Buffet that served as a ‘classroom’ for UMKC students shuts down east of Brookside

Nearly a year after opening in the Landing shopping center, Cornbread Buffet has closed.

The restaurant, dubbed the “buffet with a little soul,” served a home-style menu while also providing hands-on experience and college credit to restaurant management students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

It opened in August, on the east side of the shopping center at 1336 E. Meyer Blvd. The Landing is just east of Brookside.

Cornbread Buffet served such items as fried catfish, fried chicken, shrimp pasta, lasagna, smothered pork chops, salad and its namesake cornbread, served three ways: one sweet, one spicy with jalapenos and one traditional.

Three men with ties to the restaurant industry came up with the idea: David Block, who is president of Block & Company Inc. Realtors, restaurateur Ivan Marquez, who had such local operations as Frida’s Contemporary Mexican Cuisine, and Tony Mendes, managing director for the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UMKC. Block, whose company is the property manager for the Landing, said he has worked with hundreds of restaurant clients throughout the country over his 44-year career.

“We are looking at relocating Cornbread Buffet and then opening a new restaurant in the Landing spot, a concept that would better meet the needs of the community,” Block said.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.