Kansas City is a great place to live and it has a vibrant food scene—if you know where to look. Last year saw great growth and development for foodies, and 2015 is sure to have many surprises in store. Here are a few for you to sample in the new year.
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If you live in the Crossroads (or Downtown), groceries had always been a problem. When I moved to the Westside about 17 years ago, my closest grocery option was the Royal Liquor at Southwest Boulevard and Summit Street. If you work in a restaurant, a liquor store that has fresh eggs and breakfast foods is all you really need anyway. Finally Cosentino’s opened at 13th and Main providing immediate grocery shopping relief. The latest addition is The Sundry Market & Kitchen, a simple space at 17th and Baltimore (parking in front), that sells basically everything you need to eat and cook in an urban environment, especially if you like to support local products. Honestly, if you can’t make a great meal out of what they sell, you probably shouldn’t be living on your own. If you’re too busy to cook they offer breakfast from 7 until 10:30 a.m., lunch from 11:00 a.m. until 3 p.m., and dinner “to-go” items are available in the deli case all day long. thesundry.com
Lidia’s Kansas City, cornerstone of the Crossroads culinary scene, has expanded their dining possibilities for all of us. If you love sitting on their terrace while watching the trains go by, eating regional Italian cuisine and pretending you’re in your favorite little corner of Italy, or if you want to host a private event, sharing your favorite Italian flavors with friends over a delicious bottle of wine, check out their newly enclosed Terrazza. It comfortably seats 90 people and features flexible menus designed to fit your function be it simple or lavish. lidias-kc.com
Chef Alex Pope has been busy. Many of you know him from Local Pig, the hippest, most off-the-beaten-path butcher shop in Kansas City, and his stationary food truck Pigwich. But he is also a first-rate chef and the driving force behind the food at Local Pig in Westport (formerly Preservation Market), and the soon to open Cleaver & Cork in the Power & Light District. The new venture (occupying the Maker’s Mark location at 13th and Walnut) will feature foods inspired by Pope’s love of quality meats and charcuterie in all their various guises. Opening this month.
Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements has opened in Westport in the space previously occupied by the Beaumont Club at 4050 Pennsylvania. The menu features the smoky cuisine of competition-barbecue-winning Mitch Benjamin (team Meat Mitch) along with Southern-inspired foods like fried green tomatoes, lobster deviled eggs, smoked duck gumbo and Tabasco honey-fried chicken. American craft beer, and Southern-inspired cocktails and bourbons round out the menu. charbarkc.com
Just around the corner, Westport Café and Bar has introduced a winter cocktail menu featuring some of their versions of “new” classic cocktails like Hot Buttered Rum (think Gosling’s dark rum, Angostura 5-year rum, spiced vanilla butter and hot cider—sure to take the chill off of anyone) and the Embury French 75, as well as new house specialty cocktails. The Parisian-inspired bistro opens daily at 4 p.m., serving cocktails, beer and wine selection until 1:30 a.m. (midnight, Sunday). A daily happy-hour food menu with $5 select glasses of wine and $3 beers is offered from 4 until 6:00 p.m., with late night starting at 10:00 p.m. The full dinner menu is served starting at 4 p.m. daily.
PLAZA AND SURROUNDS
Spin! Neapolitan Pizza at 4950 Main Street just had a little facelift. In addition to freshening things up a bit, they’ve added one of Kansas City’s first larger selections of barrel wines. Barrel wines allow the service of higher-end wines by the glass at lower prices, and a selection of wine varieties that might normally only be served by the bottle. Spin! also offers these wines by the carafe and in Italian glass jelly-jar sizes allowing you to tailor the size of the pour to your needs. For beer enthusiasts, they will be featuring a rotating roster of craft beers and an increase in the number of beers on tap. spinpizza.com
Zócalo Mexican Cuisine & Tequileria has created a new carryout family-style platter menu featuring many of its most popular items, perfect for busy families, staff luncheons or any other get-togethers small or large. Imagine enlivening your next event with platters of empanadas, a build-your-own taco bar or Cubano platter, chips and myriad salsas, habanero polenta or Borracho beans, just to mention a few. Dishes are conveniently packaged and easy to transport, reheat and serve. For Plaza businesses, Zócalo’s party platter menu offers delivery service to Plaza businesses with dishes arriving ready to serve, no reheating required. zocalokc.com
If you need more ideas to stimulate your dining habits this year, one of the most engaged bloggers in K.C. (and surrounding Midwestern cities) is the lovely Jenny Vergara. You can follow her blog (makingafoodie.com), or follow her on Facebook. Another favorite is Jonathan Bender’s recommendeddaily.co, a great site for info on openings and closings, cocktails and other diversions. And always check the Kansas City Spaces website (spaceskc.com), and friend us on Facebook for the latest news on the food front.