Cityscape

Curtain rises on Prairie Village Shopping Center restaurant

The Chocolate Frog Cafe is located in the Village Shopping Center in Prairie Village.
The Chocolate Frog Cafe is located in the Village Shopping Center in Prairie Village. RSUGG@KCSTAR.COM

When Standees - The Entertaining Eatery opened in May 2013 in the Prairie Village Shopping Center it was an untried concept. It was a restaurant first and foremost, but also offered movie theaters, all under one roof.

However, many customers saw the restaurant as more like a giant concession rather than as a stand-alone operation, the owners said.

So, in late April, Dineplex International temporarily shut down the restaurant, at 3935 W. 69th Terrace, and brought in Liberty-based Leap Hospitality to create a more family-friendly eatery with prices ranging from $6 to $16.

Leap has warmed up the spot with new tile, a frog mural and 1970s lighting fixtures. The restaurant reopened Tuesday as Chocolate Frog Cafe, after the popular confection in the “wizarding world of Harry Potter.”

But the biggest change is the menu.

Chocolate Frog Cafe is offering breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The “American comfort classics” menu includes French toast with Bananas Foster or seasonal berry compote, waffles and pancakes, omelets, yogurt parfaits, bagel and salmon plates, specialty burgers, sandwiches, entree salads, soups and appetizers.

A featured item is its Bowl Frogs, including the Bacon Sloppy Joe (ground beef and a sweet-and-spicy tomato sauce over a peppercorn bun with caramelized onions, tomato, bacon, shredded cheddar, house pickle and sauce) for $12, and the Thai Peanut (broccoli, carrots, green onion, crushed peanuts and spicy Thai peanut curry sauce), also for $12.

“Full plates” will be served from 4 to 9 p.m. and include fish tacos for $10, beer-battered fish and chips for $14, chicken and waffles (jalapeno-fried chicken and waffles with maple, bacon, and cranberry pecan sauce) for $14, and sirloin steak for $16. Desserts — which are made in-house — come in large portions for sharing and range from seasonal cheesecakes to chocolate chip cookies with a side of milk for dunking.

The children’s menu, under Tadpoles, includes pancakes, French toast, grilled cheese, mini burgers and chicken noodle soup.

Chocolate Frog Cafe also will have a variety of shakes for $5, including Mint O’Graham, Almond Joy, and Root Beer Bomb. They can be spiked — with, for example, Apple Infused Whiskey for the Apple Cinnamon shake — for an extra $3. It also will have beer, wine, mimosas and specialty cocktails.

Leap Hospitality is a restaurant consulting and management company, as well as a partner in and manager of The Jacobson restaurant in the Crossroads Arts District.

Chocolate Frog Cafe will still share a lobby with Standees movie theaters.

More restaurant and retail updates

▪ Kansas City-based Beauty Brands, a salon, spa and superstore for beauty supplies, plans to open its new Shawnee location Friday.

The operation, 15320 Shawnee Mission Parkway, showcases the company’s new design with several interactive “play stations” where customers can try out featured products: a Beauty Bench for color and skin care; a Hair Bench for new styling tools and hair products; an Origins Bench for the Origins product line; and a fragrance bar with a variety of fragrances to sample.

Representatives from beauty supply companies also will often be at the interactive stations during high-traffic days to introduce new items. New lines include prestige brands as well as independents.

▪ Spice N Rice recently opened in The Fountains shopping center, 6537 W. 119th St., Overland Park. Frida’s Taqueria had formerly occupied the space.

The Indian restaurant serves a variety of items including butter chicken, lamb curry, vegetable wrap, Tandoori chicken, shrimp Biryani, Tikki Chaat, Chana Masala and pan-fried okra.

▪  Less than three years after opening in Leawood, Mio - an Italian Trattoria and Mio - an Italian Pizzeria have closed.

The restaurants — in Parkway Plaza at 4800 W. 135th St. — were by locally owned Specialty Cuisine Concepts. Owner Julian Viso said he was trying to negotiate new leases that would lower his rent and offer more landlord sponsored promotions but couldn’t work out a deal. Officials with Parkway Plaza couldn’t be reached for comment.

“In this corridor we are competing with Prairiefire, Corbin Park and 119th Street. Beautiful centers, well-organized developments with landlord provided supports and public activities,” Viso said. “We had to bring people in — promote and discount. It was a great experience, we served more than 180,000 people, but at the end of the day it is a business and we had to focus on our best investment.”

That “best investment” would be the company’s 11,000-square-foot event and meeting space, The Venue in Leawood, which opened a year ago in Parkway Plaza.

“We have a very busy season coming our way,” Viso said.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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