Big Belly’s- New Restaurant in South Waldo

Everyone likes to try a new restaurant…especially if it’s a small, locally owned place. And, most everyone likes Italian food!  So, bring your hungry belly to Waldo’s newest Italian restaurant, Big Belly’s at 8940 Wornall!

Owner Josh Drake has teamed up with chef Ken Viereck and Jessica Gattenby to create a friendly, casual, family oriented place, focusing on scratch cooking and a variety of meal options.  Josh and Ken have a food service background: Ken learned cooking from his parents and over the years, tweaked the recipes.  Josh has a catering company that’s nominated for Caterer of the Year from WedKC.  Josh looked at several locations for the restaurant, and settled on this spot after a friend who owns Social in Waldo recommended it. There was already a  kitchen in the back, and plenty of space for tables, a bar and parking.  “I know Waldo is a community of many types of people: families, blue collar workers, young professionals, older folks—and that’s the type of community I wanted to be in” Josh says.  “When I picture myself in 20 years, I think of LC’s Barbeque.  I went there once a week, and the owner was always at a table, doing paperwork, chatting with the regulars, greeting people as they walk in.  That’s what I want this place to be. I want this place to be affordable for families and also a nice spot for date night”.

Ken Viereck, Jessica Gattenby and Josh Drake

Big Belly’s has a large menu—you’ll find several types of pasta, salads, and entrees that include two sides with garlic bread!  The most popular items so far are the chicken piccata, chicken parmesan and rattlesnake pasta.  There’s also a wide selection of appetizers, mac n’ cheese, and sliders, available in 2 and 3 item portions with sides included.  If you are craving pizza, Big Belly’s has you covered with their flatbread pizzas.  Jessica makes all the desserts fresh every day; after two days they are marked down to 99 cents.  Daily specials include the popular lasagna (only available on Thursdays); kids eat free on Tuesday and a pasta discount on Wednesdays.  And if you are feeding a crowd—check out their family meals and catering menu for Chiefs games, birthday parties and other celebrations. 

Hours for Big Belly’s are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-9pm and Sundays from 11am-8pm.  Stop in and fill up!

Plate Restaurant Reopens in East Brookside

Brookside’s beloved Italian fine dining restaurant, Plate, has reopened! It’s been a long wait neighbors, but worth it…Plate now seats more customers and features new menu items. I recently spoke with owner Christian Joseph about the reopening and his updated perspective regarding the restaurant.


Christian Joseph, Plate owner

First, a bit of background on Christian: he started out in the hospitality business in Salt Lake City under restaurateur Valter Nassi and moved on to become the assistant food and beverage director at the luxury Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. After a while he decided to go in a different direction, returning to college and obtaining a degree in healthcare, eventually working for Cerner Corporation. He was working full time at the software company when the original Plate opened.  This time around, Christian is totally focused on Plate and eventually plans to open more restaurants and businesses. He explained “I have a completely different restaurant mindset now, with a real focus on hospitality and culture, rather than just service.  I”m treating this like a start-up: the money made is invested back into the business.  We refer to our full-time employees as ‘professionals’, and they truly are. We provide health and dental insurance, paid time off and bonus incentives.  I want the staff to have a real sense of ownership here.” Joseph designed the new space and has rehired key employees from the original location. Plate can now comfortably seat 150 people inside, and when the new wrap around outdoor patio is completed (currently under construction), an additional 50 seats outside. There will be a private dining space seating 25 just across from the restaurant entrance. And once the patio opens, he’s creating a late-night lounge called Fiamma, (it means flames in Italian),  which will be the front half of the restaurant and patio. Fiamma will be open for drinks, a limited menu and tasteful lounge music on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 pm-1:30 am.


Plate interior

The new Plate has a much larger bar area and plenty of comfortable booths

And what about the food? Many of the old favorite dishes have returned, like the
Pappardelle Incredible. There are more pasta (fresh, made in-house) dishes to choose from with larger portions, and the lunch menu (served Friday, Saturday, Sunday) offers sandwiches, salads and pasta not found on the dinner menu. Plate has a full-time pastry chef who bakes bread in house and has created more dessert options. As for specialty cocktails, Christian offers a twist on those as well—the mixer ingredients are steeped like a tea, and then combined with alcohol. Customers can choose from 23 wines by the glass and five different water selections…plus happy hour is offered seven days a week from
4pm – 6pm at the bar with an accompanying  food menu!


Plate exterior

Exterior of the building-Plate is on the first floor. Street signage coming soon!

The new Plate opened May 17 and has been busy ever since. Reservations are available through a service called TOCK, on their website and Facebook page. Note there is no exterior signage for the restaurant yet—due to be installed with the patio roof. Plate is located on the first floor of the office building at 701 E 63 rd St, with covered parking in the garage to the east. Valet parking available Friday through  Sunday.
Support locally owned businesses with a visit to Plate soon…you’ll have a special dining experience with delicious food served in the friendly Brookside neighborhood atmosphere!