Out & About

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My last lunch at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Chef Howard Hanna, left, recently named as a James Beard Award semifinalist -- his first nomination -- and Ryan Maybee will stop serving lunch at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange on Friday. On Monday, the venue begins a new happy-hour program with food and drink specials.
  • Chef Howard Hanna, left, recently named as a James Beard Award semifinalist -- his first nomination -- and Ryan Maybee will stop serving lunch at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange on Friday. On Monday, the venue begins a new happy-hour program with food and drink specials.


After three years of serving lunch and dinner at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, at 1924 Main, the restaurant's owners and manager decided to stop lunch service; Friday, February 28, will be the last day of lunch service in the popular downtown bistro.

"it was a very bittersweet decision," Ryan Maybee says.

"It was a decision we didn't want to make," chef Howard Hanna says, "but frankly, we felt we had lost money on lunch beginning the first year."

But the timing was right for making a change: Two of Hanna's daytime kitchen staff, including Marcus McCreary (who is moving to Austin, Texas) gave their notice, and the Rieger officially kicks off its new happy-hour menu on Monday, March 3. Hanna says there was no connection between ending lunch at the Rieger and the Friday-night opening of his newest project, Ça Va, a champagne bar in Westport.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Gillis founder Todd Schulte sells Columbus Park venue

Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Todd Schulte, behind the bar, will focus on his West Bottoms venue, Genessee Royale, since the sale of Happy Gillis Cafe & Hangout. - ASHFORD STAMPER
  • Ashford Stamper
  • Todd Schulte, behind the bar, will focus on his West Bottoms venue, Genessee Royale, since the sale of Happy Gillis Cafe & Hangout.

On a frigid morning, Todd Schulte all but pushes me out of the Genessee Royale's warm dining room. Schulte's West Bottoms bistro is at 1531 Genessee, but he keeps an office on the sixth floor of the Livestock Exchange Building across the street. That's where he insists we talk.

"I can't get anything done in the restaurant," he explains. "People keep asking me about Happy Gillis, and it takes 20 minutes to explain everything."

Here's the short version: Schulte, who opened a breakfast-and-lunch venue called the Happy Gillis Café & Hangout in 2008, recently sold the Columbus Park operation to chef Josh Eans, who plans to keep the name and move with his family to the apartment above the restaurant.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mi Antojo is the new empanada shop in Kansas City, Kansas

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Light, flaky empanadas, featuring a variety of fillings, are the signature dish at Mi Antojo in Kansas City, Kansas. - ASHFORD STAMPER
  • Ashford Stamper
  • Light, flaky empanadas, featuring a variety of fillings, are the signature dish at Mi Antojo in Kansas City, Kansas.


Mirelly Cevallos, a native of Pachuca, Mexico, moved to the Kansas City area 13 years ago but missed the distinctive empanadas of her homeland. In  September, Cevallos opened Mi Antojo Pastes and Empanadas at 7551 State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

The storefront restaurant offers a variety of empanadas - single-serving turnover-style pastries with both sweet and savory fillings - both traditional and "premium" versions. (The latter list includes a mole verde chicken empanada and an Italiano version filled with Italian sausage, potato and peppers.) Cevallos also serves three different soups each day (the sopa de fideo was delicious) as well as fruit smoothies and several dessert empanadas.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shatto's Candy Corn Milk is like a bowl of candy milk

Posted By on Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Trick or Treat? You can now decide on Shattos Candy Corn Milk.
  • Trick or Treat? You can now decide on Shatto's Candy Corn Milk.
Shatto's Candy Corn milk - the Osborn dairy's final limited release flavor - hit shelves yesterday. And the faintly orange milk is what I imagine it would be like to drink milk from the bottom of the candy bowl. Shatto has released seven limited edition flavors [birthday cake, blueberry, chocolate cherry, mint chocolate, cookies and cream and apple pie] in honor of its 10th anniversary this year.

The candy corn milk had echoes of the birthday cake milk (the previous release) in that both shared the sweetness profile of the cupcakes in a grocery store bakery. Ultimately this is Halloween in milk form, in as much as Shatto's pumpkin spice eggnog is a taste of fall. With seven new flavors in the books, which should Shatto bring back for years to come?

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tasting Arrowhead's new, Philly-homage Chiefsteak

Posted By on Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM

This is a meat battleship.
  • This is a meat battleship.
"What. Is. That?" asked the first man I walked by on the concourse Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

He pointed at the comically large cardboard box I was balancing. Inside the box was a footlong bun loaded down with smoked brisket, primary-colored swatches of cheese and bell peppers, and a burping river of barbecue sauce: the Kansas City Chiefsteak.

