KC Bakery Wins James Beard Award
When Yoli Tortilleria owner Marissa Gencarelli took the stage in Chicago to accept the award from chef and TV personality Carla Hall, she thanked the James Beard organization and Kansas City community for “helping [her and her husband] honor the very humble tortilla.”
The stoneground non-GMO corn tortillas and Sonoran-style flour tortillas are products inspired by Gencarelli’s roots in Sonora, Mexico. She and her husband started selling their tortillas at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market in 2018. A few years later, in 2020, they opened their brick-and-mortar shop.
While you can still find their tortillas at the farmers market, restaurants and grocery stores across the metro, it’s not the only product the Gencarellis excel at. Their quaint shop constantly rotates with seasonal delights like horchatas, breakfast burritos, paletas, blue corn tamales and salsas.
Popular Thai Noodle Shop Opens Third Location in Overland Park
Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop has been a KC staple, serving hungry crowds for the past twenty years. With two locations already in Westwood and the Crossroads, the beloved restaurant officially opened a third spot in Overland Park (7921 Sante Fe Drive, Overland Park) next to the city’s nationally recognized farmers market.
The new restaurant features a full-service bar and shaded outdoor patio. It’s fashioned similarly to its flagship Crossroads restaurant with fountains, murals and art from Thailand.
“Our intent when designing our restaurants is to provide guests with a special feeling at each space, as if they are walking through different streets in Thailand at every restaurant,” owner Malisa Monyakula says.
The Overland Park restaurant will serve the same Thai street food classics as the other Lulu’s outposts, including Thai hot wings, Thai cashew chicken, massaman curry and khun ma pad thai. However, unlike the other two restaurants, this one will offer a revamped Thai-inspired cocktail menu like a noir sour and Thai tini.
KC’s Betty Rae’s Changes Ownership Again
Even though it’s only been a few years since Alec Rodgers scooped up the wildly popular Betty Rae’s Ice Cream shop, he is officially handing the reins over to Shatto Milk Company vice president Matt Shatto.
The sale to Shatto includes Betty Rae’s two KC locations in Waldo and The River Market, along with the ice cream truck. Shatto doesn’t plan to change Betty Rae’s signature ice cream lineup but does have plans to expand the brand’s physical locations, along with making the ice cream available at some grocers and getting the much-loved ice cream truck out at more corporate, family and neighborhood events.
Rodgers took over after previous owner David Friesen left the company under a cloud of controversy. According to the recent press release, Rodgers always “planned for a sale after realigning and recommitting the Betty Rae’s brand to its core of high-quality ice cream and a respected local brand.”
A Full-Service Butcher Shop and Bistro Opens in Overland Park
Kansas City native Mike Gregg and wife Phyllis Gregg have taken their first step into the restaurant world with McGregor’s Butcher and Bistro (11300 W. 135th St., Overland Park). The establishment has a butcher shop on one side and a fine dining bistro and bar on the other.
Chef Erik Fernandez, who has helped open restaurants for Yard House all over the country, created a French-inspired menu reminiscent of a traditional steakhouse. Starters include Scotch eggs, oysters and roasted bone marrow while classic entrees of seared scallops, fresh pastas and grilled king salmon are also available.
Along with an extensive selection of fine steak entrees, a steak flight is offered that includes a four-ounce house filet, four-ounce strip and a four-ounce Akaushi (Wagyu) ribeye.
The dining room seats up to seventy-five and the bar seats thirty.
The butcher shop gets its goods from Fortune Fish and Arrowhead Specialty Meats. There’s also a small market with imported and local goods.
If you order the steak flight, you’ll see the option to add a Highland Scotch Whiskey to your meal. Gregg was inspired by his Scottish heritage, which he has traced back to 840 AD. The McGregor clan were cattlemen and a “rowdy bunch,” according to Gregg. Around the year 1600, it was punishable by death to bear the McGregor name. The McGregors fled their country and “that’s how my bloodline got to the states,” Gregg says. “They changed their name and that’s why my name is Gregg. In some small silly way, I’m giving the name back.”
Bamboo Penny’s Owners Plan to Open a Seafood Spot
Husband and wife team chef Penny and Doug Mufuka have created a name for themselves with their beloved Thai restaurant Bamboo Penny’s. Backed by that success, the duo now has set their sights on a new seafood restaurant, Aqua Penny’s.
Aqua Penny’s is expected to open in October at the old Gordon Biersch location on the corner of Ash and 117th streets in Leawood. According to the press release, the seafood house will “be committed to impeccably sourced, sustainability-conscious, creatively prepared seafood and much more.”
The menu will change seasonally and offer shareable items along with seafood classics. A large full-service raw and oyster bar will sling seafood towers, fresh oysters on the half shell, lobster deviled eggs, steamed king crab legs, lobster po’ boys, steaks and more.
An extensive drink menu will include wine and champagne flights, house-made infused spirits and craft cocktails.
The Mufukas are opening Aqua Penny’s with development specialist Michael Werner. The restaurant will undergo a one million dollar transformation, with the inclusion of a wraparound outdoor lounge seating more than one hundred guests.