with tomato, house-made sausage and house-made ricotta cheese, Campo Lindo chicken breast, and scallops with asparagus, crab and Hollandaise. Desserts include pineapple cheesecake and “cake and coffee” almond cake.

She has changed the decor a bit, including the addition of a large wooden banquette made by her husband, Ken Buch. She has also replaced the yellow awnings out in front for bright orange but kept the floor-to-ceiling windows along Grand, which bathe the restaurant in natural light during the day.

She still hopes to decorate one wall of Collection with her customers’ high school photos. Another will likely have the Collection moose head logo.

Collection is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and for dinner from 5 p.m. to close Thursday through Saturday. It also will be open for dinner on other nights when there are special events at the Sprint Center or the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The second food operation in the building?

It’s called the Belfry, taking its name from another place on Westtown’s campus where students hang out and order snacks.

Tio is taking that name for the back of 1532 Grand, creating 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.

The Belfry will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday with an entrance on 16th Street. It is scheduled to open in about six weeks.

Tio also continues to own and operate her Julian restaurant in Brookside.

“I like to keep busy,” she said, while prepping a Faroe Island salmon on Monday. “I answer the phone, and it seems to people like I am at both locations all the time, and I kind of am. It’s fun.”

New Plaza retailer

The Country Club Plaza will get another exclusive store.

Eileen Fisher, a women’s clothing store chain, plans to open a 1,383-square-foot store this summer at 417 Nichols Road, the former site of Coach.

Eileen Fisher is described as “an American designer known for blending trend and timelessness.” The company was founded in 1984 and it now has 57 stores across the United States as well as a store in Vancouver, B.C., and three stores in London.

Coach is relocating to the corner of 47th Street and Broadway on the Plaza, and plans to open Friday.

Crown Center shuffle

Two longtime Crown Center retailers — sister companies Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works — plan to close this month in Crown Center. Corporate officials had no comment on the closings.

The locally owned Sage & Daisy, another bath and body shop, also plans to close May 26.

In other Crown Center news, Juice Stop is to open in the center this month.

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

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