The stadium has introduced its newest sandwich in homage to Andy Reid, the mustachioed head coach whose most recent previous job was in the city of angioplasty. (Philadelphia has not officially adopted this slogan. Yet.)

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taqueria El Torito: Terrific street tacos that are really, really cheap

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Simple, but utterly satisfying tacos from Taquerias El Torito are inexpensive enough that you can really indulge yourself.
  • Ashford Stamper
  • Simple, but utterly satisfying tacos from Taqueria El Torito are inexpensive enough that you can really indulge yourself.


The newly opened suburban taqueria, Taco Republic, at 500 County Line Road in Kansas City, Kansas, has been wildly busy since it opened last week. On Sunday night, well after 8 p.m., there was still a large group of people waiting for a table to sample the "street tacos" at the new Bread & Butter Concepts restaurant (the company that brought you Urban Table and BRGR).

For hungry customers who don't want to wait for a table to open on the West Side of the metro, there's always the spiffy Taqueria El Torito over on the East Side - at 6126 Independence Avenue and located in a former Burger King - which is owned by the family that operates the popular grocery and carniceria next door, the Torito III market.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Basha Mediterranean Cuisine adds new dishes - and music

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Chicken biryani, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger has been added to the Basha menu.
  • Chicken biryani, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, has been added to the Basha menu.


Although their Overland Park restaurant, The Basha Mediterranean Cuisine at 7016 West 105th Street, is only six months old, restaurateurs Mohammed Mosley and Nader Shehata are starting to make a few changes. But getting a liquor license is not one of them.

Customers have asked when Mosley and Shehata are going to start serving wine or beer with their mixed grill platter, lamb chops or delicious vegetarian dishes. The answer: Never.

"Alcohol is prohibited by our religious custom," Mosley says. "But our customers really don't seem to mind. We're surrounded by bars here. If our patrons want a cocktail, they can go next door before or after dinner."

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Shatto Birthday Cake Milk is a drinkable cupcake

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Its cake without the candles.
  • It's cake without the candles.
I have dipped my finger in a can of frosting. And now I know what it is like to have that frosting blended up for me and poured into a glass. Shatto's Birthday Cake milk, the sixth release this year marking the dairy's 10th anniversary, tastes like a drinkable cupcake or the ice-cream soup left at the bottom of a cup of Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake Remix.

The dairy in Osborn, Missouri, released five previous flavors: blueberry (last month), chocolate cherry, mint chocolate, cookies and cream and apple pie. The latest flavor was created as part of a benefit for the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City (each bottle comes with a hang tag encouraging milk drinkers to donate). The sentiment is sweet - the milk is sweeter - but birthday cake milk is ultimately not my cup of frosting. Does this milk make you want to celebrate?


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rolling up on corn flatbread with Eat Arepas

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM

The pork and veggie arepa from Eat Arepas.
  • The pork and veggie arepa from Eat Arepas.
You ring the bell and people start salivating," the man says. In the parking lot of the Environmental Protection Agency's Lenexa offices, his Pavlovian trigger has arrived. He steps up to the food truck's window, ready for some Eat Arepas.

As the truck's generator hums and the crowd grows to a dozen people, the flatbreads are getting loaded up: pulled pork, chicken, chorizo. There's a sweet mix of creamy peanut butter, Nutella and banana. Everything but the dessert arepa gets a generous pat of butter and melted muenster cheese on top.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Uberdine: artistry on a plate

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Big plate, tiny portion was the story at Fridays Uberdine, including this deconstructed ratatouille.
  • Big plate, tiny portion, serious satisfaction: the story at Friday's Uberdine, including this deconstructed "ratatouille."

There were 10 courses - tasting-sized offerings - served last Friday night at Uberdine, the one-night-only pop-up restaurant experiment by local chef Joe Shirley and his wife, Carolina. Each course was delicate, dainty and, on those big serving plates, almost starkly beautiful.

No one seemed to mind the petite portions. Chef Shirley's vivid sense of invention was on full display in the Roasterie's Bean Hangar event space. He also incorporated many of the Roasterie products into his dishes, including its coffee barbecue rub and sauce in an elegant variation on sauteed trout. And for all of his creations' studied artfulness, taken as a whole, the meal was completely satisfying.

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