Openings & Closings

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kansas Town restaurant closes after five months

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Chef Garrett Kasper created beautiful dishes for Kansas Town...but were they too artistic for the humble bistro? - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • Chef Garrett Kasper created beautiful dishes for Kansas Town...but were they too artistic for the humble bistro?


A little more than five months after the restaurant known as Kansas Town opened in the former Macaluso's space, at 1403 West 39th Street, restaurateur Michael Bechtel has closed the venue. Bechtel posted this message on the restaurant's Facebook page three hours ago:

"Unable to reach a new lease agreement to our satisfaction, sadly, we are closing our doors. Thank you to all of you who supported us and enjoyed some of the best food in the city."

The very creative dining spot opened last January with chef Joe Shirley (of the classy Uberdine pop-up restaurants) as menu consultant and bright young chef Garrett Kasper as executive chef. The dishes that Kasper created were as visually stunning as museum-quality artwork, but many diners found the menu (which only listed the primary ingredients) and some of the culinary combinations — a white-chocolate foie gras — to be incomprehensible.

"I gave Garrett a free rein in the kitchen," Bechtel says, "so I have no one to blame but myself. Most of the people who dined in the restaurant found the food to be delicious and exciting, as we had hoped. But others were not as enchanted by what we were doing."

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Crows Coffee opens in South Plaza next week

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Everything is in place for Zach Moores' new coffeehouse, Crows Coffee. He's hoping to open the doors to the public next week.
  • Everything is in place for Zach Moores' new coffeehouse, Crows Coffee. He's hoping to open the doors to the public next week.


The original plan was for Crows Coffee, the South Plaza coffeehouse at 51st Street and Oak created by 38-year-old entrepreneur Zach Moores, to have its soft opening this weekend. But there are still some kinks to work out, so Moores has pushed back his first day of business until next Monday or Tuesday. (A grand opening is tentatively scheduled for sometime in July.)

But Moores is ready. His staff is hired, his machinery - including a sleek, flaming-red, Italian-made La Marzocco FB/70 semiauto espresso machine - is tuned up and ready for business, and the pastries are ordered; Moores will be selling baked goods from both Northland's Le Monde Bakery and local confectionery queen Chelsea Williams. The coffee comes from Shawnee-based Messenger Coffee. The only component still missing are the customers, but Moores envisions a full house - the room seats 42 - after patrons discover the place. There hasn't been a coffee vendor on this stretch of 51st Street since Muddy's closed in 2011.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bleu Burgers' Tony Olson is seriously changing things at Chubby's, Longbranch

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:15 AM

Chef Nathan Buckley, left, and restaurateur Tony Olson recently opened Bleu Burger in Lee's Summit, but Olson wants Buckley to reinvent the food at Chubby's and the Longbranch Saloon in Lenexa.
  • Chef Nathan Buckley, left, and restaurateur Tony Olson recently opened Bleu Burger in Lee's Summit, but Olson wants Buckley to reinvent the food at Chubby's and the Longbranch Saloon in Lenexa.





There are a lot of things you could say - good and scathing - about Chubby's, the 24-hour diner at 3756 Broadway, but I had never considered using the words gracious service before. This is, after all, no place for the genteel, particularly after 1 a.m. 

While a friend and I were waiting for cheeseburgers last Friday night, our server stopped by our table - without a word and totally inexplicably - and dropped off a plate of two coaster-sized iced cinnamon rolls. We eyed the rolls warily. "Did you order those?" asked my friend.

No, since I don't crave breakfast pastries with my burgers (chocolate cream pie is another story entirely). We decided that the waitress had dropped the rolls off by mistake. But when, after five or six minutes, she didn't return for them, we ate them. Nothing was said. They weren't on the bill.

But I couldn't resist calling Tony Olson, the 33-year-old restaurateur who took over the operation of the midtown diner in 2012. "What's the story with the cinnamon rolls?" I asked Olson.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Range Steakhouse at Harrah's closes Sunday, 37 Steak opens on June 30

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 3:45 PM

A much more stylish (and expensive) steakhouse will be opening this month at Harrah's Casino -- 37 Steak -- operated by, from left, John Woods, executive chef; Scott Lokke, vice president of hospitality; Michael Strohm, head bartender; and B.B. Jorjadze, general manager.
  • A much more stylish (and expensive) steakhouse will be opening this month at Harrah's Casino -- 37 Steak -- operated by, from left, John Woods, executive chef; Scott Lokke, vice president of hospitality; Michael Strohm, head bartender; and B.B. Jorjadze, general manager.


