Michael Smith’s CocoBolos Opens at Prairiefire

Get a first taste of what the chef is cooking up at his new spot, now open in Leawood.

If you’ve spent time in Manhattan, Kan., chances are you’ve stopped into CoCo Bolos, the lively and colorful New Mexican restaurant that has captured the hearts and stomachs of K-State students since it opened in 1998.

Don’t expect the same experience when you step into Michael Smith’s new take on the restaurant in Prairiefire.

“I can’t just go in and make somebody’s recipes,” Smith explains. “I need to develop food that’s coming from my heart, my gut, my passion and inspiration, and put it in the menu.”

He did just that with dishes like Peruvian causa, a potato salad topped with avocado and crab, shrimp and quinoa croquettes, a lineup of tasty tacos, smoky fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs and pork chili verde (just to name a few favorites in the making).

Photo by David Allison.

Fans of the original restaurant will also leave happy—the reimagined CocoBolos pays homage to classic dishes like the Tijuana Trainwreck, baked layers of corn tortillas, machaca chicken, chile verde, chile con carne, beans, Monterey jack and roasted corn topped with sour cream.

“There’s always a risk when you take a concept that’s tried and true and maybe you’re modernizing it a little bit,” Smith says. “I cook food that I want to eat, and I hope to hell that people want to eat that food too.”