Food News

The latest updates in Kansas City’s food and drink scene

Michael Smith Becomes Farina

James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Smith has announced his acclaimed modern Italian concept at 1900 Main will move down the block into stunning new digs at 1901 Baltimore, slated to open later this year.

The new restaurant, Farina by Michael Smith, will occupy 5,500 square feet on the main level of the building formerly occupied by The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The restaurant will join Haw/Contemporary, which announced on Jan. 8 that it will open a second gallery, which will be located on the building’s east side. Renovations began in late February. The building is located just west of Smith’s popular Extra Virgin, a high-energy Spanish tapas restaurant that will remain unchanged.

Farina by Michael Smith will spotlight the modern Italian menu Smith introduced in July 2017 to mark his eponymous restaurant’s 10th anniversary. The restaurant will accommodate 90 guests and a small cocktail bar, a fresh oyster bar, and an intimate, 25-seat private party room will enhance Smith’s trademark of experiential dining.

Smith will be executive chef and partner and Nancy Smith—who cultivates an award-winning wine program at Michael Smith Restaurant—will serve as general manager, partner, and wine director. Alberto “Berto” Santoro, one of Kansas City’s best-known bartenders and manager of the Michael Smith Restaurant-Extra Virgin bar program, will spearhead Farina’s program and continue to oversee the Extra Virgin beverage program. The space currently occupied by Michael Smith Restaurant will transform into a yet-to-be-named event venue, also owned and operated by the couple and private investors.

Informed by Smith’s creative love affair with modern Italian cuisine, the Farina by Michael Smith menu will include antipasti, fish, chops, seasonal sides, and desserts. The Italian word for flour, Farina was chosen as the restaurant’s name to highlight Smith’s signature handcrafted pasta.

Novel Finds a New Home


Chefs and husband/wife team Ryan Brazeal and Jessica Armstrong have relocated Novel, their critically acclaimed restaurant, from the historic Westside neighborhood to the East Crossroads Arts District. The new space, designed by award-winning architects El Dorado Inc and nationally recognized artist Peregrine Honig, was purposefully constructed with the aesthetics of hospitality in mind. The new 62-seat dining room features an 80-foot-long tile mosaic adorning the north wall across from an open kitchen with an intimate chef’s counter.

An 18-seat bar gives diners the opportunity to indulge in Novel’s contemporary beverage program. The updated menu is an exercise in focus and deliberate food, locally sourced and responsibly procured, showcasing the pure value of quality ingredients. Expect a new and exciting menu from both chefs.

The transition will be complete when Novel opens its doors on April 5 at 1927 McGee. The hours of operation will remain the same.

James Beard Foundation Honors The American


The results are in and the nominees have been chosen for the 2018 James Beard Awards. While several pros from Kansas City were nominated during the semi-finals, only one Kansas City institution will be honored with an award: The American.

The American, known equally for its architectural and culinary artistry, has been awarded this year’s Design Icon Award. In order to qualify, a restaurant or dining space’s design must have remained substantially unchanged for at least 20 years and must have influenced and inspired the design of subsequent restaurants and dining spaces. Additionally, the restaurant/dining space must still be in operation.

The American opened on Valentine’s Day 1974 atop Crown Center in Kansas City. Designed by Warren Platner, it became the conceptual parent of all the over-the-top top-of-the-building restaurants that followed, including some by Platner himself. Platner described it as, “Bridging the contrast in scale between great volume of space and the minute detail of food and tableware, between public gathering and personal intimacy, the design entertains the diner and gives distinction to the server in this emporium of elaborate meals.”