Happy hours at Howard’s, Paris of the Plains returns, Crown Point Tavern and C.Frogs open, and this week’s restaurant events

Good news for anyone who can’t make it downtown for lunch — or anyone who likes great food, really — Howard’s Grocery and Café (1708  Oak) plans to start staying open until 7 p.m. for happy-hour service sometime this fall.

Chef Craig Howard explains that the regular café menu will be available, including his must-try cheeseburger (with house-made American cheese), as well as a variety of small plates. Expect a selection of craft beers and wines.

“We just thought it’d be fun to expand our hours and get some new guests in that can’t make it during the day,” says Howard, who has been closing up shop at 3 p.m. each day, except First Fridays. “The rough template for the [small plates] menu will be a couple of fresh pastas. We can do fresh penne and tube-style pastas, in addition to stuff like pappardelle. We’ll have a flatbread that will have seasonal ingredients, and we want to work on bringing in some sustainable fish to do some fish dishes as well — maybe crudo or something that would be fresh and light.”

Howard explains that he’s also working on his version of the traditional Sri Lankan street food known as the egg hopper; it’s like a crepe, filled with seasonal vegetables and, of course, an egg.

“The cool part of it for us is that we’ll be able to be more creative, even if we just do something for one day,” he says. “It will help us work more with local farmers because we can take smaller quantities [of vegetables].”

Howard says the later hours should start in two to three months, pending license approval.

One of Kansas City’s biggest service-industry events of the year begins this week: The annual Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival kicks off Thursday night at the Brass on Baltimore (1228 Baltimore). The three-day confab includes plenty of industry-networking opportunity, along with parties and seminars that should appeal to nonprofessionals, too.

Among the marquee names this year: Steve Olson, the creator of Tanqueray, leads a gin workshop. Other seminars include “How to Blind-Taste Spirits,” “How to Serve 10,000 People,” and “Let’s Talk Start-Ups and Financing.”

The crown jewels of the POP Festival are, as always, the individual Bartending Competition and the Midwest Melee, which pits bartenders from different cities against one another. Those events take place Friday and Saturday nights. See popfestkc.com for tickets and more information.

There were two notable restaurant openings over the past week: Crown Point Tavern,  (2631 Northeast Vivion Road, North Kansas City) is a gastropub serving street tacos, sandwiches, salads and small plates. And C. Frogs (3935 West 69th Terrace, Prairie Village), a higher-end remake of the Chocolate Frog space (itself a do-over of the restaurant portion of movie theater Standees), serves barbecue, steaks and whiskey cocktails.

Thursday, August 25
Speaking of the Village, Dolce Bakery (3930 West 69th Terrace, Prairie Village) this evening (6-8 p.m.) offers the season’s final Sweet Summer Nights event. That means fresh fruit cobblers, including cherry, mixed berry and classic peach, each topped with local fancy ice creams.
Friday, August 26
If you’re vegan or ever have been, then you know what it means to give up cheese. But it doesn’t have to be a total sacrifice; tonight at the Berg Event Space (1525 Grand), you can sample a variety of nut-based cheeses, along with wine and background music, at “But I Can’t Give up Cheese,” an event hosted by VegFest Kansas City and Voice for Animals Kansas City. For $30, you get three types of cheese, two glasses of wine, and dessert from Mud Pie. Advance tickets are required; get them from Eventbrite.

Saturday, August 27
Kansas City’s woeful lack of Turkish food turns into a one-day bounty at the Turkish Food Festival, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 4215 Shawnee Drive in KCK. The festival is free to enter and features kebabs, gyros, lahmajoon (Turkish pizza; do not skip this), salads, appetizers and more. Turkish artists will demonstrate water-marbling and henna techniques, and, somewhat randomly, there will also be a pow-wow drum circle from Haskell University as well as a dance group from the Congo. The event is presented by the Dialogue Institute of Kansas City and the Raindrop Foundation.
Sunday, August 29
Carlos Falcon of Jarocho Pescados y Mariscos (719 Kansas Avenue, KCK) has been one of the metro’s most-celebrated chefs this year, and tonight you can meet him. He’s putting on a nine-course dinner with drink pairings, titled “Mexico by Way of Missouri,” in partnership with Soil Collective. There are two seating times, at 5:30 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m., and the dinner price is $145 a head (excluding tax and gratuity). To reserve your seat, e-mail jarochoks@gmail.com.

KC Wineworks (1829 McGee) is debuting its sparkling rosé today at a brunch-and-bubbles event. Your $65 ticket includes brunch catered by the Sundry, some bubbly and a bottle to take home. The event also features a Q&A with the winemaker. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Blind Box BBQ (13214 West 62nd Terrace, Shawnee) is celebrating its first birthday today by debuting a brand-new brunch menu, which promises to bring together late-riser breakfast and barbecue, two of life’s finest things. Brunch  will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Categories: Food & Drink