October was a month that both broke our hearts and showed Kansas City’s indomitable culinary heart. First, the lighter side, beginning downtown, where three high-profile culinary talents debuted their newest restaurant at the brand-new Hotel Kansas City. The Town Company debuted in late October, helmed by partner Patrick Ryan (Port Fonda), along with executive chef Johnny Leach (formerly of New York’s Del Posto and Momofuku) and pastry chef Helen Jo Leach (Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku Milk Bar). The Town Company specializes in hearth-cooked, rustic fare with deep connections to local agriculture.
Just down Main Street in the City Market, Nutnisa and Doug Hoffman opened their newest Thai restaurant, Phikul Thai Bistro. The Hoffmans also own the celebrated Baramee Thai Bistro in the Crossroads and Mali Thai Bistro in Lee’s Summit. In the Crossroads, chef Jayaun Smith and business partner Steven Blakley opened Sauced, a from-scratch “smash” burger and fried chicken sandwich stand, which features its own outdoor seating plaza.
Down on 39th, Atit and Jugal Patel, who also own Dodson’s Bar and Commons in Waldo, opened the cocktail bar The Goat & Rabbit in the space formerly occupied by Nomad’s. And speaking of Waldo, Boru Ramen has been resurrected and reconfigured as Boru Asian Eatery. The interior of the restaurant has been remodeled, and its menu redesigned and updated as well, with the exception of a few Boru favorites, like its much-loved pork belly buns.
In a more serious light, Kansas City is confronting the loss of a few major institutions. Chef Howard Hanna’s The Rieger, cocktail bar Manifesto and Black Sheep on 39th Street have all closed. While some hope remains that The Rieger and Manifesto may someday return, it is more likely than not that all have closed for good. Hanna noted that it simply has not been financially feasible to keep his restaurant open, which seems to be the case for Black Sheep as well (chef Michael Foust has not discussed the closing of this restaurant with press). The loss of these restaurants is particularly difficult considering the months of hard work that both The Rieger and Black Sheep put into feeding the community through the Crossroads Community Kitchen and related ventures. We are grateful for their work, and their service to the community. The Rieger, Manifesto and Black Sheep will be greatly missed, as will the many other restaurants that have closed since the pandemic began.
Boru Asian Eatery, 400 W. 75th St., Kansas City, Missouri
The Goat and Rabbit, 1804 W. 39th St., Kansas City, Missouri, gandrkc.com
Phikul Thai Bistro, 17 E. Fifth St., Kansas City, Missouri, 816.894.3993, phikulthaibistro.com
Sauced, 1881-B Main St., Kansas City, Missouri, u-hungry.com/sauced
Black Sheep, 1815 W. 39th Street, Kansas City, Missouri
Manifesto, 1924 Main St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri
The Rieger, 1024 Main St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri
Black Agave Tequila Mexican Cuisine & Bar, 9720 Quivira Road, Lenexa, Kansas
Brookside Beef Co., 751 E. 63rd St., Kansas City, Missouri
Cookies and Creamery, 533 East Red Bridge Road, Kansas City, Missouri
Jovito’s Italian Cafe, 7408 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri
Strip’s Chicken, 420 W. 85th St., Kansas City, Missouri
The Classic Cookie & Café, 409 W. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri
Va Bene Italian Eatery, 8232 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas
West Bottoms Whiskey Co., 1321 W. 13th St., West Bottoms, Kansas City, Missouri