What’s new in Kansas City food and drink for March 2023

Ombra's owners/Photography by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden.
Bay Bros

For the next four months, Chingu Coffee Co. and Bay Boy sandwiches are doing a pop-up inside a historic former school on 39th Street. The pop-up at Plexpod Westport Commons (300 E 39th St., KCMO) is a temporary home for the new collaboration as they build out a future shared space in the West Plaza.

Chingu’s coffee menu features both pour-overs and espresso drinks with house-made syrups. They will also do some pastries. Bay Boy is offering a shortened version of their menu. 

“Like many coffee shops in KC, we are roasting everything ourselves,” says Keeyoung Kim of Chingu. “We carefully curate our coffee menu with beans from all over the world with our friends at Anthem Coffee Imports. We have house-made syrups that you typically see around town, but we also plan to infuse some fun Korean flavors into our syrups. We are baking all of our pastries in-house, including classic pastries like homemade blueberry muffins, but we also plan to do some fun takes on classics like scones with kimchi, bacon, gruyere and scallions.”

Pickle Recipe

Watch out, Chicken N Pickle: Serv, an entertainment venue with a special focus on pickleball, is now open in Overland Park (9051 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park). A large outdoor courtyard features a bar, seven food vendors and eight pickleball courts. While pickleball is the sport of choice for the communal space, customers can indulge in food and drink without committing to play.

Located at 91st and Metcalf, Serv offers a variety of food options, from health-focused eats to street food favorites. Six pickleball courts are indoor and climate-controlled while the two outdoor courts have riser seating. Court reservations can be made online. Pickleball equipment can be rented, and lessons and classes are available for those looking to gain more expertise.

Yard games and two large video boards are there to keep up the entertainment between family and friends, with the option for private events.

Voo Did
Provided by Voo Lounge.

The cocktail lounge in the Mariott’s Muehlebach Hotel has lain dormant since the early eighties. Now, it’s finally been restored under new ownership, resulting in the swanky Voo Lounge (1214 Baltimore Ave., KCMO), which opened to the public on February 10.

The hotel originally opened in 1915, and while the restoration of the lounge brought the space back to life, it still resembles the Prohibition era with its dim lighting, emerald green velvet chairs and deep mahogany wood and gold accents. 

Customers can enjoy a craft cocktail menu curated by general manager Allison Korn, who previously created the cocktail menus for Char Bar, Meat Mitch, Port Fonda and more. Her menu for Voo consists of riffs on classics. For example, the popular Bee’s Knees cocktail is infused with saffron, and a matcha sour is topped with a toasted orange blossom meringue. The food menu is full of small bites like Cajun deviled eggs, fig and pancetta flatbread, and homemade dips. 

Entertainment will be provided each evening by Will O’Keefe, a vocalist and master piano player who has been playing in local piano bars for the past decade.

On Board

Husband and wife duo Sarah Nelson and Louis Guerrieri spent years cutting their teeth in the Denver food scene before moving to Kansas City. Both have years of expertise behind them:  Louis’ background is in sushi and butchery while Sarah specializes in pastry. When they moved back to Kansas City, both worked at the Golden Ox, and Louis helped open Fox and Pearl. The couple is now running Ombra (4161 N. Mulberry Dr., KCMO), which opened late last year in The Village at Briarcliff. It focuses on globally influenced small plates and tapas.

The name is a nod to the Italian phrase “dame un’ombra,” a common saying that means “let’s have some wine.” The wine and cocktail menus are diverse and will change as frequently as the food menu. Dishes are meant to be shared and explored among fellow company. Customers can expect flavors from around the world, from Taiwanese dishes to Northern European staples. 

The special nose-to-tail butcher program will showcase the traditional charcuterie board in a different way than Kansas City is used to. “Instead of doing a charcuterie board where it’s the very predictable prosciutto and salami, we’re making lamb bacon, sausages, terrines and pâtes,” Sarah says. “We’re trying to expand people’s idea of what a charcuterie board can be.”

Pasta La Vista

The owners of Mi Ranchito Mexican Restaurant have opened a new Italian concept at The Fountains Shopping Center in Overland Park, The Kansas City Star reports.

Nico & Ana’s Italian Street Food (6541 W. 119th St., Overland Park) is named for the late parents of owner Armando Dela Torre. The menu is classic Italian with lasagna, carbonara, linguine and fried calamari. 

The Tea

Kansas City has no shortage of serious coffee shops, but tea has lagged a bit. Savoy Tea Co. of Arkansas is filling that niche with two shops in KC, including a new Crossroads location to go with their shop at Lenexa City Center. The new Savoy held its grand opening in late January and is now pouring a hundred and forty different loose leaf teas, including a sought-after pu’er that’s been aged for twenty-five years. The shop is run by a master tea blender, the industry equivalent of a master sommelier.

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