Restaurant Guide of KC™ - Kansas City Food + Travel Blog

  • Porto do Sul

    Brazilian Steakhouse

  • Harvest Table

    with an array of hot and cold items

  • Traditional Brazilian Steakhouse fare

    full Churrascaria experience

  • Offers a menu in the bar area

    for those in the mood for a lighter meal

  • Newly renovated second private dining room

    for your groups of up to 140 guests

Phil Bourne and Waldo Pizza

SPOTLIGHT: When a Pizza Place is Not JUST a Pizza Place . . .
Phil Bourne and Waldo Pizza

I caught Phil Bourne, owner of Waldo Pizza, twice in the last week – once at his restaurant, the other time on the phone.  Waldo Pizza has long been a favorite of ours – and almost everyone else in the broadly surrounding neighborhood as near as I could tell.  I’ve never been to the Lee’s Summit restaurant (1543 NE Douglas Street)

The pizza joint has been there since 1987; Phil bought it on April Fool’s Day in 1993.  Originally from St. Louis, he’d been in the record business for a while, but his brother owned a casual restaurant and he thought it might be fun.  He started working at Waldo Pizza two years earlier – from dishwasher to delivery person to waiter before the original owners said they were tired of it and Phil made them an offer.

Since then, he has basically turned it into simply the kind of pizza place he would enjoy himself.  It’s St. Louis pizza – thinner, crispier crust, lightly sauced, slightly on the sweet side with, mainly, a different cheese – a blend of provolone and mozzarella with cheddar and Munster.  This gives the pizza a richer taste which Phil says people either love or hate.  Most popular pizzas?  No surprise here – the pepperoni or the combo (with lots of meats).

What’s cool about Waldo Pizza, other than the pizza pan lighting fixtures, friendly servers, full bar, and delicious pizza, is that it just has what must be called “quirks.”  For instance, you just don’t see salad bars hardly at all anymore, and Waldo’s remains in place.  It’s a small one, but everything is very fresh with some different flavors.  For instance, there’s his mom’s pickled beet salad, a rice salad, pasta salad, and really, all the fixins you need.  They make all their own salad dressings but one (the fat free honey Dijon) and they are well known for their garlic ranch dressing – and people seem very happy to pour that one on, eliminating the healthiness of the entire salad bar. 

Another quirk has to be Phil’s love of desserts and how the list has gotten longer and longer because he just can’t take his new-found favorites off the list.  The butterscotch pudding is one reflection of Phil’s home-life where dessert was usually served at the family dinner.  There’s homemade ice cream as well as Ted Drewe’s famous custard from St. Louis.  The number one favorite is St. Louis gooey butter cake, which even beats a very decadent chocolate dessert or tiramisu.

Phil says his greatest pleasure of his business is the same as when he was in the record business – being able to share something that he likes with other people, “bringing love to the customers.”  That makes up for the everyday problems which sometimes can seem overwhelming . . . until he sees, and serves, his customers and they’re ohsohappy with what they’re eating.  Then Phil is, too.

Waldo Pizza                                                          Waldo Pizza Lee's Summit
 7433 Broadway,                                                  1543 N.E. Douglas, 
 Kansas City, MO 64114                                      Lee's Summit, MO 64086
 816-363-5242                                                     816-875-2121    

Waldo Pizza on Urbanspoon

Waldo Pizza on Urbanspoon


JJ's Restaurant will re-open this year in the Polsinelli Building on the West Plaza.

JJ’s restaurant plans to reopen in late summer in the new Plaza Vista building, 18-months after the original restaurant was demolished in a fiery explosion that killed one worker and injured others.

Jimmy Frantzes considered rebuilding on the original JJ’s site but it was too expensive. "It is ironic to start over in the Plaza Vista site", Jimmy said. The new restaurant is going to have a prominent location with a large outdoor patio overlooking Roanoke, and the complex offered abundant parking.

As for the original JJ’s site, a corner yellow brick facade and front entryway tile are nearly all that remain. The Frantze brothers haven’t decided what they will do with the property.

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Cafe Provence - Crepes!

Crepes with Raspberry-Balsamic Glaze and Mascarpone Ice Cream
Serves 8
Total Time: 1 hour

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons butter, melted (plus additional for cooking)
3 eggs
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh raspberries
8 Tblsp balsamic vinegar reduction*
4 tablespoons sugar

Cafe Provence Mascarpone Ice Cream*
*Available at French Market.

1. In a blender, process the flour, milk, water, butter, sugar, eggs and salt in a blender until the mixture is smooth. Add the milk 1/3 cup at a time, until the batter is a liquid consistency. Set batter aside for 20 minutes. (Resting the batter is very important.)

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the raspberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes. Crush the cooked berries and strain the mixture, if desired, before serving. (Note: For more berry flavor, you can add additional fresh raspberries into the balsamic reduction.)

3. Once the batter has rested 20 minutes, melt a little butter in a crepe pan or large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan and swirl until the bottom of the pan is covered with batter. Cook the crepe until the crepe is slightly moist on top and golden underneath. Loosen the edges of the crepe, slide the spatula under it, and then gently flip it upside down into the pan. Cook for 1 minute and transfer the cooked crepe to a plate to keep warm.

4. When ready to serve, fill with ice cream and drizzle with the raspberry-balsamic glaze. Garnish with fresh berries. Note: Get creative with your crepe filling. In addition to the Mascarpone ice cream we sell at French Market, which is perfect with this recipe, you can also use Nutella, bananas, chocolate, strawberries, nuts, etc.

