Nica’s 320 on Southwest Boulevard is known for its eclectic menu. But one thing many customers can agree on is its made-to-order beignets.
Now Nica’s chef-owner Bryan Merker has pulled out that item and made it the spotlight at his new City Market venue, fittingly called Beignet.
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“My wife, Nica, and I just fell in love with the market and the diversity it brings,” he said. “It makes you feel as if you are somewhere else, someplace you might stumble upon in a large metropolitan city.”
He decided to open Beignet as an extension of Nica’s 320 and also as a complement to the other food operations in the City Market.
Beignet, at 307 Main St., serves both savory and sweet beignets.
Among the savory are the Crusty Crab (blue crab, herbed goat cheese and hickory bacon), the Bronx (smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, pepperoni and meatballs) and the Bourgeois Pig (cheddar, caramelized onions, apple wood and hickory bacon). Customers also can choose a complimentary aioli for dipping.
Sweet beignets include chocolate truffle, Bavarian cream, carmelized peach, Butterfinger, peanut butter and jelly, Brie and berries, and bananas Foster.
Beignet also sells sweet crepes — such as wild berry, Nutella and cinnamon apple — served with sabayon cream, along with cornbread pancakes and sides such as sweet potato fries, black-eyed pea salad and muffaletta olive salad.
Merker grew up in Kansas City but cooked at restaurants up and down the West Coast and in New Orleans, where he studied Creole and Cajun cuisine. Merker met his wife, Monica “Nica” Merker, in Seattle.
They have given the space a New Orleans touch with a painting of a voodoo goddess and Victorian-style sofa and chairs. The couple’s 5-year-old son, Xion, painted the textured tops on the tables.
• The Big Biscuit, a breakfast/lunch operation, has opened in the former Chubby’s on Barry space at 6332 N.W. Barry Road. The Big Biscuit is known for its homestyle menu items, including pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and hot beef sandwiches. The company also is in final negotiations for a new Overland Park location.
• Dunkin’ Donuts at 18051 W. 119th St., Olathe, is celebrating its grand opening through Sunday.
• Firehouse Subs plans to open in the Copperleaf Village Shopping Center on Missouri 7 in Blue Springs in early July. A Lawrence location at 31st and Iowa streets is scheduled to open in August.
• Papa Murphy’s Take ’N’ Bake Pizza has opened at 340 N.E. 72nd St. in Gladstone. Customers can enter a drawing through July 13 to win free pizza for a year. A grand opening is planned for July 11-13.
• Sweet T’s Soul Food Buffet has opened at 1109 E. Santa Fe in Olathe. Menu items include basa fried fish, fried chicken, brisket, buffalo wings, greens, green beans, red beans and rice, corn bread and peach cobbler.