Restaurant News & Reviews

New Columbus Park restaurant Zola will serve Southern cuisine

A Joplin, Mo., family is moving to Kansas City and bringing their restaurant concept with them.

Zola is scheduled to open in July at 916 E. Fifth St., by Lasala’s Deli. It will serve mostly small plates and a few entrees with an emphasis on southern American cuisine - including sweet tea braised pork shank with black-eyed pea ragout, pickled green tomatoes and braised mustard greens, and country breaded gulf shrimp.

Here’s how Zola came to Kansas City.

Jim and Deborah Hamilton opened Zola in Joplin in 2004 and sold it in 2011. Their daughter, Hannah Hamilton, graduated from the University of Kansas-Lawrence in 2012 and settled in Kansas City with her fiance, Brett Murray. Jim Hamilton, a physician, is retiring from his Joplin practice and is relocating with his wife to Kansas City to be closer to the couple.

Zola will be a family endeavor. Hannah and Brett have both been mixologists and are putting together a bar menu that will include artisan bourbon and vintage bourbon cocktails. The Hamiltons and Murray also will manage the restaurant and bar, which is named after Jim’s late grandmother, Zola Hamilton.

Zola was all of 90 pounds but raised 18 children - six of her own and 12 stepchildren, Jim said.

“They absolutely had nothing. They were farmers but she always had this striving for all things nice and she made things as nice as she could,” he said. “I always respected that so I wanted to name the business in her honor.”

The family selected the Columbus Park area for their new venture because of the growing list of destination restaurants, all locally owned, like Lasala’s Deli, Pandolfi’s Deli, Vietnam Cafe, Garozzo’s, and Happy Gillis.

“We’re so excited to see what is happening in Columbus Park. It’s exciting to be a part of a enclave of food destinations,” he said.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.