Here’s what’s happening in Kansas City restaurant news for January 2022, including a new Southern-style pop-up in the Crossroads’ former Nara building and more changes to Westport’s city-best drunk food options.
A successful pop-up in the Crossroads is hoping to settle down in the space. Lula is a Southern-style supper house named for chef-owner Bradley Gilmore’s grandmother in the former Nara space at 1617 Main Street. Gilmore has had a long career in KC and is probably best known as the opening chef at Gram & Dun, where he had a five-year run. The pop-up is classic southern cuisine, including a Brunswick stew made with pheasant and rabbit and brown sugar-brined fried chicken. Gilmore has been in catering, including doing food for the Miracle holiday pop-up on the second floor of his space. Both the building owner and he were looking to establish “proof of concept” for Lula in the space, he says and things have gone “really well.” If Lula ends up with a lease in the space, look for low-country boils out front and a southern-style brunch with grits a plenty.
Raising the Steak
One of Kansas City’s best-loved beef growers is looking to open a restaurant in Parkville. KC Cattle Company is a veteran-owned ranch that grows wagyu cattle outside Weston. They’ve won praise for their all-beef hotdogs, which were named the best in the country in a blind taste test, and have been featured in Kansas City magazine previously. For Christmas, the KC Cattle Co. crew decided to do a pop-up steak sale in Parkville—with their eyes on a restaurant down the street. “Originally we looked to keep our headquarters in Weston, but with the way shipping hubs are set up in KC we get better shipping times being closer to the city/airport, which is crucial when shipping a perishable product,” says co-owner Patrick Montgomery. “It has been awesome—feels really good to have a physical location closer to the city!” The restaurant plans are still “up in the air,” Mongomery says, but will likely be BBQ or American cuisine. “We have plans for a really cool rooftop area,” he says. “We want the atmosphere to be accommodating to families and professionals to grab a drink or grub.” The goal is to open in late 2022 or early 2023 and the plan will also entail “purchasing a LOT more cattle in Weston.”
Legendary Pigs and Bigger Biscuits
There are a few quick updates on restaurants we’ve reported on in the past. The new Jousting Pigs location in Legends has officially opened, taking over the former Arthur Bryant’s Space (1702 Village West Parkway, KCK). Meanwhile, in Mission, there’s a new tenant of the former Don Chilito’s Mexican Restaurant, which had been open for more than fifty years before closing this fall. Second-generation owner Barry Cowden, an outspoken opponent of mask mandates, has retired to his farm west of Tonganoxie. The six-thousand square foot space (7017 Johnson Drive, Mission) will now be another Big Biscuit as the Prairie Village-based brunch chain eyes an early summer opening. Cowden told Kansas City Star reporter Joyce Smith that he’s publishing a cookbook called Don Chilito’s Secret Recipes including its famous chili con queso dip. If you’re looking for Mexican food in that neighborhood, there is a new option: Al Chile Taco Shop opened at 11200 Johnson Drive in Shawnee. The menu indicates that Al Chile falls in between the very Americanized Don Chalitos recipes and more authentic taco shops in KCK, featuring asada street tacos on one side but lots of queso and a vegan hamburger on the other.
It seems like every month brings new announcements about the fast-changing Westport neighborhood. This month, it’s lots of new fried food from Chick-in Waffle (429 Westport Road, KCMO) and Westport Fish & Chips (431 Westport Road, KCMO) which have recently opened in the neighborhood, joining the Guy’s Chips takeover of the old Joe’s Pizza and the new Taco Bell Cantina in what many are calling “the new golden age of Westport drunk food.”