816 Business

Westport Saloon: Small kitchen but a big menu

A new sandwich shop has sprung up in the back of The Westport Saloon, and it is selling its goods several ways.

Eat Me Gourmet’s customers can order at a window inside the saloon; they can order at an outside window; and they can order from one of Eat Me Gourmet’s roving servers if they are at one of a half-dozen Westport bars.

Chef and owner Peter Castillo puts out a big menu for such a small kitchen.

There’s The Rooster (bacon, three fried eggs and chile mayo on buttered Texas toast), The Rabbi (brisket on dark rye with sharp cheddar cheese), The Shorty (short ribs braised in Boulevard Brewing Co.’s stout and then pan-seared and topped with crispy onions and served on an artisan roll), Travis’ T (crispy fried green tomatoes layered in white bean hummus and a Vietnamese carrot slaw and served on grilled French bread) and its mac and cheese (blackened chicken, shrimp, vegetarian or Buffalo chicken).

Other menu items include brownie topped with brown sugar and butter caramel icing, mega cinnamon rolls, pork rinds and hand-cut fries.

“It’s all done in-house. Food with a lot of flavor,” Castillo said. “We are small enough that we are able to change seasonally and have something totally different.”

Several nights a week, Eat Me Gourmet servers hit a half-dozen Westport bars to take orders, including The Riot Room and The Gusto Lounge. Then they head back to the kitchen to place the orders and then take them back to their customers — typically in under 30 minutes.

On Sunday it serves a gospel brunch from 1 to 4 p.m. in The Westport Saloon, at 4112 Pennsylvania Ave. The saloon provides a Bloody Mary bar where customers can select from about 40 ingredients and the bartender adds the alcohol.

In January it will start offering some bacon dishes under the headline “Bacon for forgiveness.”

Dubbed the Backsliders Brunch, it is catering to bartenders, cooks and musicians who may be sleeping in and can’t make a traditional church service, as well as “late night Saturday partyers.”

Castillo has more than 25 years’ experience in the restaurant industry, including stints at the former Cafe Allegro and Eddy’s Catering. Most recently he was corporate executive chef at the University of Utah Hospitals Clinics in Salt Lake City, while still keeping the family home in Lenexa.

As for the Eat Me Gourmet name, he considers it, well, tasteful.

“I tell people to get their minds out of the gutter. It’s all about the food. You see it and it just says, ‘Eat me,’ 

” he said.

The Westport Saloon opened this summer as an “American roots music” venue for Americana, bluegrass, hillbilly, rockabilly, honky-tonk, classic and alt country, Cajun, zydeco, and mountain stomp music — and specializing in whiskey.

First Watch, salon losing roof over their heads

Two longtime North Kansas City businesses are being uprooted because their building is unsafe.

Both First Watch restaurant at 409 Armour Road, and Looks Avant-Garde salon, 407 Armour Road, have closed.

According to management company, NT Realty Inc., the building is damaged to the extent that it is economically unfeasible to repair. Engineering reports indicate the structural damage to the roof may be due to heavy snowfalls in February 2013.

The goal is to demolish the 7,306-square-foot building and put up a new one as quickly as possible. For now, NT Realty is dealing with tenants, contractors, city codes, lenders and insurance.

Chris Tomaso, spokesman for First Watch, said the plan is to reopen on the site even if it takes several months to do the demolition and rebuild.

Richard Lanning, president of NT Realty, couldn’t say when a new building would be completed.

“Not only does First Watch want to get back in operation, it is a key service provider for the city,” Lanning said.

First Watch had operated in the space since 1998, according to company officials.

The Florida-based chain serves made-to-order menu items for breakfast, brunch and lunch. It has been directing customers to its Westport and Fairway restaurants.

It’s not that easy for Looks Avant-Garde with just one location. Its lease is being terminated just short of its 30th anniversary in 2014.

“It’s been really, really, really stressful. I’m just trying to move forward but right now I am in limbo,” said Gloria Scott, salon owner.

Scott has about 300 clients, and the holidays are one of her busiest seasons. Four other stylists also were displaced. They, too, had hundreds of clients.

“I have very loyal clients who are waiting for me to find a place,” Scott said.

To Reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send e-mail to jsmith@kcstar.com follow her on twitter and facebook at joycekc.