This month, the Crossroads won “favorite neighborhood” in an INK magazine poll between 32 Kansas City neighborhoods, beating the River Market in the last round with 63 percent of the popular vote.
Art galleries and studios, boutiques, breweries and distilleries, and noteworthy restaurants are the draw in this area — south of downtown Kansas City, north of the historic Union Station, east of Interstate 35 and west of Troost Avenue. And new additions are giving people even more reasons to visit.
▪ Mission Taco Joint, 409 E. 18th St.: During a First Friday visit, St. Louis resident and Mission Taco Joint co-founder Adam Tilford tweeted out how much he liked the Crossroads. His friend, a partner in iTap (International Tap House), told him to look at the building they were considering at 18th and Oak. Mission Taco Joint and iTap are neighbors in a St. Louis location and decided to do the same in the Crossroads.
Tilford and his brother, chef/co-founder Jason Tilford, focus on Baja-style street tacos — fish tacos (wood-fire grilled or fried) with chipotle Baja sauce, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and queso fresco is a popular order, as well as the Three Little Pigs burrito (with slow roasted pork shoulder, pork belly carnitas, chorizo queso, smashed black beans, cilantro rice, pickled onion and ancho barbecue sauce).
The menu also includes tortas, starters such as the carne asada fries and wild mushroom empanadas, and sides such as the street corn “off the cob,” grilled and tossed in garlic-lime mayo with queso fresco.
▪ iTap (International Tap House), 403 E. 18th St.: Described as a “beer hall with a massive selection of draft and bottled brews in spacious, industrial-chic settings.” The St. Louis-based company took an East Crossroads building that had been heavily damaged after a car careened into it during a high-speed pursuit by police in late 2014.
iTap has 56 beers on draft and more than 400 different bottled beers. Customers can bring in food from other restaurants including Mission Taco Joint next door and the two operations share a bathroom.
▪ Songbird Cafe, 1529 Grand Blvd. The Grandview shop has a new Crossroads location serving cream smoothies such as the Farmer (with mango, pineapple, kale and milk), fruit smoothies such as the Sanctuary (with mango, lime and cayenne), and nut shakes. It also has fresh-squeezed juices named after birds, from the Canary (apple, pear and ginger) to the Peacock (cucumber, pear, orange, lemon and kale). Other menu items include small plates, salads and sandwiches, including the PBH with fresh ground peanut butter and local raw honey.
▪ Opal & Orchid, hair and makeup studio, in the new 1700 Locust building, at 1700 Locust St., Suite 200.
▪ Novel will relocate from 815 W. 17th St. to a new building at 1927 McGee St. Depending on permits it could relocate as early as November or as late as March 2018. It will continue to operate at its current location until the move.
▪ Made in KC sells Kansas City-themed and locally made products in three retail shops and 10 area Hallmark stores. It is moving its offices from Prairie Village to 509 E. 18th St. by mid-September. It will then have a Food Truck Patio in an open lot next door, hosting three or four food trucks for lunch Fridays and Saturdays.
▪ The Abbott, 1901 Cherry St.: An event space that will seat up to 500 people. An early 2018 opening is scheduled.
▪ A Papa Keno’s Pizzeria franchisee has signed a lease for the former Snow & Co. space at 1815 Wyandotte St. and plans to open there by late September.
▪ Casual Animal Brewing Co., 1725 McGee St.: Kyle and Lara Gray plan to open the microbrewery and tap room by the holidays. Their tag line: Laid back beers that tap into your wild side. Kyle currently is assistant brewer at the Big Rip Brewing Co. in North Kansas City.
“This is an evolution of a dream I suppose. And the Crossroads is a vibrant, creative area with other organic breweries and distilleries,” he said.
▪ The Kansas City Clothing Co., 2020 Baltimore Ave.: Geoff Miles started the company in 2014 and had a pop-up in Leawood’s Town Center Crossing from November through August. His line, mostly T-shirts and hats, has a strong Kansas City focus from a portrait of the “father of Kansas City” John McCoy to Kansas City Superheroes (with a percentage of sales benefiting a local charity).
He hopes to have a soft opening during weekends in September and then be open full-time in October. The lower level will be a sales floor while an upper mezzanine will host promotional events.
▪ Afterword Tavern & Shelves, 1834 Grand Blvd., has scheduled a fall opening. The owners did not return phone calls.
▪ RedWether Collaborative wants to open an 18,000-square-foot, two-story food hall, featuring local eateries, at 1707 Locust St. in mid-2018. Chefs would sign leases of 18 to 24 months.