Restaurant News & Reviews

Celebrated local chef Celina Tio planning new Crossroads restaurant

James Beard Award-winning chef Celina Tio is in negotiations to open a new Crossroads restaurant.

Tio has already taken over management of Kansas City Café and is continuing with its menu, for now. However, she wants to buy the building at 1532 Grand Blvd. and open a new restaurant there. It would be similar to her Brookside restaurant, Julian, but a bit more casual. It also would open for dinner Thursday through Saturday, and during special events downtown.

She plans to add some of her own specials to the Kansas City Café menu next week. Before opening Julian, Tio had a stint as executive chef at the American in Crown Center, just a few blocks south.

“I really like the Crossroads area. A lot of people live and work downtown as well,” she said.

Montica Alexander opened Kansas City Café in mid-2007, featuring recipes made with Kansas City area products. But her “core” business is Best of Kansas City, a Crown Center store which sells local products and those with a Kansas or Missouri theme.

“Celina is under contract to buy the business and the building. I’m very excited about it. I’m passing the business to a rock star,” Alexander said. “I need to get back to my core business and my personal life. I’ve got 14-year-old twins and anyone who has teenagers knows you have to be around.”

Alexander currently has her offices and gift basket operation on the second floor of the 18,000-square-foot, three-story brick building on Grand but will move to Crown Center. Customers will then be able to get gift baskets made on-site at the store.