7 Kansas City Restaurants and Bars Are Semifinalists for the James Beard Awards | KCUR 89.3

A contemporary Thai restaurant, a $150-per-person supper club and a tortilleria are among seven Kansas City-area businesses named James Beard Foundation semifinalists 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” the James Beard Awards are announced in three phases: semi-finalists, nominees and winners.

Here are the local restaurants and chefs who made it in both the national and regional categories this year. From this group, the finalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 29th and an awards ceremony for the winners is scheduled for June 5th.

Semifinalists from the Kansas City area

The National Award semi-finalists were selected from a pool of national nominees.

Outstanding Chef: Johnny Leach, The Town Company

Rustic yet sophisticated, Town Company is located in the downtown Kansas City Hotel and is helmed by Executive Chef Johnny Leach. He and his wife, executive pastry chef Helen Jo Leach, create seasonal menus along with their elevated versions of popular Midwestern dishes. On the stream Menu are dishes like a Chilean smoked pork chop, ricotta dumplings and a buttermilk cheesecake with stone fruit.

The city society at the Hotel Kansas City

Michael Robinson | RW2 productions


The Town Company at Hotel Kansas City was recently recognized as Restaurant of the Year by Kansas City Magazine.

Outstanding Bakery: Yoli Tortilleria

This is the second year in a row that Yoli Tortilleria has entered for a James Beard Award. Last year, Mexican Tortilleria and its owners, Marissa and Mark Gencarelli, made history as the first tortilla bakery to be nominated in any category. Yoli has a few locations: a retail location on the Westside where flour tortillas are made, and a manufacturing location in the West Bottoms where corn tortillas are made.

Outstanding Bar: Drastic measures

Located off Johnson Drive in downtown Shawnee, Kansas, Drastic Measures is a playful cocktail bar that serves just that: cocktails. No wine or beer allowed. The pole is outfitted with soft lighting, cozy lounge areas and a ruler bartop (Drastic Middle . . . Got it?).

It is Menu offers 13 creative cocktails for $13 each, including “Deadeye Diaz” (mezcal, passion fruit, ancho chile, lime, and chilli-spiked olive oil) and “The Roll Up” (overproof rum washed with cinnamon buns, white rum, Falernum and lime). ).

Outstanding hospitality: The restaurant around 1900

Lies in the 1900 buildingknown for its bright white “tulip” columns, in Mission Woods, Kansas, The Restaurant at 1900 is a contemporary restaurant and bar. Executive Chef Linda Duerr uses seasonal ingredients to create modern American lunch and dinner menus, with dishes such as braised short-rib grilled cheese and Jerusalem artichoke risotto with black truffle and scallops.

The semifinalists for the regional award were selected from the states of the Midwest: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Best Chef Midwest

Nick Goellner, The Antler Room: Located near Hospital Hill in Kansas City, The Antler Room is owned and operated by Nick and Leslie Goellner. According to her website, Nick Goellner has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award. your menus change daily and are inspired by seasonal ingredients – on Wednesdays there was rabbit confit with kale tortellini and roasted beets with brie.

Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room: Chef Michael Corvino has received a handful of awards and a few nominations for James Beard in the past. At the Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room at the Crossroads, Corvino creates modern American dishes using ingredients and techniques from his international travels – her seaweed donuts have even been featured in the New York Times in December. A 10-course tasting menu costs about $150 per person, but you can also dine a la carte. The restaurant has a bar and extensive wine listas well as live music.

pam liberda, Walter Thai: Chef Pam Liberda was born in northern Thailand, where her mother taught her to cook. At her cozy neighborhood restaurant, Waldo Thai (in, you guessed it…Waldo), Liberda gets creative Thai food to share – some traditional, some less so. The menu currently features a tempura Amish chicken, a pork belly curry and a whole fried snapper. She has opened eight restaurants with her husband, Teddy Liberda.

Pam Liberda, the executive chef of Waldo Thai.

Other semifinalists from Kansas and Missouri

Best Chef Midwest

Adam VanDonge, The white linenTopeka, Kansas

Nick Bognar, iNDOSt Louis, Missouri

rob connoley, CattailsSt Louis, Missouri

Loryn Nalic, Balkan treat boxWebster Groves, Missouri

Outstanding restaurateur

Michael and Tara Gallina and Aaron Martinez, root hospitality (Bistro La Floraison, Vicia restaurantand Other), St.Louis, Missouri

Outstanding bakery

La Patisserie ChouquetteSt Louis, Missouri

Outstanding bar

The Gin RoomSt Louis, Missouri


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