Dish & Drink KC: A wave of restaurant openings hits KC despite staffing challenges

A photo of a dish from Bamboo Pennys

Photo by April Fleming

Several new restaurants open despite staffing challenges

It’s like the restaurant gods flipped a switch. In the past few weeks, restaurants and bars have suddenly become busy (related: everyone is also hiring). And though the public is clearly ready to get out to eat and drink, it doesn’t mean that locations are open the way that they used to be. Hours of operation at many restaurants are limited, with many open only for dinner service later in the week. On a recent (and extremely rare) Saturday night out, for example, my husband and I struggled to find any downtown/Crossroads/West Bottoms restaurant that served food and drinks that was open after 10 p.m. Town Topic was open, but had an extraordinary line with dozens of waiting customers extending a full block south from its Broadway location (and while I love TT, there are definitely limits to that love). On another Sunday afternoon, despite an empty dining room, my visiting parents and I were told that the wait for a table at a beloved local fried chicken restaurant would be over an hour—all due to a lack of staff in both the front and back of house.

In addition, supply chain issues are still affecting, well, everything. Diners should go into all restaurants with the understanding that their favorite dishes may be more expensive, or even not available. We just gotta roll with it. 2020 lives on!

Supply and demand is a strange thing. Somehow, no lack of staff or supply is stopping anyone from opening a bunch of new restaurants in Kansas City, from a plush new Thai restaurant in Leawood to tacos in Prairie Village and a pub on 39th Street in Volker. Here are a few of the city’s newest spots to grab a plate and a cocktail.

Burnt Ends breakfast skillet at Our House in Kansas City

Photo courtesy of Our House

Our House

1815 W. 39th Street

Burnt ends French dip sandwiches, smoked chicken pot pie, build your own pasta bowls, and even a full breakfast menu are the features at Our House, located in the former home of Black Sheep. Out House is owned and operated by Joe and Maggie Zahner, industry vets who have committed to bringing a full diner to 39th Street. Our house is open early, beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. on Sunday, and stays open until 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 8 p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant also serves a full coffee menu, has its own in-house baker, and even a barbecue specialist (smoked meat is a prime emphasis here). The beloved rooftop patio at this location is also back in business. Learn more here.

A photo of dishes from Bamboo Penny's in Leawood.

Photo by April Fleming

Bamboo Penny’s

5270 W. 116th Place, Leawood

Down in Leawood, restaurateurs Penny and Doug Mufuka have opened their latest Thai restaurant, Bamboo Penny’s, in Leawood’s Park Place (the couple also owns KC Thai in Overland Park and Thai House in South KC). If you like tiki cocktails and dishes that incorporate sweet with the savory, this plush new location might be worth a go. Crispy duck served in mango sauce, fried rice presented inside of a pineapple, pad Thai, as well as traditional Thai-inspired curries, are all available on the menu. If you like your dishes on the spicier side, be sure to let them know.

A photo of food from Taco Republic in Prairie Village.

Photo courtesy of Taco Republic

Taco Republic

4100 W. 83rd Street, Prairie Village

Taco Republic has officially expanded out of Westwood, and has opened its new Prairie Village location at 83rd and Mission. Margaritas, tacos, elotes, bowls, fajitas, and more—plus the giant signature patio—are available from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday,  11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Check out the menu on Taco Republic’s website.

A photo of biscuits from Blu Hwy in Kansas City

Photo courtesy of Blu Hwy.


5070 Main Street

Inspired by the book “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon, the new South Plaza restaurant BLU HWY aims to take you on something of a culinary road trip across America, offering classic Americana with a modern flair and eclectic ingredients. Try, for example, tempura-fried pork tenderloin with Thai chili mayonnaise, buttermilk biscuits with chile de arbol butter, sweet corn chowder with Hatch chile, and roasted chicken with soy-butter mushrooms, among other dishes. The dining room is set to open at a yet-undisclosed date in the near future. Place your order at BLU HWY’s website from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

Categories: Food & Drink