Chow Town

A look back at a successful Kansas City Restaurant Week 2015

La Bodega
La Bodega

It’s been a little over a week since the end of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2015, by all accounts the most successful Restaurant Week to date, hands down.

With that in mind, and with the brief passage in time allowing restaurants and diners alike to “digest” the happenings, I thought I’d do a little Restaurant Week wrap-up through the eyes of three restaurants, all of whom had outstanding weeks.

Let’s check in first with Lidia’s, which did an amazing 6,252 covers for Restaurant Week, according to general manager Matt Parker Green. That 2,500 move covers than Restaurant Week 2014. On one day, Saturday, Jan. 25, Lidia’s set a personal record with almost 1,000 covers, Green said.

Despite the massive numbers, Green said he was pleased with the quality of the food served and service provided. He said things couldn’t have gone better.

“It was fantastic! Great food. Great price. Great causes. It was lots of hard work, but it provided an excellent opportunity for customers to experience Lidia’s and the other participating restaurants, and also support charities such as BoysGrow, CCVI (Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired), and Cultivate Kansas City,” Green said.

Next up, Jax Fish House, a newcomer to town, and also to Restaurant Week. General manager Rick Compton had similar post-Restaurant Week positive vibes.

“We served more than 3,200 seafood lovers over the 10 days of Restaurant Week,” he said. “That really blew our projections out of the water. As a new restaurant in Kansas City, we weren’t really sure what to expect, but we are more than pleasantly surprised and grateful by the amount of people that chose to dine with us.”

Compton said the key to success was preparation, but he said they could have done even more.

“Chef de cuisine Bobby Bowman and the crew spent countless hours making sure that we had plenty of food for each dinner shift,” he said. “We didn’t quite know how much food to prep so we prepped way above average amounts of food each night, hoping to get ahead for the next day. But, every morning, all the food was gone. You can’t prep enough for an event of this magnitude.”

Compton said there were lessons learned and next year will be bigger and better.

“We’re excited to offer an even wider array of choices, and we’ll likely offer wine pairings as well,” Compton said. “Restaurant Week is a must for Jax.”

Restaurant Week 2015 was also a rousing success for La Bodega, James Taylor’s long running Spanish Tapas restaurant. I spoke with Taylor about the experience as it pertained to his Town Center Crossing location in Leawood.

Like the other restaurants, Taylor said La Bodega Leawood’s numbers were up over previous years with some 3,100 covers for the 10-day Restaurant Week run.

“We consider that a really good sign,” Taylor said. “It means more people are venturing out and are understanding the concept of Restaurant Week.”

Taylor said he feels the biggest key to success is creating a menu all guests will enjoy.

“We have so many great things on our menu, both hot and cold, it’s hard to decide what the perfect menu should be to compliment everyone’s palette,” Taylor said.

Taylor called Restaurant Week 2015 “an intense week for everyone,” and “an exciting time for our community to enjoy themselves.”

He said he and both La Bodegas are looking forward to Restaurant Week 2016.

Me too!

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.