Archive for Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kansas City Connection: Pack your appetite for Restaurant Week

January 19, 2014

This week is the fifth annual Kansas City Restaurant Week. From now through Jan. 26, over 125 different restaurants and cafes have prepared special lunch and dinner menus to give people a chance to taste why so many have hailed Kansas City as one of the nation’s top emerging culinary destinations.

If you’re not sure what the big fuss about Restaurant Week is, I recommend downloading the app (just search for “Kansas City Restaurant Week” on Apple or Android devices) and having a look around.

One of the biggest draws is the opportunity to dine at the city’s finest restaurants at a relatively low cost. Lunch menus are $15, and dinners are $33, with most of them including an appetizer, entree and dessert from among several options in each category.

Another special feature of Kansas City Restaurant Week is the charity component. Part of the proceeds go to Harvesters. In 2013, the event raised $86,000 to go toward feeding hungry families.

Because of all the buzz the event creates, it’s a good idea to make reservations ahead of time using OpenTable.com (some of the more popular destinations, such as the Bluestem Bistro, are already booked through next weekend). OpenTable can also help you narrow down the restaurants by category, though I recommend just scrolling through the menus being offered. Even if you don’t get to sample the multi-course menus this week, you might get an idea of where you’d like to get a nice meal the next time you visit Kansas City.

A few quick dining recommendations: Cafe Sebastienne, located in the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick Blvd.) is well-known for its modern American cuisine. The cafe is offering a special lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The museum itself is free, and houses an impressive collection of mostly 20th-century art.

Room 39 is another exceptional modern American cafe with locations on 39th Street just east of State Line (near Kansas University Hospital) and another in Leawood at 10561 Mission Road. Room 39 is known for creativity and originality in its flavor pairings, and the Restaurant Week lunch and dinners should not disappoint. Room 39 is also a great location to enjoy a leisurely morning cup of coffee and plate of French toast.

Dining at Webster House, located in the Crossroads just south of the Kauffman Center, is a bit like enjoying a meal at an English manor house. The restaurant is made up of several different dining rooms on the second floor of an antique shop. The perfect place for a pre-performance meal and glass of wine, Webster House is also running lunch and dinner specials during Restaurant Week. See Websterhousekc.com for store and restaurant hours.

Theater and performance

Dinner and the theater is a natural pairing, so let’s look at some of this week’s performances. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, in collaboration with UMKC Theatre, is presenting Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the Spencer Theatre, 4949 Cherry St. Tickets range from $20 to $60 and are available at kcrep.org. The performance runs nightly except Mondays through Feb. 9.

Younger audiences will enjoy “Shrek: The Musical,” presented by The Barn Players, a local troupe that got its start in 1955 in a barn that was once home to Lawrin, a Kentucky Derby-winning horse (it’s true — I’ve been to the horse’s grave). Today the Barn Players operate out of a more modern facility at 6219 Martway in Mission. “Shrek: The Musical” is being performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and admission is free for those 4 and under. Purchase at thebarnplayers.org.

— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo. Know of an upcoming event in Kansas City you’d like to see featured in Kansas City Connection? Email us about it at kcconnection@ljworld.com.

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