Funky dive bar reopens with new look and menu and is fast becoming a star in KC’s food & drink scene.
Wanting a new look and feel, the owner of the quirky neighborhood bar The House closed shop for a bit and retooled. Now owner Malisa Monyakula is open for business.
“I’ve always loved the community feel in Westwood and am so thrilled to reopen our tiny little neighborhood bar,” says Monyakula, who also owns Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop.
After knocking down a wall to create a more open space, the bar in the little blue house that sits right next to Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop’s Westwood location opened once again. The House (2707 W. 47th Ave. Westwood, KS), which seats only twenty, will now serve Lulu’s full drink and food menu, too.
When it originally opened in 2021, it served just beer, wine and mixed drinks.
The interior has been fitted with “funky furniture and decor to match the quaint and quirky vibe it’s known for,” says Monyakula, who adds that customers can pick vintage records for staff to play on record players.
An outdoor fire pit seats up to fifty.
“As a small, women-owned business, we’re always looking for ways to support other small local businesses, so we’re very excited to feature local artists’ work at The House,” Monyakula says. “Every one to two months, we’ll switch out the artwork to feature another local artist. We want this to be a gathering place where everyone feels at home and welcome to come relax with a yard beer and enjoy vintage records.”
The House is open Fridays and Saturdays from 5–11 pm and Sundays from 2–9 pm.
The brains behind a few of KC’s most trendy bars plan to open a Florence-inspired restaurant
Bar Medici is expected to open in the Crossroads this November (1800 Walnut St., Suite 100, KCMO) and is the sister business to high-end cocktail joints like The Mercury Room and The Monarch Bar. The opening is creating a buzz in KC’s food and drink scene. A full bar menu with wine, beer and, of course, cocktails will be featured, but Medici’s menu is taking its inspiration from Southern Italy and the Mediterranean.
“Unlike our other concepts, we will be offering a full lunch, dinner and brunch menu,” says Amanda Williams of Exit Strategy, the hospitality management group behind the new restaurant. “We will also offer coffee, tea and gelato.
“The cocktails are curated to pair with small plates and food versus highlighting solely cocktails,” Williams says.
The new restaurant will be on the ground level of Reverb luxury apartments in the same building as The Mercury Room.
Bar Medici is being designed by Manica Architecture, who also designed The Mercury Room’s interior. Inspired by the Medici family, the restaurant will feature the window arches of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and the dots from the Medici family crest.
Private dining and bar opens in KC
A new restaurant with a private club is bringing a popular business model seen in larger cities to KC.
Privee Restaurant and Lounge (700 Southwest Blvd., KCMO) is a fine dining restaurant, bar lounge and private members-only club in a massive nine-thousand-square-foot space that had been sitting vacant for nearly three years after housing clubs such as Casa Grande and 7Hundred.
“Instead of having to go to the Capital Grille then leave and go to Monarch Bar, we put them all in the same place,” says Privee co-owner Tim Harris. “We wanted to give Kansas City a venue that they’re likely not ‘privy’ to.”
Harris, a KC native, met his business partner, New York-born Marcus Easy, while working together at Cerner in 2016. Inspired by the upscale venues in larger cities, Harris and Easy opened Privee in early August. The restaurant is open to the general public, but for $250 a month, Black Card members get exclusive perks like valet parking, a wine club and access to the upstairs Jade Room. The private club will also have security and a dress code.
According to the owners, the private club is for collaborating and networking. Restaurants with private clubs have long been popular in larger cities.
Executive chef Jonathan Wilson’s from-scratch menu focuses on seafood and steaks. Entrees like jerked teriyaki salmon, grilled lamb chops and herb-crusted chicken breasts stay in the $30 range, but for those wanting to splurge, there’s a $130 seafood tower and $200 tomahawk steak.
A taco pop-up shop found a permanent home behind a bar
After nearly two years of popping up around the metro, the taqueria Tacos Valentina has found a permanent kitchen to sling its authentic tacos. The taco makers will be taking over the Torn Label Brewing Co. kitchen (1708 Campbell St., KCMO) and transforming its traditional bar menu into innovative masa-based eats.
“Our goal is to be a premier spot for Mexican food in KC,” says Tacos Valentina co-owner Roger Avila. “There’s a whole world of regional varieties that have yet to be introduced to KC, so expect a super-unique experience.”
The former pop-up is more than just your average taco vendor. Tacos Valentina is a “molino concept, meaning we mill our own masa using imported Mexican heirloom corn,” Avila says.
Along with playful and unique street tacos, customers can expect hand-pressed quesadillas, burritos, tetelas (delicious triangular pockets of masa filled with various foods, often beans), botanas (small snacks), desserts and more. There will also be vegan and vegetarian options.
A collaboration beer between Torn Label and Tacos Valentina will always be on tap—Oro Especial, a Mexican lager.
Taking over the brewery’s kitchen means “everything being pumped out [at Torn Label] will be our recipes as well as recipes produced by our staff,” Avila says.
From roasting to retail
Owners of a local wholesale farm-to-coffee roasting company plan to let their fair trade roasts take center stage at a new Crossroads coffee and retail shop.
Christopher Oppenhuis and Mark Sappington of Marcell Coffee will be opening Take Care (419 E. 18th St., KCMO), a brick-and-mortar shop in the former Chances Social spot at Grinders this fall.
Take Care will serve the business duo’s new direct-to-consumer coffee roasting brand Oleo Coffee. They will be using beans grown on “single-estate farms,” meaning the beans come from one place.
From farm to retail, the Oleo founders plan to be involved in every step of the coffee supply chain.
“All of the inherent quality begins at the farm level and ends with the consumer, typically thousands of miles away,” says Oppenhuis and Sappington, both of whom have traveled to many of the estates and developed relationships with the farmers.
The two-thousand-square-foot, two-story space will feature a full espresso menu with drip coffee, cold brew and tea.
Homemade biscuits will be baked daily and served with seasonal preserves and flavored butters.