Il Lazzarone gets real, Conroy’s comes to Westwood, Bun Bros. pops up, and other restaurant news

In the restaurant business, there are tips and there are … tips. Take, for instance, the phone call I received the other day from an acquaintance who promised me something in the latter category.

“Guess who is moving into the old Sutera’s location in Westwood?” she said. She was talking about 4730 Rainbow, which, for 11 years until its closing a few months ago, was home to Sutera’s Restaurant & Bar. “McCoy’s!”

This turned out to be neither gratuity nor scoop. McCoy’s Public House is not taking over the Westwood space.

“I don’t even know where the Sutera’s location was,” says Mark Kelpe, who co-owns Beer KC Restaurants — parent of McCoy’s — with James Westphal. “Yesterday, I got a phone call asking me if we’re opening a restaurant on the Plaza. We’re not, by the way. But the rumor mill has us opening restaurants all over the city.”
So what is going into the former Sutera’s location?

In six weeks or so, the venue will open as the second location of Conroy’s Public House, the Gaelic-inspired saloon in Overland Park at 5285 West 95th Street. It’s owned by Ray Dunlea (former co-owner of Waldo’s the Gaf), Pat Walsh (of Walsh’s Corner Cocktails) and Conroy’s general manager Travis Leroux.
Leroux tells The Pitch that the Westwood Conroy’s will have a menu much like the one at its big-brother restaurant — burgers, pizza, fried chicken, fish and chips — and similar décor.

Conroy’s is an example of a restaurant owner succeeding in one part of the metro hoping to strike gold again in a different part of KC. It’s also an example of the principle that certain place names sound familiar enough to sow a little confusion. In fact, some place names sound alike even when the places are not; neither Overland Park’s nor Westwood’s Conroy’s Public House bears any connection to the Conroy’s Pub in Lawrence (3115 West Sixth Street).

Speaking of Lawrence, the new Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar in Lawrence, which opened March 31 at 947 New Hampshire (in what once was Mirth Café), is connected not to the old Bay Leaf cooking shop (which closed in 2011, after 35 years) but to an Indian restaurant in Wichita. Kuldip Singh, co-owner of Wichita’s Passage to India restaurant, is the primary investor in Bayleaf, which offers an array of tandoori dishes, vegan offerings and traditional Indian specialties. Nav Chawla, formerly the chef at Passage to India, is chef and co-owner at Bayleaf — which is across the street from the India Palace, at 129 East 10th Street. Which hasn’t had a connection to the India Palace restaurant in Overland Park since 2004.

Got it? Good. In other restaurant news:

Erik Borger, the chef-owner of Il Lazzarone pizzeria in the River Market (and that restaurant’s original location, at 1628 Frederick Avenue in St. Joseph), has obtained approval from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana to authorize the newer restaurant as serving authentic Neapolitan pizza. (The St. Joseph restaurant received its imprimatur from the Naples-based organization in 2014.)

LaBruzzo’s Sweet Oven, the Italian bakery at 520 Walnut, closed on February 27, after 14 months in business. Two other recently cooled ovens: Fat Guy Bakery & Café (5536 Troost) is now empty (not a shock; what kind of bakery doesn’t open until 10 a.m.?), and the Amor Dolci Bakery (3709 Southwest Trafficway) no longer has a working phone number.

On a more upbeat baked-goods note: Jef Dover, the proprietor of the Le Monde Bakery (308 Armour Road, North Kansas City), is expanding the size of the patisserie he opened in 2001, having leased an adjoining storefront. Long limited by the small size of his shop’s original footprint, Dover says he’ll be able to increase his dining area (now only four tables). He also plans to begin producing and selling New York-style kosher bagels and Polish bialys this year.

Chef Kenneth E. Booth, who plans to open a steamed-bun shop in the metro later this year, is hosting a pop-up Bun Bros. shop at the Hen House Market in Prairie Village at 4050 West 83rd Street at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. Booth says he’s bringing 100 pork buns and 100 vegan Curryman buns, which will go for $5 each. 

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink