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Spotlight on: Chef Bobby Stearns of Ophelia’s

You probably don’t think of Independence Square as the dining mecca of the Kansas City metro area.  But one talented guy is doing his best to make you think of taking the short trek to Independence if you’ve not been there before. 

Chef Bobby Stearns has been serving up fine cuisine in very contemporary surroundings at Ophelia’s for the last two plus years.  He started really young (junior high!) and worked in several restaurants in every possible capacity, from washing dishes to serving to frying.  The works, in other words.  That includes corporate owned restaurants, a country club, local places from KT’s Fried Chicken to head chef of Taste in Overland Park.  He says a good chef needs all that experience in all those different places – they are where he learned attention to detail, cooking clean as he goes, and meticulous organization.  

He also went to Broadmoor Technical Center in high school where he studied in their culinary program.  From there, he attended the Johnson County Hospitality and Culinary Academy.   Basically, he’s been cooking since he’s 14 – and another 14 years later, he says he has no regrets.  “I like the variety and the creativity” in “cheffing” at Ophelia’s he says.   “There’s always something going on, with seasonal menus, brunches, and special occasions. I am constantly creating new dishes for our extensive catering requests and now I’m working on all the menus for all our restaurants out here.” 

Christmas season is frenetic for this chef, so there’s not much time to indulge in his favorite sports.  When he does manage to kick back, he might be in his own kitchen, making a pasta dish as he watches football or basketball.  But he also says he’s REALLY happy if he’s being served and NOT cooking.  A self-proclaimed sports nut, he also admits to being fond of partying a bit in Westport or Power and Light.  But mostly, he works.

Growing up on the Kansas side, Chef Stearns had never been to Independence before taking a job there.  “We do get people from Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit all the time,” he says.  “Places like the Plaza and downtown are pretty corporate.  That’s fine.  But if people want something local, something different, they should come here and be surprised.”   

And if the 20 or 30 minute drive is somehow too long for you, you could reserve one of seven rooms and one suite at The Inn of Ophelia’s – it’s just up the stairs above the restaurant in this historic building.  But as Chef Bobby points out, the drive is only five or six songs away . . . or you could always call your mother on the way.

Ophelia's Restaurant & Inn
201 North Main
Independence, MO 64050
Ph. 816- 461-4525 

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