Chow Town

Sweet and savory beignets are the focus of a new City Market venue

Nica’s 320 on Southwest Boulevard is known for its eclectic menu. But one thing many customers can agree on was is its made-to-order beignets.

Now Nica’s chef/owner Bryan Merker has pulled out that item and given it the spotlight at his new City Market venue fittingly called Beignet.

“My wife Nica and I just fell in love with the market. The diversity and the diversity it brings,” he said. “It makes you feel like you are somewhere else, someplace you might stumble upon in a large metropolitan city.”

He decided to open Beignet as an extension of Nica’s 320 and also as a complement to the other food operations in the City Market.

Beignet, at 307 Main St., serves both savory and sweet beignets.

Among the savory are the Crusty Crab (blue crab, herbed goat cheese and hickory bacon), The Bronx (smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, pepperroni and meatballs) and the Bourgeois Pig (cheddar, caramelized onions, apple-wood and hickory bacon). Customers also can choose a complimentary aoili for dipping.

Sweet beignets include chocolate truffle, Bavarian cream, carmelized peach, Butterfinger, and peanut butter and jelly, Brie and berries, and Bananas Foster.

Beignet also sells sweet crepes - such as wild berry, Nutella, and cinnamon apple - served with Sabayon cream, along with cornbread pancakes and sides like sweet potato fries, black-eyed pea salad, and muffaletta olive salad.

Merker grew up in Kansas City but cooked at restaurants up and down the West Coast and in New Orleans where he studied Creole and Cajun cuisine. Merker met his wife Monica “Nica” Merker in Seattle.

They’ve given the space a New Orleans touch with a painting of a voodoo goddess and Victorian-styled sofa and chairs. The couple’s five year old son, Xion, painted the textured tops on the tables.

Quick bites

•  Grains & Taps, a supplier of home brewing equipment and ingredients, has opened at 224 S.E. Douglas St. in downtown Lee’s Summit.

•  Konrad’s Kitchen and Tap House opened in the former Jerry’s Bait Shop in Lee’s Summit in late May. The operation, at 302 S.W. Main St., serves Jerry’s favorites like pizza and “bones” (bite-sized pizza appetizers), along with a new wheat crust, new appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, vegetarian items, entrees, and 16 beers on tap.