What’s New In Kansas City Food & Drink: March 2022

The Brady Brunch

The city’s newest Irish restaurant, Brady & Fox, will be open for St. Patrick’s Day—or there will be a funeral instead. “If it kills me we’re going to make it,” says Shaun Brady. “Please print that: if it kills me.”

Brady should be fine. His “worst, worst-case scenario” is that St. Paddy’s will be celebrated with a small menu at the chef-driven concept, which he and co-owner Graham Farris, a longtime buddy who is also a chef, call an “Irish-American restaurant and lounge.”

Brady is best known from Brady’s on Troost, which carried his name but where he was only a minor partner. That spot won a lot of fans in Brookside, a heavily Irish Catholic neighborhood. The new restaurant will sit at 63rd and Troost, in the former Brookside Poultry Co. space. Although the whiskey collection will start small at Brady & Fox, Brady’s last project was especially popular with whiskey geeks—its collection of rare Irish whiskeys was only rivaled by a bar called The Dead Rabbit in lower Manhattan. “When we closed, we had a hundred and ten bottles of Irish whiskey on the shelf,” he says. “That was the most Irish whiskey by the pour in the U.S.”

Brady and Farris (“The ‘Fox’ comes around because his mom’s maiden name is Fox,” Brady says) have been working together for a decade, starting at the Ambassador Hotel and continuing with Brady’s and Conroy’s Public House together.

Brady & Fox will be focused on the food, with the chef-owners hoping to showcase their talents. The lounge area in the back will be designed for diners to take a drink before moving into the main room, where they’ll be able to get meat pies or fish and chips, plus, on weekends, cuts from a whole leg of lamb roasted on the former tenant’s rotisserie. There are plans to do a full Irish breakfast after the opening rush slows.

“I was tired of asking people questions, ‘Can we?’” says Brady. “Now it’s my place so, yes, we can.”

Plant Parm

The newest spot in the Northland’s Iron District food cart pod has been “seven years in the making.” That’s how long it’s been since Landon Isabell started doing vegan Italian pop-ups at his house in Portland, Oregon. Isabell moved to Kansas City during the pandemic and opened his plant-based Italian project, Landoplenty, which was inspired by his upbringing: “My second dad is Italian and owned Italian restaurants for over thirty years. I got creative, veganized his dishes and Landoplenty came to be.”

Italian food tends to make heavy use of cheese, and Isabell says it’s hard to get vegan cheeses that taste right. “Luckily, I’ve been vegan for ten years now and I’ve had that much time to experiment,” he says. “My biggest hurdle has been mastering the pastas, which require tedious dough-making and lots of muscle. But I’ve got it down now!”

Look for more from Isabell in the future, possibly including a late-night vegan drive-thru and a kava bar. “I have about twenty different projects in the pipes,” he says. “I’m a Gemini, so it comes naturally.”

Proving It at Parlor

Kansas City proper has been without a standing Filipino restaurant since KC Pinoy closed in the West Bottoms and Manila Bay Express moved to Grandview. That’s changed thanks to Theresa “Ting” Santos-Spencer, who is now serving staples like lumpia, spamsilog and adobo at Ting’s Filipino Bistro in the Crossroads’ Parlor food hall. Santos-Spencer is hoping to open a full-size restaurant in Midtown, at 1803 W. 39th St., in the former Blue Koi Noodles & Dumplings space, she told the Star.

Something Fishy

The closure of a sushi chain restaurant in the Power & Light district might not normally cause much of a kerfuffle. But the abrupt end of the Drunken Fish became the talk of the local food scene after the restaurant’s general manager took to social media.

Joshua Wilson, who has identified himself as the former general manager, said that there were “several red flags” that made employees and management wonder if the restaurant was in danger of closing. On February 3, he even emailed his boss to ask about those red flags.

“I asked head office if there were plans to close the location and if the staff should start looking for new jobs,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I was told, ‘No. There is nothing to worry about.’”

The next day, he and other managers were asked to come to the restaurant to turn in their keys.

“These weren’t just employees of a restaurant,” Wilson wrote on a GoFundMe page. “These were people with lives and responsibilities. Companies ask staff to give two weeks’ notice of leaving a position and I feel that the same two weeks should have been given to the staff.”

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