Post-pandemic restaurant and bar openings in Kansas City continue with an incoming rival to Hawaiian Bros and a new rooftop Tiki bar in Johnson County.
Hawaiian Bros is about to get some stiff competition. The local chain, founded by two brothers who moved from Oregon to open their own version of their family’s plate lunch business, has expanded rapidly across KC. Now, a chain from Utah is looking for a slice of the spam: Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food has twenty-two locations in Utah and Idaho, and it’s opening at least four spots in KC, according to the Star, including northern Overland park and Olathe. The menu is a little smaller and less spicy than the Bros menu and includes some different items, like teriyaki steak and fried chicken. Everything comes with rice and mac salad, natch.
Speaking of island vibes: There’s a new Tiki-influenced bar at Park Place in Leawood. Bamboo Room is the rooftop bar from the also-newish Thai restaurant Bamboo Pennys. There’s “private elevator service” (ooh la la) to the top, where you’ll find a retractable rooftop. There’s a small menu of snacky stuff (think shrimp in a blanket), plus a cocktail menu that’s exclusive to the space and is headlined by the Beached Butterfly made with house-infused butterfly pea-flower tea, rum, melon liqueur, lemonade, and lime and pineapple juice—it changes colors. There’s also the Rapa Nui made with Bacardi banana rum, dark rum, orange juice and coconut milk.
Home from the Range
On the subject of inbound businesses: Brookside is now home to a new branch of Wichita-born HomeGrown Kitchen (338 W 63rd St., KCMO). HomeGrown, best known for its “pop tartlets,” puts a focus on “local” goods that come from within six hundred miles of the restaurant (Lansing and Denver are within this range; Baton Rouge and Austin are just outside). “It’s important to our entire team that we enjoy what we do, and part of that comes with working on a brand that has soul and purpose,” the owner told Feast magazine. “Local partnerships are who we are and it’s served us well.”
The Rieger distillery has built its brand by mining long-forgotten local history, and they’re going for broke with their new patio, which is being dubbed Electric Park Garden Bar (2700 Guinotte Ave., KCMO). Electric Park was the name for a succession of amusement parks run by the city’s pre-Prohibition Austrian lager brewery, which prominently featured its beer gardens. Electric Park is today best remembered as Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland. The distillery is using the branding for its eleven-thousand-square-foot patio space, which includes both an outdoor area and an enclosed atrium. The space will have fire pits, an adult swing set, boozy snow cones, cocktail floats and other Peak Millennial faves.
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Top food halls always have someone coming and someone going, and at Parlor in the Crossroads, there continues to be a healthy amount of churn. Among the newcomers is KC Mac & Co., which built its entire menu around its own version of macaroni and cheese, a recipe the owner has been developing since 2017. “We’re turning a classic side dish into a premium entree,” the owner told IN. “You will leave full. The mac is a focal point of our concept.”