Food and Drink

Kansas Town Opens on 39th Street

Restaurant Row’s newest addition offers fresh, inspired cuisine bursting with local flavor

The stretch of 39th Street just north of Westport has long been a destination for Kansas City foodies, thanks to its wealth of great restaurants – some of which have become so popular, they’ve spawned locations on the other side of the state line, such as Room 39, Blue Koi and D’Bronx. This week a newcomer joins “Restaurant Row,” and we think it’s going to be a big hit. Kansas Town, which opens Tuesday, January 21, in the spot that formerly housed the popular Macaluso’s restaurant, offers inventive entrees, small plates and sandwiches using local, seasonal ingredients. Owner Mike Bechtel consulted with chef Joe Shirley, best known for his Uberdine pop-up culinary experiences, on the new restaurant’s concept, and together the two selected Garret Kasper, a young chef with experience from several award-winning fine dining restaurants on the East Coast, to run the kitchen.

“Mike Bechtel’s original vision for the concept was a neighborhood eatery where one could eat multiple times a week with affordable pricing,” says Shirley. “We have run with this and offer a stunning series of smaller portion entrées with reasonable price tags. There are also some inspired small plates and sandwiches. There will truly be no place like it in Kansas City.”

We had a chance to see what Kansas Town has to offer last weekend during a soft launch for family and friends, and are inclined to agree with Shirley’s assessment. The beet tarte tatin appetizer we sampled was not only delicious, but beautifully presented, with garnishes of crispy shredded kale leaves and dabs of carrot purée adding flashes of color to the crimson beets. Of the entrées, the real standout was the Westover Farms trout served with a savoury bread pudding. Shirley says the menu will also include a rotating flatbread, risotto and pasta dish – on the night, we tried a bahn mi flatbread, mushroom risotto and fresh housemade tagliatelle in a braised pork and tomato sauce – plus family-friendly options, such as a sloppy joe with housemade pickles.

Kansas Town will be open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, and will also open on Sundays for brunch only. We’re sure the small bistro, which has only about a dozen tables, is going to be a big hit, so reservations are recommended.