Bon App├ętit!

The Melting Pot on the Plaza by Chris Becicka

Cheese Whiz

Calm down.  It’s OK.  Not to worry.  You haven’t missed it YET. 
I’m trying to quell the savage cheese loving beast I live with.  He’s salivating over National Cheese  Fondue Day and worried he somehow, in the cold months of winter, missed it.
Again, calm.  Calm.  Focus.  For although National Cheese Lovers Day (January 20) is past, there is still . . .

April 11th

If you’re already a member of the Melting Pot’s Club Fondue, you’ve received the magic email that gives you specials in the month of April at the restaurant which has the creamy, decadent meal down to a fine art.  Luckily, National Cheese Fondue Day has kinda morphed into a month at the Fondue Pot’s Plaza location so I went early to taste and test – primarily because this is a place that’s fallen off my radar over the years.

What I discovered the other day, once downstairs, is a cozy yet big enough restaurant with spaces for families, celebrations, happy hours, and romantic trysts.  This must  be one of the few restaurants with many curtain-enclosed booths for two and a policy for no interruptions should you wish that.  Our threesome passed on that and sat in a large booth with two oblong heating trays embedded in the table top.  The fondue pots sit on those and all the many accompaniments surround the melted cheese (or chocolate) concoctions.  Long skewers and silverware and small plates are provided and no one seems to notice when your cheese drips on the tablecloth.  
However, if you drop your bread or veggie into the cheese pot off the skewer, I’m told that in France, one must perform a dare devised by one’s companions.  Wonderful, fun custom – to which I replied that we were in Missouri as I valiantly tried to separate the now fully loaded hunk of bread from its gooey surroundings. 
Although you can order salads or individual entrees or even a “four course experience,” we opted for two fondues:  a zesty cheddar made with PBR, 20% Swiss, and some other stuff.  It was full bodied and ohsocheesy.  The other we ordered was the Quattro Formaggio, which is not always on the menu.  This is four different cheeses (Butterkase, Gruyere, Parmesan, and Fontina) which blended together perfectly with a bit of Chablis, pesto and marinara sauces, etc.    I have to say this one was my favorite, with each bite tasting a little bit different due to the sauces.
Despite being full, we yielded to our persuasive (and extremely personable) waiter, Alex, for chocolate fondue as well.  Two kinds.  One milk, one dark. Oh yum.  Dippers included marshmallows, pound cake, brownies, strawberries and other fruits, blondies – all delicious, especially in the dark chocolate with candied orange concoction. 

Oh, did I forget to mention the cocktails?  Along with many wines, there are many, beautiful and tasty.
Here I must say we were NOT going to drink, but somehow managed to down three different ones, the most spectacular being the yin and yang which was dessert in a glass.  The “love martini” with its heart-shaped strawberry slices was much lighter, still delicious. 

Since The Melting Pot is back on my radar, next I’m going to try their fine looking happy hour.  They’re truly a whiz with cheese.

The Melting Pot
450 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64112

Melting Pot on Urbanspoon

14th Street Wine Walk is April 26th!

Join us for the 14th Street Wine Walk
Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Stroll along 14th Street in the Power & Light District and enjoy various wines and tasting plates at each participating venue.

GA tickets are $25 & VIP tickets are $40.
Proceeds benefit the Young Leadership Committee of JDRF.  
Must be 21+. General Admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $40. Limited tickets available. Buy tickets at #KCWineWalk

Circling Back to Chefs . . .by Chris Becicka

Talking with Ken Baker

My last heart-to-heart was a few months ago with Celina Tio of Julian, Collection, and The Belfry. The other day I got to spend a little quality time with Ken Baker, Proprietor and Chef at Pachamama’s in Lawrence.  I love talking with professionals like him who are articulate, interesting and fun, all at the same time. 

First, if you’ve not been to this shiny restaurant for a while, hike on back.  It’s got a very cool vibe (how much does that term age me?) and an expanded (Star) Bar and outdoor dining area, should we ever be able to eat outside again.  Their happy hour with specials every night is worth the trip alone.
But enough of that.  I wanted to know about the man wearing the apron. Turns out he started his own catering business in high school.  He was mostly inspired by a neighbor in the food industry from Africa who loved to cook – and gave Ken his first set of knives.  After graduating from KU (in political science), graduating from the California Culinary Academy, stints in New Orleans, Australia, New Zealand, Teller’s in Lawrence, and Pachamama’s, he bought the restaurant in 2002. The restaurant moved and certainly reincarnated itself much more glamorously in 2006 to its current location on Massachusetts.  

He (mostly) loves being a chef and owner. He told me cheffing is a matter of “being able to create with hands and mind.  It’s instant satisfaction – we get results and feedback right away, not six months later in a performance review.  I also know that people don’t work for me, they work for everyone who walks in door.” 

I like the fact that you can eat here inexpensively, or not.  Their burger at happy hour is terrific.  Bar food choices are plentiful.  You can also be very adventurous – goat, rabbit, duck, homemade sausage.  Beautiful food; hearty food; all kinds.  Ken likes his specials, especially, and regulars agree with him.

Finally, I asked Ken what he’d say if his now six-year-old son eventually said he’d like to be a chef just like dad.  “Get your feet wet.  Try the business. It’s really hard work.  Terrible hours.  Few holidays.  Back and feet issues. But the immediacy of your work can be really rewarding.  And it’s so creative.  I love that.”

Me, too.

800 New Hampshire, Lawrence, KS 66044
One block east of Massachusetts on 8th Street

Pachamama's on Urbanspoon

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