This Sunday, June 22, will be the final night for one of Kansas City's best moderately priced steak restaurants: The Range Steakhouse at Harrah's Casino. After a 17-year run as the casino's signature steakhouse (The Pitch voted it "Best Kansas City Strip" in 2008), the venue will be shuttered for good so that the casino can focus its attention and resources on a new steakhouse, 37 Steak, scheduled to open June 30.

Named for the year 1937 (when casino empire founder Bill Harrah opened his first gambling joint in Reno), the stylish steakhouse takes over the space formerly occupied by Mike & Charlie's Italian Restaurant (and prior to that, a seafood concept called Moby's Fish Tales). The space was completely gutted to create the new dining venue. A new bar, featuring an artistically lighted onyx base and a quartz surface, was being stocked yesterday by the restaurant's celebrity bartender, Michael Strohm, a veteran of the R Bar and the Kill Devil Club.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Slap's BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas, opened today

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 2:29 PM

A combo platter of three ribs and burnt ends costs $13.50 and includes two sides -- in this case cheesy corn and french fries.
  • A combo platter of three ribs and burnt ends costs $13.50 and includes two sides -- in this case cheesy corn and french fries.

A month after the three members of the local competitive barbecue team Squeal Like A Pig -  brothers Mike and Joe Pearce and Brandon Whipple  - began renovating the venue at 553 Central Avenue (formerly Millie's Cafe) in order to open their own restaurant, the trio officially opened Slap's BBQ for business today.

"We had a soft opening over the weekend," says Mike Pearce, "mostly for friends and family."

Every table in the small, but deliciously aromatic dining room was taken at noon and there was a line extending from the front door to the counter as Whipple and the Pearce brothers sliced smoked ribs, spooned up cups of a decadently rich cheesy corn bake, and constructed sandwiches from brisket, pork, sausage and turkey. The cheery cashier, who was thorough, if none too quick, was Mike and Joe's mother. That's how she introduced herself: "I'm Mike and Joe's mother."

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Tonight will be the rowdy last hurrah for Pandolfi's Deli

Posted By on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Pandolfi's Deli closes tonight, but owner Jake Hendershot  wants it to be a party -- not a funeral.
  • Pandolfi's Deli closes tonight, but owner Jake Hendershot wants it to be a party -- not a funeral.


Sicilians are notoriously superstitious and Kansas City's Columbus Park - for many decades a solidly Sicilian-American community - is a neighborhood where omens are taken very seriously. And the omens are practically overwhelming tonight: the first full Moon on a Friday the 13th in over a decade (there won't be another until 2049) and the last day of Pandolfi's Deli, the restaurant opened by Jake Hendershot four years ago in the former Lapetina floral shop. That's right, the one connected to the former Lapetina Funeral Home, where mob boss Charles Binaggio - among other mob greats over the years - was set out for public viewing in a costly copper casket in 1950.

But there will be a party tonight - no last rites permitted - at 538 Campbell when Hendershot and his staff (and a few special guests, including Hendershot's parents, his new bride Aubree, and former Pandolfi's chef Grant Cansler) will host a farewell bashfor the restaurant beginning at 5 p.m. The Barkley Martin Ensemble starts playing at 8 p.m. and festivities are scheduled to continue until 11 p.m. Or later. 

"We'll be selling food - we're already sold out of a couple things - until we run out of food," says Hendershot. "We're selling beer, wine and mixed drinks too. We made a lot of limoncello - it's in the freezer now."

Hendershot made the decision to close the neighborhood lunch venue last month. He hasn't ruled out opening another Pandolfi's in a different location.

"We're expecting at least 200 people," says Hendershot. "We'll have seating inside and outside."

If as many friends and fans show up as Hendershot expects, the street in front of the deli could be a mob scene. Figuratively, of course.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bleu Burger on Blue Parkway wants to stuff you

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 2:53 PM

The All-American Burger at Bleu Burger has a beef patty filled with ketchup, mustard, pickles and American cheese before it goes on the grill. It's topped with more cheese and lettuce before it goes on the egg bun.
  • The All-American Burger at Bleu Burger has a beef patty filled with ketchup, mustard, pickles and American cheese before it goes on the grill. It's topped with more cheese and lettuce before it goes on the egg bun.


The servers at the four-month-old Bleu Burger at 320 S.W. Blue Parkway in Lee's Summit wear T-shirts printed with the words "Get Stuffed." And they mean it. You can really do some dietary damage at this saloon, particularly on Monday nights when the signature sandwich here, stuffed hamburgers, are half-price.

It's a really good deal. I was there last night, enjoying an oversized All-American Burger with a center already filled up with cheese and condiments (ketchup, mustard, pickles) before it even hit the grill.

