New to the KC food scene this month: Vietnamese coffee, an East Coast sub shop and more
Kansas City is getting its first dedicated Vietnamese coffee shop courtesy of Jackie Nguyen, who just moved to town from New York. Nguyen hails from San Diego but worked on Broadway before being taken in by the coffee culture on a trip to her mother’s native Saigon. Nguyen’s project, Café Cà Phê will start off as a mobile truck shuttling between stops including Peaches Vintage on Troost. If you’ve tried Vietnamese coffee at a local pho shop, you may have encountered the iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Café Cà Phê will have “lots of sweetened condensed milk” but is also bringing a third-wave specialty approach, starting with Vietnam-grown beans from hyped roaster Nguyen Coffee Supply and using flavors like lychee, salted lemon, ube and cardamom. “You will be able to find the classic Vietnamese iced coffee in all of the local Vietnamese restaurants, but they are made from beans that are not imported from Vietnam,” Nguyen says. “It’s still quite delicious, but the quality of the beans is not guaranteed. Most local Vietnamese restaurants have a limited drink menu, as their specialty is the food. Not only will we be the only coffee shop that serves these beans in Kansas City, but [customers] will notice the strength of the coffee, the low acidity levels, a really smooth and nutty taste.” Café Cà Phê is launching with a few seasonal specialties: pumpkin-flavored iced coffee, pumpkin sesame hot chocolate and a lychee apple cider.
Also incoming from the East Coast: Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, which roasts turkey on-site and uses American wagyu for its cheesesteaks. The original Capriotti’s comes from the Little Italy neighborhood in presidential candidate Joe Biden’s home of Wilmington, Delaware, and has been around since the seventies. The first local location, just south of JCCC in Overland Park, makes a mean cheesesteak with spicy hot peppers and a crunch-able bun. The OP shop is owned by locals Dean and Carol Doria. Dean previously worked as an executive in the casino business and first encountered Capriotti’s while in Las Vegas.
Several known names in Brookside have shuffled spots. Stalwart fried chicken spot Brookside Poultry is moving a few blocks east to 751 E. 63rd St. and adding a sister spot, a casual steakhouse called Brookside Beef Company. The former chicken spot has already morphed into Brookside Sushi, helmed by longtime local sushi chef Salvador Cerritos-Ortiz, formerly of Kabuki. Brookside Sushi had formerly been a pop-up in the same space and makes traditional rolls and sashimi, plus a few less-common items like fried whole soft shell crab and squid salad.
Kansas City has a new Turkish restaurant, though it’s not how it was planned before the pandemic. Clay & Fire is in a Westside space owned by restaurateur and developer Adam Jones, who according to Feast magazine had been saving the space for a Turkish friend named Orcan Yigit. The pandemic shut down international travel, but construction continued apace on a large clay oven used to make “near-Eastern” dishes like Turkish pide. That oven is helmed by one of the city’s best pizziolas, Brent Grunnels of the pop-up Cult of Pi, which Kansas City named the best backyard pizza party in town.