Nearly 19 years after opening in the Freight House, Lidia’s Kansas City is now offering a children’s menu.
Cody Hogan, Lidia’s new general manager, said Lidia’s has always catered to families with children, but now it has a dedicated menu featuring smaller, simplified versions of the restaurant’s classic Italian dishes. Prices range from $7 to $9.59 and include spaghetti and meatballs, chicken breast parmigiana and breaded chicken cutlets.
But youngsters with a more adventurous palate can opt for such dishes as the fried calamari and gnocchi with pesto sauce.
“Italian children don’t have special children’s menus, they just eat what is in front of them,” Hogan said. “American children’s palates seem to be a little more limited, so we are trying to accommodate that and make it a little easier for them.”
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The menu will be offered during lunch and dinner for children ages 12 and younger. Lidia’s, at 101 W. 22nd St., also will serve half portions of any entree to children upon request.
Lidia’s Children’s Menu:
▪ Grilled mozzarella sandwich with fries, $7
▪ Spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce, $8
▪ Gnocchi with pesto sauce, $8
▪ Fried calamari with marinara, $8.50
▪ Chicken breast parmigiana, $9.50
▪ Breaded chicken cutlet with broccoli, $9.50
The portions also can be increased for adults who want to order off the children’s menu.
Hogan grew up on a cattle ranch in Northwestern Arkansas and was a classical pianist. He studied music in Germany on a Rotary scholarship. But his host family made sure to broaden his education by taking him to restaurants and festivals in Germany, France and Switzerland, leading to his interest in the culinary arts.
“After a year-and-a-half of that, I was completely in love with food,” Hogan said.
Hogan’s culinary experience includes a previous position as pastry cook under American chef, author and restauranteur Alice Waters, at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., which is known for its organic, locally grown ingredients.
Hogan took a position as pastry chef when Lidia’s opened in 1998. He was later named chef de cuisine and served as a traveling assistant and studio kitchen chef for “Lidia’s Kitchen,” “Lidia’s Italy in America” and “Lidia’s Italy,” Lidia Bastianich’s Emmy Award-winning television series.
In his new role as Lidia’s general manager, Hogan will lead the operations of the restaurant, as well as manage staff and maintain a presence in the kitchen.