I'm thinking that with the exception of Cinco de Mayo and Bastille Day, Americans haven't really embraced very many holidays and commemorations specific to other countries: you never hear about a local restaurant celebrating Guy Fawkes Day or Sveriges nationaldag (National Day in Sweden).
The Westport Cafe & Bar (419 Westport Road, 816-931-4740) will be celebrating Bastille Day all weekend, Friday through Sunday, with a $30 pre-fixe dinner (per person; $45 with wine pairings) served from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. each night. The dinner menu will include a choice of starter (black truffle pasta, arugula salad, escargot, blue point oysters), main course (steak frites, pan-seared diver scallops, skate Grenobloise, grilled Atlanic char). Dessert choices will include profiteroles, espresso pot de creme and croissant bread pudding with mascarpone cheese and lemon.
"The last two years, Bastille Day has fallen on a week night,," says Westport Cafe & Bar owner Aaron Confessori, "but both nights were very successful. So we decided to celebrate the entire weekend this year."
The popular Brookside boite Aixois (251 East 55th Street, 816-3333305) is also celebrating all weekend with lunch, happy hour and dinner specials. (The new restaurant, Aixois Brasserie, at 10th and Walnut is still waiting on a liquor license).
"Since Bastille day is a very festive holiday in France, we'll be serving our versions of fair food. This is also the weekend of the Crestwood sidewalk sale," says co-owner Megan Langlade, "so there will be a lot to do and see. And if the weather isn't too beastly hot, we'll have petanque competitions outside. The restaurant will also be decorated." Langlade says reservations are encouraged.
Reservations are an absolute must for the three-day Bastille Day festivities at Le Fou Frog (400 East 5th Street, 816-474-6060) says co-owner Barbara Raphael, who operates the iconic French bistro with her husband, chef Mano Raphael. The restaurant will be open each night from 5 p.m. to midnight, offering live entertainment all three nights, with Bongotini headlining Friday night's festivities. The five-member band will perform French pop hits, i nternational space age jazz and cool beatnik-inspired lounge music; the "Le Fou Frog Follies" will return on Saturday, July 14th, with acts inspired by various epochs in history, including the Renaissance, La Belle Epoque and the vivacious 1920s. That night there will be seven seating times, with early seatings at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. and later seatings at 8, 9 and 9:30 p.m.
Sunday's featured performing artists will be the Coleen Cassidy Jazz Trio; dinner will be served only from 5 to 9 p.m. The regular dinner menu will be available all three nights.