Here’s a round-up of Kansas City restaurant news for December 2021, including an exciting new lounge in the basement of the Hotel Kansas City and three big announcements in Westport, headlined by a thirteen-square-foot megaclub and a successor to the beloved Joe’s Pizza window.
The Hotel Kansas City, in the century-old former city club building on Baltimore, has quickly established itself as a dining destination with Town Company, One of the cities most admired new restaurants. (Our December issue has a feature on the best new restaurants to open in the city since the Covid lockdown—you’ll be hearing more about Town Company there.)
Now, Night Hawk, the hotel’s long-awaited basement bar is finally open—it’s got what has to be the coolest DJ booth in KC plus its own house brand canned seltzers called “Night Claw.”
There’s a small but fun food menu from Town Company chef Johnny Leach that includes absurdly delicious fried bologna sliders and smoked pickled eggs. We swung by a media preview Saturday night to get a feel for the place—expect to hear a lot more about it, from us and others.
Speaking of ambitious new bars, Westport is about to get a thirteen-thousand-square-foot nightspot called the Fountain Haus that will “add a new option to the area’s already vibrant LGBTQIA nightlife scene.”
The club is a “multi-level, multi-experience and multi-concept entertainment venue” in the former Hopcat that will have four unique spaces: The Pump Room, The Cube, the rooftop Pool Deck, and The Siren Speakeasy. “Each area offers a distinct vibe through design and programming,” says a press release about the project.
Fountain Haus has plans to do brunch.
Along with big changes to Westport—more on that below—this is also a season of change at Crown Center.
Zaina is moving from a downtown space to the first level of the shopping center, near Burnt End BBQ. They will continue to serve Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Greek cuisines.
Spokes Café & Cyclery will open its third Kansas City location on the lobby level of the 2460 Pershing office building in the Crown Center Complex.
The bike-themed cafe does a breakfast and lunch menu, including coffee, pastries, breakfast burritos and the like. The space will have outdoor seating overlooking Crown Center Square.
One After 303
The owner of Westport’s Bistro 303, a popular gay cafe and nightspot, is opening what a press release describes as an “eclectic new restaurant [that] offers diverse cuisine from a variety of ethnical cultures” next door.
The Peacock will be in the original Ragazza spot at 301 Westport Road. It’s a tiny space, just eight hundred square feet, and will seat just forty-eight people. The idea is to have a “playfully sophisticated space” say owners Jeffrey Schmitz and Gene Switzer, who run Bistro 303 next door.
Chef Brian Mehl created The Peacock menu “with diversity in mind.” Mehl was the original chef at Plate in Brookside and had previously been at Pressed Penny Tavern in Westport and The Classic Cup Cafe on the Country Club Plaza. The expansive menu has Thai, African and Middle Eastern influences.
Guys and Joes
Beloved Westport pizza-by-the-slice seller Joe’s closed abruptly after Halloween, but it didn’t take long for a new concept to take over. Local snack chip company Guy’s Snacks will take over the windows inside Kelly’s Westport Inn and facing Pennsylvania Avenue. Guy’s promises to bring back the pizza, made with the same recipe while adding deli sandwiches. The new name is Guy’s Deli at Kelly’s.
Guy’s was not immediately available for further comment, but this is no doubt welcome news to Westport bargoers, who always counted on Joe’s to sop up the booze at the end of the night, saving perhaps hundreds of thousands of nasty hangovers. Guy’s is based in Overland Park and distributes across the Midwest. Among their unique offerings are bagged chips seasoned with the blend you find on the fries at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.
Kansas City’s Stockyards Brewing Co. is set to open an offshoot in Overland Park, the Shawnee Mission Post reports.
The Overland Park Planning Commission voted to approve a special use permit for a brewery near 103rd Street and U.S. 69 Highway, in a complex that houses Skate City roller rink.
It’s a massive twenty-five-thousand-square-foot space that will have not only a brewery and taproom but also a full kitchen and patio.
Bell of the Ball
A holiday pop-up bar is coming to Midtown this December, thanks to Canary. And it’s not going to be your typical Christmas pop-up. “We want people to have a holiday experience at Canary,” says owner, Keely Edgington. “It’ll be like if your cool aunt who lives in Hyde Park with her partner of thirty years hosted the holidays at her place.”
Silver Bell Supper Club will be outfitted with garlands, snowflakes and paper ornaments in lieu of more gaudy decorations traditionally found in Christmas pop-up bars. Edgington wants an atmosphere that is “warm and bright.” The pop-up menu will feature eight new drinks, including an espresso martini called No Sleep ’til Christmas, made with vanilla and coffee liquors, vodka and oat milk.
The last big post-pandemic reopening we expect to see in the city happened in mid-November. Lazia, the stellar Italian spot in the Crossroads Hotel, is back with a godfather’s vengeance. With travel still stunted, hotel restaurants have been slow to return. Lazia, which retooled its menu and dining room during the break, took a little longer than others.
The menu is, as a staff member described it, “a lotta bit different,” with a cocktail menu that makes great use of amaro and a wood-fired oven in the lobby that produces some great pizzas. They’re also doing tableside mozzarella.