Cityscape

Tex-Mex chain Chuy's coming to the Country Club Plaza

Updated: 2013-05-31T15:43:20Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex chain based in Austin, Texas, is coming to the Country Club Plaza. Its opening at 209 W. 46th Terrace, the former spot of Figlio the Italian Restaurant & Bar, is set for Sept. 24.

Ashley Ingle, spokeswoman for Chuy’s, said the chain had been looking in the Kansas City area for about a year. The restaurants attract a wide demographic, but they needed a location with “decent parking and lots of traffic.”

“Fans of Chuy’s wanted us here,” Ingle said.

Mike Young and John Zapp opened the first Chuy’s in 1982 in an abandoned Texas barbecue joint. They had only a few dollars left to spend on decor, and that went to a roadside vendor of velvet Stevie Wonder and Elvis paintings, and for old hubcaps to put on the ceiling. Early customers brought them Elvis memorabilia, and they created an Elvis shrine.

The menu offers Tex-Mex-inspired items made on site. Signature dishes include the Chuy’s Special with house-made blue corn tortillas stacked with freshly roasted, hand-pulled chicken, cheese and tomatillo sauce and topped with sour cream. Chile rellenos are made with daily fire-roasted Anaheim peppers.

Chuy’s has been expanding since 2006, moving out from Texas into states that are familiar with Tex-Mex cuisine. It now has 43 full-service restaurants in 10 states and may open more than one restaurant in the Kansas City market.

Each location has a unique decor but with some standard items — an Elvis shrine, hubcap room and hand-carved wooden fish hanging by fishing wire that runs from the hostess stand to the bar.

Figlio closed earlier this year.

Italian deli coming

Antoinette Barbieri Spohn grew up in Kansas City, often visiting both sets of grandparents in the city’s north end.

Her maternal grandfather even owned and operated Sola’s, specializing in meatballs and steak sandwiches.

Spohn has lived in California for more than three decades, but she has often returned to visit family. Now she will be here more often as she opens Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market in the Crossroads with her husband, Christopher Spohn.

An early September opening is planned in space leased on the first floor of the 2101 Broadway building.

Deli items will include sandwiches such as prosciutto with arugula and stracchino, and the Caprese with tomato, mozzarella, basil, oregano and olive oil; Le Piadine (traditional Roman flatbread rolled out and then cooked on the griddle) topped with prosciutto, turkey, vegetables and other items; and soups made daily, including minestrone, tomato bisque and seasonal choices.

Market items will include such meats as salami, pancetta, Boar’s Head turkey, roast beef and Italian sausages, along with packaged pastas, olive oils, truffle honey, fig jam and coffee.

Tomas Digregorio, who has worked at such local restaurants as Bluestem, The American Restaurant and Piropos, will be the chef. Minority partner Sally Roberts will oversee day-to-day operations. Roberts’ mother, Ann Roberts, is Antoinette’s best friend.

Pezzettino also will have an outdoor patio.

The three-story building, which is being redeveloped, will house offices and is scheduled to have rooftop seating next spring, with perhaps an Airstream Trailer serving as a kitchen for use by the tenants and possibly rented out for private events. Two spaces are available on the first floor for another restaurant, retailer, service operation or office space.

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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