The servers don't ask for directions on the temperature of the burger because, says general manager Jen Miles, they're all supposed to be cooked at medium well - the better to hold all that stuffing inside the burger. That's the concept anyway. My burger was undeniably on the rare side of the spectrum, and my friend's Black and Bleu Burger (stuffed with bleu cheese and blackened in a spicy Cajun rub) was actually cooked until it was medium well.

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Dorothy D's Cafe sells burgers, chili dogs and memories

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Seven weeks ago, former administrative assistant Kim Dickens reopened her grandmother's tiny cafe in Kansas City, Kansas. This time, however, the restaurant has a name: Dorothy D's Cafe.
  • Seven weeks ago, former administrative assistant Kim Dickens reopened her grandmother's tiny cafe in Kansas City, Kansas. This time, however, the restaurant has a name: Dorothy D's Cafe.


The long mustard-colored building at the corner of Fifth Street and Troup in Kansas City, Kansas, has had one hell of a life. At least three businesses owned by the Dickens family have come and gone from this location, and a new venue has just opened. It's still all in the family.

In the 1950s, one part of the building was the location of the John E. Dickens & Sons barbershop. The venue closest to the corner was operated as a tiny cafe - with a counter and a few stools - by his wife Dorothy. In the 1960s, their daughter Mary Hollingshead had opened her own little business in the back.

"It was a juke joint," says Kim Dickens, the granddaughter of the late John and Dorothy Dickens. "In those days, Fifth Street was filled with bars and clubs. My Aunt Mary had The Place. It had a jukebox, a pool table, and I think she only sold beer. But everyone knew about it."

The building at 2001 North Fifth Street had been empty for quite a while when Kim Dickens decided to reopen the little grill operated by her grandmother Dorothy from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s. 

"I'm serving all the same things that my grandmother served," Dickens says. "Except breakfast. And I'd like to start offering that, too."

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spin's Gail Lozoff and her partners have plans for the Kabuki location

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Gail Lozoff and her partners will gut the old Kabuki restaurant in Crown Center to create the newest Spin pizzeria in the heart of Kansas City. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • Gail Lozoff and her partners will gut the old Kabuki restaurant in Crown Center to create the newest Spin pizzeria in the heart of Kansas City.


Gail and Richard Lozoff decided on sushi for their first date, back in 1985. They went to Kabuki Japanese Restaurant in Crown Center. Nearly three decades later, the Lozoffs and their two business partners - Ed Brownell and Michael Kramer - are about to put a Spin Neapolitan Pizza restaurant in the former Kabuki location, on the first floor of the Crown Center complex.

The 100-seat restaurant is scheduled to open in September. Gail Lozoff says the partners are completely gutting Kabuki, and construction is to begin soon. The restaurant's design is being overseen by Tracy Stern of 360 Architecture, which has designed all of the Spin locations since the Lozoffs opened the first of the pizzerias, in 2005.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Pandolfi's Deli closing on June 13

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Jake Hendershot built quite a following for Pandolfi's Deli. Now he's selling the business and moving on to other ventures including, possibly, a new restaurant. "I'm keeping all of my options open," he says.
  • Jake Hendershot built quite a following for Pandolfi's Deli. Now he's selling the business and moving on to other ventures including, possibly, a new restaurant. "I'm keeping all of my options open," he says.


The high points of Jake Hendershot's four-year run as the owner of Pandolfi's Deli in Columbus Park?

"Looking back at what I created. I just thought I'd open a little sandwich shop in my grandfather's building. It succeeded beyond my wildest expectations," Hendershot says. "Not so much financially, but in terms of building a solid clientele, getting positive reviews, creating a real asset for the community."

That asset is going out with a bang: Hendershot is hosting a closing-night party for Pandolfi's Deli on Friday, June 13, from 5 to 10 p.m. Admission will be free, but the food and beverages will be sold at the event. Many former employees are returning to work that night - as well as Hendershot's family, including his new bride, Aubree.

Hendershot, who turns 35 this year, says he's ready for the next door in his career to open. Since opening Pandolfi's Deli in 2010, Hendershot has gotten divorced and remarried, moved from an apartment above the restaurant - which is located in the former florist shop adjacent to the space once occupied by the Lapetina Funeral Home - to the West Plaza, and tried to offer dinner service in 2012.

Dinners at Pandolfi's Deli were beautifully done, overseen by former chef Grant Cansler (who has returned to nonculinary corporate employment at Cerner), but only lasted seven months before Hendershot realized that he had bitten off more than he could chew: "It was incredibly difficult running a deli by day and a fine-dining operation at night," he says.

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