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KANSAS CITY

Cheers! Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen celebrates 11 years in Kansas City this weekend

Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen Dishes

To celebrate its anniversary, Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen is bringing back some favorite dishes from over the years.

Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen is ready to pop some serious corks this weekend in celebration of its eleventh year in business in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District.

The popular downtown wine bar will offer anniversary food and drink specials starting at 4pm Fri., Feb. 25 through Sun., Feb. 27 with live music on Sat., Feb. 26, and a host of other surprises and specials planned throughout the weekend.

Dusting off his old recipe book is Tannin executive chef Brian Aaron, who, along with the kitchen crew, will be making some of the most beloved menu items across the 11 years the restaurant has been in business.

As part of the festivities, guests can look forward to ordering Tannin’s lump crab dip, ahi tuna egg rolls, grilled salmon tacos, crispy pork cheeks, steak tartare, bone-in Duroc pork chops and Lamar’s glazed donut and chocolate chip bread pudding for dessert.

Tannin’s longtime wine director Barry Tunnell now has a new role in the company as vice president of client experience at Virtual Toast, a virtual food and wine tasting experience launched during the pandemic under Tannin’s parent company. Tunnell and his team’s low-key tableside manner and casual everyday approach to wine has been one of the reasons Tannin continues to be a destination for people with varying degrees of wine knowledge to gather. From novice wine explorers to seasoned service industry pros wanting to sit in on industry wine classes and tastings, all are welcome at Tannin.

This weekend, the team at Tannin look forward to pouring guests a glass of anything they know will enhance their experience, including some of their longtime favorite wines from the bar’s most loyal winemakers who have supported them throughout the years.

“We will be dipping into our past to show off some of our favorite wines across the years. These are the wines that resonate with both our guests and our staff, so it is fun for us to be able to pour these bottles again,” Tunnell says. “Tannin has always been focused on developing relationships with small artisanal wine families and sharing their wines with our guests across years and years, tasting how they have changed. After 11 years, we are now at a point we are seeing wines made by the kids of the winemakers we originally bought from.”

The staff at Tannin have also seen a lot of wine trends come and go over the past 11 years in Kansas City. Some float in and out with the seasons, and some never seem to go out of style.

“We were pouring a lot of orange wines when they became popular a few years ago, much like natural wines are now, but these types of wines aren’t new,” Tunnell says. “The techniques are ancient and have been around since the beginning of winemaking; they just get reintroduced to a new generation of winemakers and drinkers. Tannin has always offered a selection of interesting wines from unexpected places, but we’ve also had the core wine staples – things like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. I think having diversity in our wine list is important, and it is exciting to see people start at one place and then return to Tannin looking to try something new.”

When Tannin first opened in 2011, the bar had great support from a lot of wine vendors across the globe, but the market was limited to just what was available in the state of Missouri. Over the past decade that has changed; there are now more independent wine distributors focused on carrying only small production wines – the kind Tunnell wants to pour at Tannin.

“When we first opened, there was still a heavy domestic focus on most wine lists in Kansas City, with a significant number of bottles coming from California, Oregon and Washington, which all make remarkable wine, but they represent a very small portion of all wine product in the world,” explains Tunnell. “Now, we have guests who are coming in curious about South African or South American wines regions. Another thing happening here in KC is we are seeing an increase in the number of small indie restaurants that have a really specific wine list pouring bottles that come from the same place as the food they are serving, which is really exciting to see as someone who loves wine.”

As the first grape geek on staff at Tannin, Tunnell set out to build the team from the ground up, providing his staff top-notch wine education, opportunities to taste and more.

“Ten or 11 years ago, a lot of our staff wasn’t comfortable talking about wine like they are now, so we helped to provide that education and opportunity to learn,” he says. “Today it is different; we see amazing talent that already have a fluency in wine like we have never seen, and they are finding it at other restaurants, wine shops and the internet. It has always been our goal to make Tannin not just a place with a great wine list, but a place with a great wine program – one that complements our excellent food. That is the core of what chef Brian and my team are celebrating with our guests this weekend.”

As he continues to work on growing the Virtual Toast side of the business, Tunnell has relied on his front-of-house team to keep Tannin running like a top.

“On our anniversary, I’d especially like to acknowledge the front-of-house team at Tannin, as they are amazing at what they do,” Tunnell says. “Katie Shipman is our general manager and came to us from Fox & Pearl. Kezia Prajitna is our wine manager responsible for our wine list and events, and Brooke Silvey is our talented bar manager. They all deserve a round of applause.”

Larger than normal crowds are expected at Tannin this weekend during the anniversary celebrations, so reservations by phone or Tock are suggested. However, as has always been the policy at Tannin, walk-in guests are always welcome to stop in for dinner or to help raise a glass to celebrate this cozy neighborhood wine bar.

Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen, 1526 Walnut St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri, tanninwinebar.com

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