The original Hannah Bistro location is now a fast-food burrito joint. The Lee's Summit venue closed. And last year, Quillec turned Café Paris into a Hannah Bistro. But business never picked up, Quillec says, after anti-French sentiment erupted after the start of the war in Iraq.
"Café Paris had a 60 percent dip in sales," Quillec says. "I should have closed the restaurant then, but I decided to turn it into another Hannah Bistro. And business definitely picked up, but never to the level of the days before Americans turned against the French."
A bigger problem, perhaps, was the size of the Overland Park location. At 5,000 square feet, the venue formerly known as Café Paris was twice the size of the original Hannah Bistro on 39th Street. "It was really too big for me," Quillec says.
Last weekend, Quillec closed the Overland Park Hannah Bistro. That leaves his smallest operation, the 50-seat Café Provence, as his only restaurant. The native of Brittany now realizes that smaller is better and is searching for a location for a petite Hannah Bistro. He told me he's been looking at a spot in Westport.
Could he have his eye on the corner storefront briefly occupied by the boring Moe's Southwest Grill (435 Westport Road)? Quillec isn't saying, but it is a highly visible location.
On that same stretch of Westport Road, another local restaurateur known for his excellent French cuisine is selling, inexplicably, subway-style sandwiches. Tatsuya Arai, the chef-owner of Tatsu's French Restaurant in Prairie Village, opened KC Toaster's Sandwich Café at 419 Westport Road a few months ago.
The place is stylish and spotless, but the sandwiches served on warm, crusty rolls couldn't be more ordinaire: ham and Swiss, meatball and provolone, chicken salad. I did, however, have one of the best bowls of chicken noodle soup there last week. The noodles were thick and doughy, the broth was flavored with lime and cilantro, and there was lots of roasted chicken.
And served in a real china bowl ... just like Paris.