"Cafe Du Monde in the French Market. They're my inspiration doing beignets here," Merker says."New Orleans is nowhere near here. We're not Cafe Du Monde, but we can fill that void."
Merker talks today about the secrets to great beignets. Last Thursday, the chef and owner explained how all of his travels across America have influenced his restaurant in Kansas City. On Friday, he talked about the magic of black garlic.
Cafe Du Monde opened as a small stand in 1862 and remains the one place that Merker has to go every time he returns to New Orleans.
"I sometimes have no idea how I got there. Sometimes I don't remember being there. But I always make it a point to go back," Merker says.
Cafe Du Monde is open 24 hours, and there tends to be a line all hours of the night and day.
"The idea that they serve just chicory and beignets blows my mind. The iced chicory is really just the first frappuccino," Merker says.
So while Cafe Du Monde serves the traditional, Merker figured that beignets on his menu would require a twist or "infusion," like many of the dishes he serves. That's how you'll find beignets with chocolate, truffles or apples.
"Whether you're doing well or just have $9 until payday, I want this to be a place where you can come in and get beignets to go."