Spring is bringing new foliage and new food—specifically, ice cream, beer and tacos. From State Line to Raytown and back to 39th Street, here’s the latest in KC eats.
Coming in Cold
The best-kept secret in Westwood Hills is ready for prime time. In a town where proper gelato is scarce, Sheri Weedman started making it at Annedore’s Fine Chocolates, her shop on State Line Road in the plaza north of Hi Hat Coffee.
During the pandemic, word spread through the neighborhood about Annadore’s gelato, which Weedman, with some reluctance, admits to making in a “very fancy Italian batch freezer” and to Italian specifications on milk fat percentage. Weedman kept it on the down-low because she was worried demand would swap her shop. Demand for gelato and ice cream seemed to grow during the pandemic when people were looking to get out of the house but not into a restaurant.
“They would get out, they would walk to my store, get a scoop and go,” she says.
Still, “I couldn’t do it the way I wanted to do it within the space of the chocolate shop.”
Things changed when Annedore’s moved its chocolate production to a space in downtown Shawnee, where you can also expect a small retail operation in the future. That opened space for the new Flying Cow Gelato—a name Weedman picked because “it’s a frozen dessert and it’s supposed to be fun. We don’t want people thinking it’s super serious.”
Look for flavors making use of Annadore’s caramel, marshmallow, toffee and fudge. “To do gelato correctly, it has to be made fresh, and we’re stepping to the plate and making it fresh each day,” Weedman says. “We’re doing eighteen different flavors. There will be a confectionary twist on it for sure.”
Crane Brewing in Raytown has been famous for its sour beers since opening. For most of that time, it’s been a destination: Raytown is not dense with gose-lovers, and it’s not a place where people often find themselves running errands. They’ve lately been rethinking that, especially in light of the opening of the Rock Island Trail, a bike and hike trail that slices across the east side of Jackson County and has a trailhead in the brewery’s parking lot.
“The trail has helped a lot with bringing in new visitors, and a lot of them are either not as familiar with as many beer styles or are fairly new to craft beer in general,” says co-owner Chris Myers. “[Sours] won’t change as being a passion of ours, but of all beer consumed, local craft beer is only a portion still, and of that, sour beers are an even smaller portion. We want to make sure we are producing the best options for everyone.”
In an effort to have more “gateway” beers available, Crane has some new year-round beers: Migration Patterns IPA and a smooth-drinking corn lager called Odd Bird.
Speaking of pivots, a well-known taco shop on West 39th Street has changed hands and undergone a rebrand directed by some of the city’s top creatives.
The Wade Brothers are KC-based photographers and directors who honcho creative campaigns for brands like Nike, Oakley and Gatorade. (You know those hotels.com commercials with the Captain Obvious mascot? That’s them.)
Lindsey Wade, one of the two brothers, was laid up following surgery on a shoulder he injured while surfing when he started Googling businesses for sale. Lindsey, his brother Lyndon Wade and his mother Judy Rush are “serial entrepreneurs,” always looking for something to put their stamp on (Paradise Garden Club? That’s them, too.). Lindsey discovered that neighborhood favorite Tiki Taco (1710 W. 39th St., KCMO) was for sale, offering the right opportunity.
“I thought to myself, that little place is tiny but it’s always packed,” says Lindsey. “We’ve changed everything, but we haven’t really changed anything.”
“We love creative projects, we love building community,” Lyndon says. “We wanted to keep it a fun place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It should be reasonably priced and good. It’s our mission to just have fun at it.”
“It’s such a happy place,” Judy says. “How can you be in a bad mood when you go into Tiki Taco?”
The old Tiki Taco was a “tequila shot in a plastic thimble,” kind of place. The new one has a bar program built around fresh fruit-blended drinks that Lindsey got help with from a friend in Costa Rica, where he’s a part-time resident. The tortillas, meanwhile, come from Yoli and now feature ingredients like Thai fried chicken and Korean beef. You can still get a six-pack of crunchy tacos for ten bucks and a marg made with good tequila, three different tops of citrus, and both Grand Marnier and Cointreau for eight bucks.
Tiki Taco will soon expand, opening a second location at 54th and Troost, in the former Coffee Break building, as soon as June.