The Freight House project in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District was one of the catalysts in making the dining and entertainment destination what it is today. Sixteen years ago, acclaimed chef Lidia Bastianich chose to open her first restaurant outside of New York City – Lidia’s Kansas City – in a narrow 40-by-499-foot former train freight house in the once-industrial neighborhood.

Craig Shaw was the architect of record for the Freight House project and also implemented the striking design inside Lidia’s, which was conceptualized by famous New York architect and set designer David Rockwell. The rich, natural colors of the enormous wood beams, stained glass, brick and artwork create a charming and rustic feel in the 130-year-old building.

“Everyone loves the three large chandeliers running down the center of the dining room made out of hand-blown glass bottles,” says executive chef Dan Swinney. “I came to the project shortly after Craig, and it was a beautiful restaurant when we opened it 16 years ago, but it has stood the test of time.”

In December, the historic building completed a major renovation that had been in the works for five years with the opening of The Terrazza. The new dining room adds an additional 88 seats to the existing 165, and part of the outdoor patio has been enclosed with glass windows that provide views of the trains at nearby Union Station. In addition to dining room seating, the room will also be available for private events.

“Our intent and desire was to capture the outdoor space without making it feel too enclosed – we have windows and doors that we can swing wide open to the patio when the weather is nice,” says Shaw, who also oversaw architecture for The Terrazza.

The space is a little curvier and the roof structure a little more free-flowing compared to the gabled pitch roof in the main dining room.

“Craig has a lot of respect for the building and its historic nature,” Swinney says. “The design he came up with injects something a lot more modern into the overall look of the building. It’s a nice juxtaposition.”

General manager Matt Green says that when the curved ceiling and glass-lined room is lit up at night, the space feels cozy and romantic.

“The other night when it was snowing, it was so beautiful sitting out there and watching the snow fall,” he says. “Being covered by the elements and being so warm, you feel like you’re almost in a snow globe.”

Lidia’s Kansas City, 101 W. 22nd St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.221.3722, lidias-kc.com


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Bethany Christo is Feast's special projects editor who enjoys barbecue, grammar, good reads, thrifting, attempting humor and rapping by herself in the car, all to the detriment of her social life. You'll find her near the desserts.

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