While the east Crossroads Arts District is coming into its own with new breweries, coffee shops, a movie theater and other businesses, the more established area known as the west Crossroads is still a drawing card for entrepreneurs.
The Crossroads neighborhood — east and west — includes galleries, shops and locally-owned restaurants between Interstate 35 on the west, Troost on the east, Truman Road on the north and the Kansas City Terminal Railway tracks on the south.
The new businesses on the west side include a restaurant, a women’s retail boutique and an office for a proposed nonprofit children’s book center. The lineup:
▪ Blvd Tavern, a locally-owned gastropub, was scheduled to open late Monday at 320 Southwest Blvd. in the former Shiraz and Nica’s 320 space.
Owners Derek and Meghan Nacey describe a gastropub as a comfortable, casual bar with high-quality food made with local, fresh and seasonal ingredients.
Derek is Blvd Tavern’s executive chef. Meghan is the general manager.
“This is a growing, exciting neighborhood, and I like the diversity of the establishments here,” Derek Nacey said.
He’s a native of Rochester, N.Y., who moved to Kansas City 15 years ago after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He worked for such restaurants as Fedora Cafe & Bar, Zin and Cafe Allegro before moving to Fayetteville, Ark., to serve as an executive chef for two years. He returned to Kansas City in 2007 to become director of culinary for Houlihan’s.
Meghan’s family has been farming in central Kansas for four generations. They married in 2011.
Blvd Tavern will mostly serve small plates ranging from $6 to $16, divided on the menu under “Less” and “More.”
The Less items include the kfc, not Kentucky Fried Chicken but Korean-style twice-fried chicken wings with gochujang and napa kimchi, the Salad Lyonnaise (with frisée, bacon, soft cooked egg, crispy leeks and a Dijon vinaigrette), and poutine (fries, gravy and cheese curds with a short pour of Moosehead beer).
The “More” section includes beer-battered cod with salt and vinegar potatoes and creamed peas, and grilled Rochester white hots — pork and veal sausage topped with pickled onions, cucumber and mustard seed and served with fries.
Specialty cocktails are listed under Light, Boozy and Stiff. The menu also includes wines and craft beers.
Blvd Tavern will have patio seating. A back space — that had years ago been an open courtyard for blacksmiths — is now a covered event space seating about 50 people.
In remodeling, the Naceys used wood from a century-old barn on Meghan’s family farm for the restaurant’s trim work. A former elevator shaft has been converted into a red wine storage rack.
▪ Finefolk Shop + Studio, which had opened at 1000 W. 25th St. in late 2013, has moved to 122 Southwest Blvd.
The locally-owned women’s boutique specializes in clothing and accessories by independent designers from top fashion cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Florence — small productions with limited distribution including Rachel Comey, Raquel Allegra, A Détacher and R13.
Finefolk founder Leslie Fraley grew up in Kansas City and lived in Denver and Philadelphia before returning to the area in 2010.
“I found myself shopping online a lot for the things that I like and thought there was a market for people who like the same things I do,” Fraley said. “A little edgy. Things a little off the beaten track. The designers are artists and not for the masses.”
Fraley said the Crossroads seemed a good fit for her business.
“Everyone here is doing something a little off the beaten path,” she said.
▪ Hammerpress Letterpress & Design Studio, which opened in 1994, is moving from 110 Southwest Blvd. to 500 Southwest Blvd. It plans to reopen Friday.
The letterpress print shop and design studio offers letterpress cards, stationery, ephemera, show posters and art prints. Hammerpress, which sells its own designs as well as other brands, has operated at 110 Southwest Blvd. since 2007 but outgrew the space.
“What has really grown is our wholesale business — all over the world. We package everything ourselves and ship everything out ourselves,” said Britta Rice, wholesale accounts manager. “The storefront will be larger with an expanded product selection.”
▪ Rabbit Hole, a proposed nonprofit children’s book center, plans to have an office in the former Hammerpress space at 110 Southwest Blvd. The space will house the project’s capital campaign office as well as a model studio where visitors can get a feel for what a permanent center would look like.
The permanent center would be about 50,000 square feet or more.
Rabbit Hole expects a capital campaign of two to three years.
“Imagine if the City Museum in St. Louis crashed into the Eric Carle Museum (of Picture Book Art) in Amherst, Mass. That’s the sort of scale and energy we’re after,” said Pete Cowdin, founder of Rabbit Hole with his wife, Debbie Pettid. “The Rabbit Hole will be the first of its kind in the United States — an immersive laboratory of creativity, education and play dedicated to literacy and the literary arts through the advancement, preservation and celebration of the children’s book.”
Cowdin and Pettid also operate Brookside’s Reading Reptile.
▪ Up-Down Arcade of Des Moines has gutted the former Hamburger Mary’s spot at 101 Southwest Blvd. for a spring opening. Up-Down Arcade is a craft beer bar focusing on vintage arcade games and pinball machines made before 2001, as well as Skee Ball.
Hamburger Mary’s moved to midtown.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.