During the lunch rush this week, executive chef Clark Grant held court, not in the kitchen of his new Hogshead Kansas City, but in the dining room.
He stood on the customer side of the chef’s counter, calling out orders for his most popular items — cheeseburgers (with thick-cut bacon from Daily’s Premium Meats in St. Joseph, topped with an egg from Good Natured Family Farms in Bronson, Kan., and Kansas City Canning Co.’s hops pickles on a Farm to Market Bread Co. egg bun) and the KC Smokehouse Reuben (with smoked wagyu pastrami and sauerkraut from Hoganville Family Farms in Olathe).
Other large plate menu items include Skuna Bay salmon, eggs Benedict, jalapeño rubbed KC strip and chicken thigh confit.
Small plates include beet salad, Medjool dates (chorizo-stuffed with Calabrian chile-tomato sauce and goat cheese) and a charcuterie board with duck rillette, smoked duck and pork pate, salumi, and spicy apple mostarda.
While expediting the orders and making sure they are plated as he planned, Clark also can chat with some of his customers from his spot in the dining room. He’s already tweaked the side for his braised short rib dish, switching out a seasonal ravioli for a horseradish mashed potato side this week.
“I listen to Kansas City. They wanted something heartier with that dish,” he said.
Georgia-native Clark was formerly executive chef at the Capital Grille in Chicago and on the Country Club Plaza. He teamed up with Shawn McClenny, owner of the One Block South entertainment district in Overland Park, to open the new Hogshead Kansas City.
They took a 5,500-square-foot space at 4743 Pennsylvania Ave., which formerly housed California Pizza Kitchen, gutting it for a “rustic contemporary decor” with back bar area, open kitchen with chef’s counter seating 16, two community tables, and booths along the walls — some under a 28-foot moss wall.
The partners named it Hogshead after an Old World term for a large cask used for the shipment of wine and spirits, and they will soon offer in-house barrel-aged cocktails. The full bar also features craft beers and twists on classic cocktails using many local spirits.
“We designed everything for it to be a fun place for our employees to work, to showcase local ingredients and local artists, while producing great food and providing great service,” Clark said.