When Lidia's Kansas City opened in the Crossroads 15 years ago, there had never been a restaurant in the former railroad freight house (there are now three), and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich (the proprietor of Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto restaurants in New York City) had never opened a location outside New York (she now has two).
"We were a little nervous at first," says Bastianich, who will be in Kansas City next week for her restaurant's anniversary event. "How do you manage a restaurant from a distance?"
Still, the challenge appealed to her: "We felt the Midwest was underserved by the kind of cuisine we had to offer," she says.
Kansas City has always had Italian restaurants, of course, dating back at least to the early 1900s. For the record: The longest-running Italian restaurants in the city are Cascone's Grill (started as a three-stool diner in 1933), Jasper's Restaurant and the Northland's Cascone's Restaurant (both opened in 1954).
Was Lidia's Kansas City really so different?
In other news on Main, the Rieger launched a new bar menu earlier this month, and the first thing on your to-eat list should be the "duck fat kettle corn." For those who tweet, Rieger chef and owner Howard Hanna is now on Twitter.
The meal (full menu here) starts with antipasti: house-curred salumi, roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella. After that, you can have wild mushroom and barley soup, grilled octopus or crispy veal sweetbreads. The third course has the pasta-tasting menu (including risotto with Maine lobster), a roasted heritage pork loin stuffed with bourbon-soaked prunes, or veal osso bucco. Wrap up with Limoncello tiramisu, pumpkin budino or chocolate chestnut torta. The dinner is $60 per person (an additional wine pairing of Bastianich wines is $30). Call 816-221-3722 to make a reservation.
Leave your house at 7 p.m. and stop by the Foundry for beer ice cream and beer floats. They're holding a Back to School Ice Cream Social with Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, Boulevard Harvest Dance, McCoy's Farmhouse, Stiegl Weisse and St. Louis Peche ice cream. The two flavors of beer float will be made with St. Louis Framboise and McCoy's Milk Stout.
The three-time NBA champion, now an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards, will be there signing autographs and answering questions from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday. Cassell is in town to teach an All-Star Basketball Camp in Overland Park later that night. Lufti's opened on Main Street last July.
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