Two years ago YaYa’s Euro Bistro, which opened in 1994 at the corner of 119th Street and Roe Avenue, hauled its Mediterranean-inspired continental menu — including favorite dishes such as the $24 Duroc pork chop, $16 trout Amandine and $14 Campo Lindo chicken — chandeliers, sconces and even wrought-iron railings a bit further south to Corbin Park at 135th and Metcalf.
YaYa’s boasts the same smart interior that patrons loved at the original spot: lots of limestone, the familiar sweeping ramp from the bar area to the dining room, spacious, comfy booths with leather banquettes and yes, an umbrella-dotted patio that is illuminated at night. Instead of a busy intersection, this YaYa’s patio is surrounded by an expansive green space, with a burbling fountain nearby that features massive bronze horses.
Executive chef Travis Pyle, who most recently worked at Leawood’s NoRTH, has assumed YaYa’s menu (former executive chef Martin Woods hopped across the parking lot to neighboring Prairiefire where he oversees PB&J concepts Newport Grill and Paradise Diner) and tweaked a few things, such as offering breakfast a la carte on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and implementing a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday brunch buffet.
“Kansas City’s a breakfast and brunch town,” said general manager Austin DeForest. “YaYa’s has always offered weekend breakfast, but we introduced brunch full time following overwhelming response to Easter and Mother’s Day buffets.”
As a breakfast-brunch aficionado, I decided to give YaYa’s newly christened brunch a whirl recently. Preferring to let the early birds get their fill of the all-you-can-eat-buffet ($19.95; kids 12 to 6, $12.95; 5 and under complimentary), my significant other and I strolled in around 1:15 p.m. Fully expecting to see a picked-over conga line of fingerprinted chafers and messy platters, it was a pleasant surprise to encounter a pristine, beautifully styled buffet.
“For our first Sunday, we had a lot of patrons,” says brunch orchestrator Rico Hernandez, adjusting fresh flowers ornamenting the buffet before stepping over to adjacent tables holding gleaming chafers, lifting a lid, letting a fragrant puff of steam escape. “We just put more French toast casserole out. We cook à la minute instead of preparing in batches.”
The buffet features YaYa’s famous creamy hummus and baba ganoush with signature Farm to Market bread; smoked salmon; fresh fruits; bacon and sausage; chicken masala; whipped and roasted potatoes; haricot verts; from-scratch pastries and desserts and other sweet and savory items. An a la carte menu with traditional breakfast items (eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine at $12 each) is available, too.
For many, brunch isn’t complete without a Bloody Mary and YaYa’s fills the bill nicely with three house concoctions, including one with house-made tomatillo juice ($7 for one or $12 for two). Mimosa fans aren’t neglected — $15 buys a bottle of bubbles and a choice of six juices: tropical-orange-pineapple-pomegranate; pomegranate; ruby-red grapefruit; orange; blood orange; and blueberry-lemon sour.
Promising DeForest we’d return soon — “Chef Pyle is putting Bill’s Chicken salad on the buffet” he tempts — I wander out back, taking in YaYa’s handsome patio, making a mental note to next time eat al fresco, under the stars.
YaYa’s Euro Bistro
Location: 7020 W. 135th St. in Corbin Park, Overland Park
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Don’t Miss: Hummus & grilled pita with chili oil, Kalamata olives, feta cheese (small plates $9); Short rib papardelle house-made pasta, braised short rib, roasted red peppers, capers, basil, pecorino, rosé sauce (lunch/dinner $18;) Oak-fired pizza with squash blossom and burrata passata di Pomodoro (dinner $18)
Vegetarian: Kale salad with spiced crispy chick peas, pickled golden raisins, red onion, curried vinaigrette (lunch/dinner $9); Bakkafrost salmon with house-made shrimp and crab tortellini, roasted cipollini onions, watercress, sherry tomato cream (dinner $28)
Special for the summer: YaYa’s free outdoor concert series runs Thursdays through Labor Day, 6 to 10 p.m.; bring chairs, blankets.