Life is a voyage best traveled with friends. So says a sign at the Northland’s new Beaches Cantina and the partners in the new restaurant took the saying to heart.
Montica Alexander and Staci Santoro became friends in high school, were roommates in college, then beach buddies on vacations, and now are business partners. But Santoro had to talk Alexander into the restaurant idea.
“Restaurants are so much work. But it is fun work. The most fun you will have for the amount of work you have to do,” Alexander said.
Alexander knows first-hand. She opened a Crossroads restaurant, Kansas City Cafe, in mid-2007 before selling it to local chef Celina Tio in 2013. Tio changed the name and concept.
Alexander’s former Kansas City Cafe chef, Tom Harley, is back with a menu that includes some former cafe favorites like lobster bisque and the smokey chicken sandwich. Beaches Cantina is a 10004 N.W. Ambassador Drive.
There are new items with a Caribbean flair — tequila steamed mussels, chorizo cheese fries, New England clam chowder, black bean and pork soup, blackened bleu burger, Cuban sandwiches, craft beers including some from Hawaii, and desserts like Beaches Banana Burrito (warm peanut butter and chocolate in a flour tortilla with cinnamon sugar whipped cream) and the lavender key lime creme brulee.
But it is specializing in street tacos including such flavors as chilled lobster salad, peanut butter and pork, run and coke steak, jerk chicken and buffalo chicken.
“We have some people who expect a Taco Bell taco,” Alexander said. “We can give them the directions to Taco Bell.”
Beaches Cantina tries to accommodate customers on a tight schedule at lunchtime, but most pick up on the laid-back atmosphere and want to linger. One customer has become a regular since the restaurant opened on May 11, just stopping in often for a Longboard Lager from Kona Brewing Co.
Luna Azteca Mexican Grill formerly operated in the space at 10004 N.W. Ambassador Drive. But the Luna Azteca owners closed that location in January to concentrate on their restaurant in The Village at Burlington Creek, 5918 N.W. 63rd Terrace, which opened in late 2013.
KC Juice Co for east Brookside
Amy Bartosik and Robin Krause are teaming up on the new KC Juice Co, a coffee and juice bar focusing on raw, whole and fresh ingredients.
“It’s a grab-and-go concept,” Bartosik said. “The emphasis will be on ‘living’ food that does your body good. When you eat them they are actually feeding the cells of your body without sacrificing flavor.”
KC Juice Co will offer cold-press raw juices, coffee drinks, an espresso bar, and fresh fruit and veggie smoothies with such ingredients as coconut water and raw seeds, as well as hemp, cashew, coconut or almond milk.
“Bites” will include detox salads, a variety of “rawnola” bars with fresh raw ingredients like seeds, cranberries and nut butters. It also will sell protein balls, gluten-free cookies, and brownies.
“Cold-pressed is a labor of love. The machines are expensive and it takes time. But it has more nutritional value, approximately 35 percent more,” Bartosik said.
The partners plan a summer opening in an A-frame building at 634 E. 63rd St. The former bank building with drive-thru, which had housed a couple of food operations in recent years, will be remodeled.
“We want to keep the historic element of that building and that era,” Bartosik said.
Bartosik earned a business degree from the University of Kansas-Lawrence in 1995 and then worked in consulting, marketing and sales for several corporations. In her travels on the West Coast, she could often find healthier quick-serve options while on the road. She wanted the same options in Kansas City.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC