A Joplin, Mo., family is moving to Kansas City and bringing the family restaurant 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. Among the features: sweet-tea-braised pork shank with black-eyed pea ragout, pickled green tomatoes and braised mustard greens, and country-breaded jumbo prawns.
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Here’s how Zola came to Kansas City.
Jim and Deborah Hamilton opened the Zola in Joplin in 2004 and sold it in 2011. Their daughter, Hannah Hamilton, graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012 and settled in Kansas City with her fiance, Brett Murray. Jim Hamilton, a physician, is retiring from his Joplin practice and is moving 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. Salads will include spring greens with roasted Georgia peach, country ham, aged bleu cheese from local farms and praline pecans. Some other menu items will be fresh sweet corn bisque, pork-fried almonds with fresh rosemary, blackened meatloaf, and bourbon peach glazed baby back ribs.
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, such as 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,” he said. “It’s exciting to be a part of an enclave of food destinations.”
Spruced up Blue Moose
Blue Moose Bar Grill will get a facelift after more than a decade in Prairie Village.
KC Hopps Ltd. Restaurants Breweries, which operates the Blue Moose, plans to start the project later this week and finish in about three weeks. It will turn an outdoor patio into an all-season seating area with carpet, a fireplace, heating and air conditioning, and windows that can be opened during nice weather. The patio will hold about 60 diners.
Once the patio area is completed, KC Hopps plans to remodel the interior of the restaurant with new decor, new flooring, and an upgraded bar area, starting in late May.
Blue Moose will remain open during the remodeling.
The restaurant, in The Village shopping center at 4160 W. 71st St., opened in early 2002. KC Hopps also operates Blue Moose Bar Grills in Lenexa, Overland Park and Topeka.
Two months after opening, Hi-Dive Lounge is launching a lunch service.
Owners Bill Howgill and Grant Naugle took over the longtime pizza place at 1411 W. 39th St. in late September and opened the restaurant and bar in mid-February. They focused on dinner first, including such entrees as grilled pork chops, tomato glazed meatloaf, and sourdough and tomato ravioli, as well as sandwiches, soups and salads.
Now customers can come in for lunch Wednesday through Sunday. The lunch menu includes appetizers, salads and soups, a variety of sandwiches, and lunch combos such as a daily pasta.
The space housed a Minsky’s Pizza for several years and then another pizza company. The new owners have opened up part of the front facade for covered outdoor seating during warmer weather. They also plan to add a patio in back, as well as happy hour specials.