One of the most frequent questions that Fat City has been receiving lately is echoed by reader Rod, this time via Twitter: "Do you know anything about the restaurant coming in across from the Uptown Theatre? "
He's referring to the old Chubby's location at 3623 Broadway, last occupied by the New Cafe Tandoor. There's currently a sign in the window announcing its newest tenant, Clark's American Caribbean Restaurant. When it opens at the end of August, says chef and co-owner Joseph Clark, the venue will be serving classic soul food and Caribbean dishes. Clark will own the restaurant with his brother, Robert, and their father, Dr. Granville Clark.
Joseph Clark left Kansas City years ago, after graduating from Rockhurst High School; while attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Joseph earned extra money by working in restaurants as a dishwasher, waiter and cook's assistant. "I used to bug the line cooks about the dishes they were preparing," Clark says. "I would ask why they were using this ingredient instead of that one or how they were preparing certain kinds of meat. It was the beginning of my culinary education."
Clark says he and his brother, Robert, made the decision two years ago to open their own restaurant in Kansas City that would serve soul food and certain unique dishes from the Caribbean culinary repertoire. When the restaurant opens, it will offer a number of set dishes every night as well as daily and weekly specials.
"We'll definitely be offering dishes like pork chops, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens and potatoes every night," he says, "as well as curried goat, jerk chicken and Cuban roast pork." Featured desserts will include miniature cakes called crystal drops, sweet-potato pie and fruit cobblers.
The 125-seat restaurant will offer both lunch and dinner.
Clark says he was drawn to the location because of the historic charm of the old neighborhood — "It's definitely an up-and-coming area, and the neighborhood has always been a solid restaurant destination" — and the close proximity to Westport, Crown Center and the Country Club Plaza.
"This neighborhood has a very distinctive feel," Clark says. "Once you cross 39th Street, heading north, you're in a very different community. It's a very eclectic neighborhood."
Joseph Clark received his degree in psychology but has spent most of his career in the restaurant business. That psychology degree, I told him, will come in handy operating a restaurant of his own.
"You may be right," he said. "But we're very positive about the project."
The Clarks have applied for a liquor license but plan to start out serving wine and beer.