Overland Park & Leawood

Lemongrass Thai Cuisine offers menu items off the beaten track

To really get the owner of the new Lemongrass Thai Cuisine to light up, order something that is not on the menu.

With a wide grin, Kevin Wong rattles off his “secret” specialties including Crazy Noodles (chicken, shrimp and snow peas topped with crispy basil), and Angry Cowboy (flank steak sauteed in krachai, sometimes called Chinese ginger).

Wong had planned to open Lemongrass a year ago at 7316 W. 80th St. in downtown Overland Park. When the first remodel didn’t meet his standards, he remodeled again and was much more hands-on the second time around.

Now a cozy bar is in front with windows looking out to 80th Street. The dining area is in back, down a wide hallway past a kitchen door for a quick peek of the cooking process. The dining area also has large windows looking out onto the farmers market as well as an entrance to the market.

Lemongrass offers made-from-scratch Thai cuisine using fresh ingredients, many purchased from the market.

Menu items include Lemongrass House Pork (shredded pork coated with water chestnut flour and braised in sweet tangy wine sauce), beef and scallops in hot sauce, sesame chicken, sweet and sour chicken or pork, Thai curry and Thai fried rice, along with appetizers, soups, salads and Thai iced tea.

The space formerly housed Intentions, a sushi restaurant and live music venue.

Specialty grocer for Shawnee

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has opened its second metro location.

The 15,000-square-foot specialty grocery store opened Tuesday at 13335 Shawnee Mission Parkway. It is selling most standard grocery items but will emphasize fresh organic and natural products, including USDA organic produce, vegetarian items, farm-raised meats and gluten-free products. The company tries to keep prices competitive with other local offerings.

It devotes eight aisles to vitamins and supplements. Nutritional health coaches also will offer free advice for healthier choices and for customers on special diets.

The company was founded in 1955 and now has 78 locations, including area stores in Overland Park and Lawrence.

Quick bites

•  PepperJax Grill plans to open in a new building at 13107 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee, in June. The Omaha-based chain is known for its Philly sandwiches. The menu includes rice bowls, giant burritos, salads and more. Its 18th restaurant is scheduled to open Thursday in Iowa.

Kolache Factory will share the Shawnee building and is scheduling a spring opening.

•  Milagro Midwestern Spa Collective, a locally owned spa offering massages, facials and body treatments using natural “raw” ingredients, is opening in downtown Overland Park. It also will have a retail area where customers can customize their own skin and body treatments using Milagro ingredients.

It first opened as a corporate-owned Natural Body Spa and Shop in Town Center Crossing, 4431 W. 119th St., Leawood, in 2008. Ashley Smith purchased the business in September 2013 and changed it to Milagro. In April she will relocate Milagro to 8006 Foster St.

“We wanted a more neighborhood feel,” she said.

•  Pinot’s Palette, a painting party studio, plans to open at 6943 Tomahawk Road in Prairie Village, on May 1. Customers will get step-by-step instructions from an artist as they do a painting to take home. They also can order wine and beer to drink as they paint or can they can bring their own drink. Pinot’s Palette also has an area location in Leawood.