King G, an upscale beer bar and deli-influenced restaurant, is coming to the brewery-dense Crossroads neighborhood in July. The new project gets its title from Gambrinus, a name you know if you’ve spent any time in the world of European beer, and comes from industry veterans Eric Flanagan (Westport Ale House, Bridger’s Bottle Shop) and Howard Hanna (The Rieger, Ça Va) will have a horseshoe-shaped bar upstairs and an intimate basement space that, with luck, may grow into the type of scene the Rieger’s lower level was known for. Hanna is making sandwiches using local meats and bread from the excellent new Blackhole Bakery on Troost. Among the sandos on standby are muffuletta, a Japanese-style egg salad sandwich and an eggplant and artichoke sandwich with Lebanese garlic sauce, deviled egg potato salad, and burrata plus oils and spices. The spot will also have natural wine and what they’re billing as “unpretentious” cocktails.
Also incoming to the Crossroads: Society, which bills itself as an “art-driven restaurant, bar and event space with a sophisticated edge.” Society takes over the former Jacobson’s space, and is richly decorated with pieces from local artists and makers. Society’s majority owner Scott Mars told CityScene that the space would be a “higher-end alternative to the Power & Light District.” He sees the space, which will tune TVs that normally show art installations to sports for big games, as “cutting edge.”
One of the surest signs yet that the pandemic is waning: BKS Brewing has reopened its patio. The Brookside brewery, one of the best and most popular in town, is known for its hazy IPAs. BKS always had limited hours, but fully shuttered its tiny taproom at the start of the pandemic and has been selling four packs of cans to go since—the weekly allotment of cans sold out online in approximately five minutes. In mid-May, BKS finally welcomed drinkers back to the front patio for a Saturday afternoon session from 1 to 7 pm. Alma Mader on Southwest Boulevard, another of the city’s best breweries, has done the same.
Also back in a big way? Brunch. Two hip morning chains, Snooze and The Shack, are both expanding across the south side of the city. Denver-based Snooze has locations in eight states, now including Kansas where they opened last month in Overland Park. (A location in Westport opened just before the pandemic hit.) Meanwhile, St. Louis-based The Shack has opened in the former Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar in Lee’s Summit—having already set up shop in three places in JoCo.
Also returning late last month after a corona closure is Poi-O, which has moved from the Westside neighborhood to KCK and undergone a branding tweak from “wood-fired grill” to “Mexican BBQ.” As reported by The Pitch, the new location was formerly a Subway sandwich shop and still has its drive-thru window, though the sleek black building with a modern wood fence is otherwise unrecognizable. Chef Carlos Mortera told The Pitch the menu will specialize in wood fire-roasted chickens served with the traditional array of fresh tortillas, salsas and escabeche, but the menu has expanded into ribs marinated in adobo, kimchi fried rice, charred broccoli and an elote-style cheesy corn bake.
One thing that sadly won’t be returning is Kaldi’s Coffeehouse. The St. Louis roaster pulled out of KC after the pandemic, taking its delicious gooey butter cake with it. However, its two spots on the Plaza aren’t sitting fallow, as Messenger Coffee opened in both on May 12, serving its coffee and baked goods from Ibis.