Since the late 1920s, the building at 3216 Gillham Plaza – designed by celebrated female architect Nelle Peters – has been a fixture in Kansas City. Soon, the building with its Spanish-style tile roof, arched windows and decorative vine and floral facade will be home to an array of businesses, including Billie's Grocery, a restaurant by Robin Krause.
Krause, who opened Soho Bakery and four Filling Station Coffee locations and currently owns Unbakery and Juicery in Brookside, is opening Billie's Grocery as a tribute to her late father, Bill Krause. "I was working myself to death," Krause says when she recalls trying to manage all the Filling Station locations. "I tried to get my dad to open a restaurant with me, but he recently passed. After that, I sold everything and started studying nutrition and health coaching, herbalism, yoga – anything wellness-related, I've tried it and studied it. So I decided to open a restaurant without him, but for him."
Billie's Grocery will occupy two-thirds of the historic building's lower level and will include a sit-down dining area, bakery, full patio, bar and small retail space, where she plans on selling Billie's Grocery-label products like chocolate bars and fermented sauce. Unlike Unbakery and Juicery, this new restaurant will serve full meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner
While Krause is still finalizing the menu, she has a clear direction of what type of food she wants to serve, and she is drawing inspiration from her favorite meals that she has had on her travels. "I'm not going to cater to just one market," she says. "It's going to be for everybody. Here, a husband can get a reuben and a cocktail, and a wife can have a frosé and a smoothie bowl. They'll both be happy."
Right now, she's most excited about two dishes in particular, including lemongrass shrimp and a sesame-ginger-watermelon salad with charred onion. "Being a nutritional therapist, I am very okay with quality eggs and dairy, so stuff like that will be worked into the food," she says. "But there will also be the vegan options."
Billie's Grocery will also offer cooking classes up to four times a week. As a tribute to the business that last occupied the building until 1999, Luzier Cosmetics, Krause is naming the education room The Luzier.
The restaurant is on track to open in April, but some of the other businesses planning on occupying the building, like retailer Hand and Land, could be open as early as February.
Billie's Grocery, 3216 Gillham Plaza, Suite 100, Kansas City, Missouri, instagram.com/billiesgrocery