National ‘health-driven, seasonal’ restaurant chain to replace Plaza III

True Food Kitchen plans an early 2019 opening on the Country Club Plaza.

It will take a space at 4749 Pennsylvania Ave. that has long been occupied by Plaza III the Steakhouse. Plaza III is scheduled to close March 10.

True Food Kitchen is described as a “health-driven, seasonal, nutrient-dense” restaurant offering such options as gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan items made from scratch.

Its winter menu includes vegetables such as roasted heirloom carrots (with za’atar, sesame, pistachio, Greek yogurt and dill) and winter squash toast (with Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, lemon, soba and hazelnut); ‘starters” such as a daily soup, Wild Caught Albacore Tataki, Edamame Dumplings and kale guacamole; salads, bowls and sandwiches including the Inside Out Quinoa Burger (with hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion and avocado), Mediterranean chicken pita and a grass-fed burger; and butternut squash pizza.

Entrees include Moroccan chicken, sustainable sea bass, grilled fish or grass-fed steak tacos, and lasagna Bolognese with fennel chicken sausage and lemon ricotta.

It also will have wine, local craft beers and seasonal cocktails made from fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices and organic spirits.

True Food Kitchen was co-founded by Andrew Weil, a leader in integrative medicine, author and spokesman, and Sam Fox, a James Beard Award-nominee for Restaurateur of the Year in 2018.

The 7,000-square-foot restaurant will feature natural woods, local artwork, containers to house fresh herbs and spices, dining chairs made of recycled soda bottles, an open kitchen and a 475-square-foot patio.

True Food Kitchen was founded in Phoenix in 2008 and currently has 22 locations in 10 states states, including California, Florida, Maryland and Texas. It plans to open three or four more restaurants this year.

It picked the Plaza because it is an open-air center with a “vibrant, active community,” along with its history and its importance to the Kansas City community, said Christine Barone, CEO of True Food Kitchen.

In a statement, Country Club Plaza general manager Meredith Keeler, said: “Distinctive dining is a key differentiator for the Plaza, and True Food Kitchen’s unique, fresh and flavorful menu and seasonally sourced ingredients will be an excellent addition to our culinary lineup.”

Earlier this month, David Haddad, president of Kansas City’s Haddad Restaurant Group, confirmed that he would close Plaza III at 4749 Pennsylvania Ave. on March 10. He declined to comment further.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC