Chef-owner Ted Habiger has announced he will close Room 39 at Mission Farms in southern Johnson County on Sun., Feb. 10 after an 11-year stint. The original Room 39 in Midtown Kansas City will remain open. Habiger, who also co-owns Brewery Emperial in the Crossroads Arts District, plans to focus his energy on these two businesses. 

“We’ve had a great run in Mission Farms,” Habiger says. “Closing the restaurant will give me more time to focus on my kids and the other businesses.”

Habiger’s Room 39 was one of the first independent, locally owned restaurants with a high profile to add a second location in the Mission Farms development.

Designed with luxury residential spaces on site, Mission Farms has grown over the past decade to serve Johnson County’s suburban market. Its mix of restaurant, retail, and service businesses includes Rye, Martin City Brewing Co., Enjoy Pure Food and Drink, Fusion Fitness and Eye Style Optics.

“Mission Farms was interesting to us because we were bursting at the seams with culinary talent at the Midtown location,” Habiger says. “We had my business partner Andy Sloan, Howard Hanna, Brandon Winn and myself all with ideas for the kitchen. We had the opportunity to expand and we did.”

Early in his career, Habiger (a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist) worked at the legendary Union Square Cafe in New York City, where many world-renowned chefs began their culinary path. Habiger also cooked at the iconic Café Allegro (which closed in 2002) on W. 39th Street in Kansas City. Two years later, he and Sloan opened Room 39 just a few doors away from Café Allegro’s spot. Room 39 was an opportunity for the fledgling restaurateurs to make their mark on the street once touted as Restaurant Row.

Over the years, Room 39 has seen its own chefs and cooks progress within the city’s dynamic restaurant scene. Winn is now executive chef at The Webster House, while Hanna is chef-owner of The Rieger and Ça Va.

Now, Habiger will devote more time to the original Room 39, one of Kansas City’s first farm-to-table restaurants. The seasonal menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus offers a solid list of select wines and cocktails.

Upscale breakfast options include corned beef hash, seasonal vegetable frittata, and brioche French toast, while the lunch menu includes Campo Lindo chicken in a grilled chicken salad, pasta Bolognese, pork loin sandwich and goat cheese gnocchi. Hearty dinner fare varies with starters like Korean fried chicken wings and Campo Lindo chicken livers served with bacon, shallots and capers on crostini. Room 39 serves entrees like seared sea scallops, lamb chops sourced from Central Grazing and coffee-rubbed filet with ample sides. In particular, the stuffed butternut squash with creamed spinach, spiced quinoa, truffle oil and gruyere pecan crust is perfect for winter sustenance.

In February, the restaurant will roll out an elevated happy hour experience to welcome new and old customers.

“I’m very excited to get back to my roots at Midtown,” Habiger says. “I plan on introducing an elevated happy hour, Monday through Friday, from 5 to 6:30pm on Feb. 18.”

Habiger also plans to offer wine dinners “attempting to demystify the grape [and] focusing on the history, geography and terroir that makes wine so dynamic and tasty.”

Room 39, 1719 W. 39th St., Kansas City, 816.753.3939, rm39.com

Room 39 at Mission Farms, 10561 Mission Road, Leawood, Kansas, 913.648.7639, rm39.com

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Writer Pete Dulin is the author of Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, KC Ale Trail, and Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries Across Central Kansas and Missouri.

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