Sutera’s, Poco’s among August’s restaurant closings

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August is never a great month for restaurants, no matter what the circumstances.

As the conclusion to summer (or, as Henry Rollins calls it, “the summer’s last messenger of misery”), the hot and heavy month means all kinds of rivals to restaurant business: Kids go back to school, county fairs come, tight budgets (summer vacations can be expensive, you know) get tighter, and the usual end-of-season ennui sets in.

August in Kansas City proved to be a good month for restaurant openings — more on that later — but bittersweet for several businesses that waved the white flag and called it a day.

Today is the last day for the 11-year-old Sutera’s Restaurant & Bar, at 4730 Rainbow in Westwood. The saloon half of the venue was a popular neighborhood hangout; the dining room hadn’t been particularly busy for some time.

There were high hopes for the tiny space at 240 Linwood when Claudia Endicott announced, last March, that she was taking over the location for a carr-out and catering operation called Poco’s, after her late mother’s restaurant at 3063 Southwest Boulevard, which was shuttered the same month after a long run. But the Linwood Poco’s was nearly as short-lived as the previous tenant, Scott Welsch’s Orange Box luncheonette, which came and went in three months. Located across the street from the midtown Costco, this storefront — once part of the original Lamar’s Doughnuts — has had trouble keeping long-term tenants, though Jose Garcia has recently signed a lease to put in an outpost of his Johnson County Latin American restaurant, El Porton Cafe. Perhaps he can break the curse on a building that has housed, in recent years, King Shark, Gyro House and Fire Burgers, among others.

Local confectioner Natasha Goellner closed her pretty little Plaza shop, Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott, at 320 Ward Parkway, on August 16. That venue was always a temporary location for Goellner, who lost her former Plaza shop in the building that once housed the former Halls Department Store. That entire building in in the process of renovation, and Goellner says she’ll return to that space at some future date.

The least surprising August closing: the two-month-old Texas Tom’s at 3360 Troost. Lousy location, lousy food.

A closed restaurant that reopened, finally, in August was Meg Heriford’s Ladybird Diner in Lawrence.

Notable openings during August included:

Republica, the new Spanish-influenced restaurant from Alan Gaylin’s Bread & Butter Concepts.

Spices Asian Restaurant in North Kansas City.

Woody’s Classic Sports Pub, from the local owners of the Hamburger Mary’s franchise, at 3740 Broadway.

A July opening that really hit its stride (and changed its name) in August: Hearth Bread Co. in Weston, Missouri — the family-owned business also serves breakfast.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink