Local Pig's Alex Pope will be culinary director of a new P&L district restaurant

Local Pig’s Alex Pope will be culinary director of Cleaver & Cork, a new Power & Light District operation.
Local Pig’s Alex Pope will be culinary director of Cleaver & Cork, a new Power & Light District operation. Cleaver & Cork

Alex Pope, a founder and partner in the Local Pig, will be culinary director of Cleaver & Cork, a new restaurant in the Power & Light District.

The restaurant plans a late February opening at 1333 Walnut St., in the heart of the district.

Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, which has operated in the space since May 2008, will close on Jan. 1, according to district officials. Maker’s Mark corporate officials did not return phone calls, but an area manager confirmed the closing.

Cleaver & Cork will be owned by ECI, an affiliate of the Cordish Cos., the developer of the Power & Light District.

Pope is creating Cleaver & Cork’s menu, focusing on fresh, high-quality ingredients from local sources, as well as fresh seafood that will be flown in daily. Menu items will include Local Pig sausage soup, zucchini fritters, a bacon and oyster Sandwich, red beet risotto, pork osso bucco and dry-aged KC Strip steaks.

Pope worked with James Beard Award-winning chefs Debbie Gold and Celina Tio at the American Restaurant before partnering in the Local Pig butcher shop and Pigwich food truck in the East Bottoms, as well as a Local Pig in Westport.

Eric Willey will be managing partner of Cleaver & Cork. He had been with Bluestem in Westport.

The district has recently been focusing more on local culinary talent.

BRGR Kitchen + Bar replaced a chain operation in mid-2013.

Then Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda designed the menu and trained the chefs for a revamped Tengo Sed Cantina in May. MeMa’s Old-Fashioned Bakery & Kitchen recently relocated in the district and expanded.

“Kansas City is making it clear that it will support well-executed local concepts,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the district.

But Power & Light still plans to keep a strong mix of regional and national tenants, too.

Yard House will join the lineup when it opens a new 10,500-square-foot restaurant at 1300 Main St. in early spring. Yard House locations offer a wide variety of craft beers and a menu that includes sandwiches, entree salads, soups, street tacos, seafood and steak.

Express Factory Outlet store for KCK

In November, Express Factory Outlet confirmed that it was in negotiations to open an area store. Now it has signed a lease for a 7,061-square-foot space in the Legends Outlets Kansas City at 1837 Village West Parkway, Suite B-129. It plans a spring 2015 opening.

Tommy Hilfiger is operating in the spot but is scheduled to close Dec. 28, according to Legends Outlet officials. Officials with Tommy Hilfiger couldn’t be reached for comment.

Express Factory Outlet will offer discounts on Express brand clothing for men and women.

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

Related stories from Kansas City Star