Restaurant News & Reviews

Traditional dishes, modern flair at new Leawood restaurant Rye

Celebrated Kansas City chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts have put their own take on the Midwestern mom-and-pop restaurant.

So some menu items at their new Rye restaurant sound like standards, such as fried chicken and mac and cheese. But just a taste will tell you that they are anything but.

Rye is now open in Mission Farms, 10551 Mission Road, Leawood. Items include chicken noodle soup with house-made noodles, baby pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and cornmeal fried catfish. Sides include braised greens, corn gratin with country ham, and twice baked potato with aged cheddar and bacon.

Guests at a pre-opening event especially mentioned the fried chicken.

The couple said Rye is a celebration of their Midwest heritage, paying homage to dishes that they have enjoyed with several generations in their families. Colby grew up six blocks from the Mission Farms site and rode horses on the property.

“We’re really trying to capture what the Midwest is all about, in a hip and modern way. But we worked diligently on doing it perfectly,” Colby said. “More than anything, we really wanted to reinvent the mom-and-pop restaurant and give some elegance and some swank and some fun-ness to it.”

Even some of the cocktails play up the prairie theme, such as the Sweet Corn Fizz with Kansas white whiskey and house-made corn water, or the State Fair with caramel-corn-infused whiskey. Desserts will include seasonal pies such as a Mo-Kan pie using Missouri pecans and Kansas black walnuts, pumpkin layer cake, butterscotch custard and shortbread, and stuffed peanut butter cookies.

The Garreltses use many local ingredients, including produce from their family farm, Flat Rock Field in Parker, Kan.

Rye is open for dinner daily. Brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays is scheduled to start Jan. 26, and weekday lunch is scheduled to start in early February.

The space previously housed Boudreaux’s Louisiana Seafood Steaks, Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant Cantina and Lakeside Tavern.

For Rye, the space was gutted and redesigned with soft lighting, distressed wood, Mason jars, milk glass, copper and subway tile. A wine cabinet taking up one wall was made by Megan Garrelts’ uncle. A private event room holds up to 80 people. In warmer weather the restaurant will have patio seating overlooking the lake.

The Garreltses opened Bluestem in Westport in March 2004 and have since received many honors, including top food rankings from the Zagat Survey, nominations from the James Beard Foundation, and Food Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2005. Kim Cooley is their partner in Rye.

Smokin’ Guns expands

After a decade of business — and lines stretching to the door during peak periods — Smokin’ Guns BBQ and Catering has expanded.

The award-winning barbecue restaurant at 1218 Swift Ave. in North Kansas City is now open in its expanded space and will have a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. today.

The owners took down a building to the south and put up an 11,000-square-foot, two-story operation seating up to 100 people in the dining room, up to 60 people in the bar and up to 90 in a second-floor banquet space.

A second-floor patio with views of the downtown skyline will be a venue for live music on weekends, with garage doors opening up between the banquet room and patio during nicer weather.

Smokin’ Guns opened in January 2003, and its success comes from offering “a good product at reasonable prices,” according to the owners, Phil and Linda Hopkins. Their son, Kevin Hopkins, has been working at the restaurant since it opened and is now operations manager.

The old restaurant space was 2,000 square feet and seated 48 people. It will be torn down for additional parking.

Quick bite

Freebirds World Burrito plans a Jan. 31 Lawrence opening.

The restaurant at 739 Massachusetts will sell made-to-order burritos in four sizes and four tortilla flavors, along with tacos, salads and desserts.

The local franchisee also has locations in Lee’s Summit, Mission and Westport. An Overland Park location, in Rosana Square at 7552 W. 119th St., is scheduled to open in early March.