Whether it’s Happy Hour or High Noon, we’ll show you where to go to let loose with colleagues or impress an out-of-town client in some of the best Kansas City restaurants.
Story by Kelsey Cipolla
Business doesn’t just take place in an office from 9 to 5. Once you know where to go, the whole city can be your workplace. Consider these spots when you’re hosting important clients, trying to seal a deal over a casual lunch, planning the company party or just looking for a fun place to network over drinks.
Best Place for Entertaining Out-of-Towners
Show clients the best that Kansas City’s culinary scene has to offer with a dinner at Chef Michael Smith’s eponymous fine dining restaurant. Smith’s list of awards, (which includes becoming the first KC chef to win a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest) is sure to impress food fans from anywhere in the country.
The restaurant’s modern, elegant interior strikes the perfect balance between feeling formal and fresh, and with a menu featuring everything from a classic grilled KC strip steak to a suckling pig tasting to blueberry ravioli, there’s something to satisfy the taste buds of both the pickiest and most adventurous members of your party.
Get the full restaurant experience by opting for the four, five or six-course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings, or reserve a table for one of Michael Smith’s signature events, such as weekly Big Night Italian feasts or decadent wine dinners, for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
After your guests are done raving about their meal, Michael Smith’s prime location in the Crossroads makes it a perfect place to start an evening out on the town, showcasing the district’s galleries and entertainment offerings.
Best Place for a Business Lunch
Sitting just outside of the Country Club Plaza, Café Trio is a convenient spot for professionals throughout the metro to gather for a good meal and a quick meeting. The bistro offers one of the city’s best views of the J.C. Nichols Fountain. For the best look, dine on Café Trio’s outdoor patio for a casual meeting, or keep the focus on work with an indoor table on the main level or mezzanine.
A constantly changing selection of art on the walls can serve as a conversation starter, while the restaurant’s simple yet hearty lunch offerings (including many gluten-free options) will leave you feeling satisfied, not sluggish.
Start things off with the bleu cheese bistro—grilled beef skewers with melted bleu cheese, potato wedges, roasted mushrooms and caramelized onion jam—before moving onto one of the restaurant’s tasty soups, sandwiches or salads with house-crafted dressings, or pizzas. We’re partial to Trio’s signature Cuban sandwich made with braised Berkshire pork cheek, beef tongue pastrami and pale ale mustard on a grilled house sub roll.
And you wouldn’t want to forget refreshments. The restaurant serves its own signature blend of coffee created by The Roasterie as well as a long list of wines and an assortment of signature martinis.
Best Place to Host a Corporate Event
FIORELLA’S JACK STACK BARBECUE
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue is a proven crowd-pleaser, so give the people what they want—with a refined twist. While the world-renowned barbecue company keeps the atmosphere casual at its four restaurants throughout town, Jack Stack offers two ways to create a high-end corporate event that guests and employees will rave about for years to come.
The Freight House Private Dining Room at the Crossroads offers a sophisticated ambiance and options for both inside or outside dining. The location can accommodate up to 120 guests, but if you need a little extra room, the Martin City Private Dining Banquet Room (near Jack Stack’s original location on Holmes Road) provides subtle charm with seating for up to 175 people. Both sites allow for the use of projectors and audio-visual components, and the catering team can also arrange for a dance floor, DJ, photographer and other special services at events.
Savor Jack Stack favorites like beef, pork or lamb ribs, burnt ends and brisket as part of a buffet, or treat your staff to a seated dinner of fresh grilled salmon fillet, a 10-ounce Kansas City strip steak and rosemary chicken. If you have another venue in mind but your heart is set on serving some of the city’s best barbecue, Jack Stack’s staff can also help you plan and cater an event at 91 different locations throughout town, including Union Station, the Kansas City Public Library and the American Jazz Museum.
Best Place for Happy Hour
Happy Hour lives up to its name at La Bodega. The restaurant’s bold colors, flavors and live performances bring a sense of excitement, making it the ideal place to share stories, drinks and tapas, which are Spanish small plates traditionally served during social occasions to encourage conversation.
Thanks to a regularly revised list of creative signature cocktails and daily food and drink specials, La Bodega’s locations downtown and in Leawood are drink destinations any time. But during happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., sangria and well cocktails are half-price, as are 15 different tasty tapas, including flavorful items such as pincho de solomillo, skewered pork and apple served with a red onion and currant relish.
The modern interior is the perfect setting to bond with co-workers or friends, but if you really want to let loose, head to the sangria bar, which sits behind a garage door that opens to the large patio on warm days at the Leawood location. Relax and enjoy a glass of refreshing sangria or the Beet Royale, a customer favorite that combines Halcyon Gin, Domaine de Canton, cava, beet juice, basil, honey syrup and lemon juice.