4141 Pennsylvania, 816-216-6462 | portfondakc.com
Patrick Ryan, who trained under several excellent chefs in Chicago during his six-year residency in the Windy City, was considered a creative wunderkind long before the 37-year-old Overland Park native stepped out from his popular food truck and opened the wildly successful Port Fonda restaurant in June. It was a bold move. There are few jobs more difficult than chef-owner, and Ryan isn't just wearing two hats but about a dozen as he juggles all of the hiring responsibilities, bills, marketing and finances, in addition to working one of the fastest-paced kitchen lines in the city. Ryan says the extra duties haven't stifled his creativity but have fired them up. In September, he was itching to start working on the venue's fall menu (to be introduced in mid-October). "Every day I wake up with ideas for new things to try," he says. Has success gone to his head? "When your ass is on the line every day," he says, "who in the hell has time for that?"