Chef-restaurateur Ray "Pete" Peterman's decision to limit service in his midtown restaurant, Peanches (900 West 39th Street, 816-709-3032), to patrons with reservations proved controversial from the beginning. But Peterman, perhaps the most iconclastic - and sometimes combative - chef in Kansas City, stuck to his principles for months.
Now that Peanches is nearly a year old, Peterman has dropped the policy of no walk-ins. Customers without reservations can now get a table. It wasn't an easy decision.
"I wanted to take walk-in customers from the beginning," Peterman says. "But I'm a one-man kitchen. We took walk-in customers at the very beginning, but our dining room is so intimate that we often had them wait for an open table until the patrons who had made reservations had been seated. By requesting reservations, we could control the flow."
But customers without reservations kept showing up, and Peterman became increasingly uncomfortable turning business away.
"I realized that I was pissing off people who had reservations and also pissing off potential customers who didn't have them. It was a no-win situation."
Peterman has also lightened up on his menu, too, which he had turned into a prix-fixe-only affair. "We now have a number of limited a la carte choices in addition to the prix-fixe meals.
Peterman thinks that most of his clientele will continue to make reservations. But if you just show up, he'll let you have a table.