Curtain up, light the lights … Kansas City is definitely hitting the heights. Our world-class Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has arrived.
Synchronized with a lyrical blend of superb craftsmanship and stunning, acclaimed architecture, this new landmark displays exquisite attention to detail designed to shelter unsurpassed talent.
Applause, applause, here’s a toast to the inaugural season of one of the most talked about unveilings in the performing arts world … and Kansas City! Find the perfect pre- or post-theatre culinary respite to add to your Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts experience.
Strut your stuff with panache. Pre-show, relive a slice of history with a tribute to old Kansas City. The date: 1931. The place: Hotel Phillips where noteriety was all part of the scene. Dwight D. Eisenhower stayed at the Hotel and President Truman was known to drop in for an occasional visit.
Today the sophisticated urban boutique hotel upholds the design profile of the original art deco and art nouveau influence. A gilt figure of Dawn, mythical mother of stars, perches between the staircase bestowing warmth and hospitality to those who pass through the fashionable lobby.
The tradition continues as you hobnob with cocktails in the clubby 12 Baltimore bar, rich with patina. Seventy-five years of service to the public hasn’t faltered one iota in this see-and-be-seen hotel venue.
Drink up, dinner awaits.
Hotel Phillips, 12th & Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo. www.hotelphillips.com
The legacy continues not far away at The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange, where shades of yesteryear have left an enduring mark. Alexander Rieger’s turn-of-the-century hotel, built with wholesale whiskey money, still features high ceilings and original tile floors. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a standing-ovation-worthy dinner. Executive Chef Howard Hanna is in charge, mastering his lineup of creative dishes. The food is rustic and soulful, with a distinct nod to the bounty of our region. You can expect strips and chops, fish and chicken, frieze of organic greens and fried eggplant (Al Capone’s signature dish).
The Rieger’s satisfying tribute to hearty fare will only enhance the evening ahead.
The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange, 1924 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. www.theriegerkc.com
Bravo, bravo, the Kauffman has lived up to the headlines. Now close the evening by ducking into mixologist Ryan Maybee’s wonder bar, Manifesto.
Slip through the Hotel Rieger’s back door and mind your head as you descend into the black-as-pitch, 48-seat speakeasy—lit only by candlelight. A definite vibey, sexy, superlative way to end your night on the town.
Here’s where talented bartenders tailor spirits (with intriguing titles) to personally suit your style: Winter in Buenos Aires, Smokin’ Choke and Stay Wet. Only top-shelf liquor, bitters and fresh infusions are patiently blended to render a medley of complex libations.
Snuggle down in this intimate hiding place and linger until the wee hours—this is your night capped.
Manifesto, 1924 Main, Kansas City, Mo. www.thereigerkc.com/manifesto
Though evening holds its share of drama, a matinee can equally stir the soul. Choose one of these establishments for a satisfying lunch before curtain time.
Although you gave up eating at school eons ago, do reconsider when an invitation suggesting Webster House comes along. The handsomely refurbished Daniel Webster schoolhouse is located right next door to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Proprietor Shirley Bush Helzberg recognized this Romanesque Revival gem in 2002, restoring the late 19th century building back to its glory, rich with detail and charm.
Make your own history in this unique establishment where art and antiques marry with fine dining. Executive Chef Matthew Arnold helms the savory menu served upstairs Monday–Saturday in the Library Bar, The Rose or Market Rooms.
Be sure to leave enough time to peruse the rooms downstairs filled with tempting novelties.
Webster House, 1644 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Mo. www.websterhousekc.com
Lately, there’s a lot of buzz on the west side of the city where restaurants fill the neighborhood.
The Bluebird, a mainstay long before any newbies settled in, is celebrated for its commitment to using organic, locally-raised food.
White-cloaked tables, high ceilings and tile floors are a flashback to a turn-of-the-century bistro with a menu featuring an array of beautiful food served by a smooth and knowledgeable staff. You’ll think you’re in SoHo, not Kansas City.
The Bistro’s nod to serving organic is commendable and goes a step further by hosting communal tables every Wednesday evening and a Farmer’s table monthly. Everything, sourced locally, is proudly announced on the front door, no hoodwinking when it comes to who’s supplying the goods.
Bluebird Bistro, 1700 Summit, Kansas City, Mo. www.bluebirdbistro.com
Gloria Gale is an Overland Park-based food writer. “On the Menu” is not a restaurant review; it is a summary of dining out across the city.