As Kansas City thaws and local produce begins to appear, so do spring menus and restaurant patios. Restaurants in the area are preparing their spring menus, many of which include local produce. Natasha Bailey, co-host of KCUR Hungry For MO Podcast and chief executive at Thelma’s kitchensaid she was ready to dabble in spring flavors.
“I’m so excited for the ramps and the morels and the radishes and all the cute little greens that come up,” Bailey said. “I’m super excited. Arugula, fresh arugula, ugh – everything is so crispy.
Even as restaurants grapple with inflation and lingering pandemic issues — such as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages — new locations have managed to open around Kansas City.
Food critic Mary Bloch said she was delighted that the popular Thai barbecue pop-up, BBQ Buck Tui, owned by Ted and Pam Liberda, found a brick-and-mortar home in Overland Park. The storefront opened in January. Pam Liberda also owns Waldo Thai.
Pizza Taccio, which serves New York-style pizza, just opened a second restaurant in North Kansas City. Pizza Tascio was started by Erik Borger, founder of Il Lazzarone. Bloch said his favorite pizza there, called “Spicy Pepperoniis topped with pepperoni, jalapenos and Mike’s Hot Honey.
Here are suggestions from food writers and KCUR listeners for their favorite restaurants and spring dishes:
Natasha Bailey, Thelma’s kitchen:
- Pirate Bone Burgers — Beet burger. This brightly colored plant-based burger, served with avocado spread, pickled cabbage and homemade aioli is just one of Pirate Bone’s many vegan burger choices. It’s the perfect option for a lighter alternative to burgers on warm spring days.
- Housewife — Toast with roasted red peppers. Chef Anna Sorge packs roasted red peppers, goat cream cheese, arugula pesto and pine nuts onto a slice of rustic bread to create the mouth-watering new vegetarian toast.
- Vegan Crave Burgers & Bakery recently opened in the Quartier du Fer. Chef Teeshia Madge whips up divine vegan treats, like a portobello mushroom and black bean burger and various baked goods.
- KC Food Genre — Jackpot BBQ Nachos. Yet another refreshing vegan option, these nachos feature a mixture of slow-roasted jackfruit and sweet potatoes topped with cashew queso, corn salsa, and cilantro-lime cream.
- Green Dirt Farm Creamery in Weston offers a tempting menu of sandwiches. While you’re there, make sure you don’t miss their fresh cheese or seasonal ice cream.
Mary BlochGastronomic criticism:
- Deer Antler Room — Grilled white asparagus. White asparagus is a springtime delicacy, ubiquitous in Austria, but hard to find in the United States. The Antler Room just put a dish on the menu with white asparagus, served with hazelnuts, green olives, pancetta, green garbanzo and sherry vinegar.
- Savoy at 21c‘s — Alaskan Halibut. White asparagus is also part of this dish, but the main component is halibut. Halibut is best in the spring. There is also the spring pea soup as a starter, a classic spring soup with fresh cream and edamame.
- The 1900 Restaurant — Early spring pea and white asparagus salad. This dish also contains white asparagus – surprise! Combined with fresh peas in a new spring salad, along with strawberries, cucumbers, mustard greens and a green goddess dressing, it’s spring on a plate.
- Westport Cafe Risotto. Although the Westport Café has yet to launch its spring menu, the risotto changes with the seasons. It’s always colorful and tasty, as it showcases the best of what’s on the market. Spring risotto can feature peas, with nice Fresno peppers and possibly mixed mushrooms.
- Plain flour — Lemon Creste De Gallo. Farina has a special section on its homemade pasta menu that changes often to reflect what Chef Michael Smith inspires with seasonal ingredients. The Lemon Creste De Gallo pasta dish with prawns, pistachios, Calabrian pepper, Castelvetrano olives and fresh basil is a sign of this.
- Verbena – Lemon pie. Verbena has a gorgeous lemon tart with lemon curd, graham cracker crust, blueberry coulis, and even edible flowers. Think key lime pie. A sweet way to end a meal.
- Restaurant History — Soft-shell crab. Whenever soft-shell crab is in season, Story can be counted on to present it, usually served with English peas, potatoes and aioli.
- extra virgin – Rainbow trout. Served with a mouth-watering garlic tahini, pickled beets and scallions, the trout is one of the many dishes at Extra Virgin not to be missed. Extra Virgin also offers a large half-price happy hour menu Monday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Chewology is relatively new to the restaurant scene and to Kansas City. The menu is inspired by Taiwanese street food and features a wide variety of gyoza (dumplings) and bao (steamed buns).