South of Summit Taco Joint (has been) Open in Waldo

One of my favorite Waldo restaurants is Summit Grill.   In the Before Times, I would often take clients there for lunch, or meet friends for happy hour.  They have an extensive menu, prepare their own salad dressings on site (very important to me!) and have the best French Dip sandwich I’ve tasted in KC.  The food is always fresh and the service is good. Hubby and I went there recently for an early dinner.

summit front


Anyway,  I was excited to hear the same owners opened up South of Summit Taqueria and Tequila right next door, in the former Summit Grill events space.  I visited this new taco spot in early March, all ready to post a blog about it–then BAM, the Shutdown. Posting it now!


summit inside

South of Summit is a smaller  space than Summit Grill, with an open and casual vibe.  The servers wear tee shirts that state Viva Waldo! printed on the back–gotta love the Waldo pride!  After examining the menu, there are a couple of things to point out:  all tacos are priced under $4, and sides are just $2-$4.  The taco shells are made fresh in house, and can include a crispy melted cheese, grilled on the flat top. There are larger main dish items as well, including an enchilada and burrito. I appreciate the smaller portions–so you can  have just one taco and a side–as well as a larger, full meal.  If you are a tequila lover– South of Summit has a huge selection !  Happy hour happens every day  from 3-6, featuring $4 house margaritas, $3 beers and a several  half price appetizers plus discounted tacos.  Dine in service is back; there is also a shaded outdoor patio. And you can order online for pick up. 

South of Summit is open seven days a week, at 516 W 75th St, just west of 75th and Wornall.

summit patio


Bibibop Asian Grill Now Open in Waldo

bibibop front

My office mates have been raving about this new restaurant in Waldo, located in the former Pizza Locale spot next door to Chipotle at 505 W 75th St.  It’s a fast casual spot, set up assembly line style and based on Korean foods and flavors, named Bibibop.


bibibop managerI stopped by this week to take a look –I haven’t eaten there yet and I’m not a food critic anyway!  I was impressed  the first thing I saw was four employees, including assistant general manager Patricia Allen,  conducting a food tasting for quality, taste and appearance before the lunch rush.  The other impressive aspect of this place is the amount of food you get for the price–the plate is piled high with all of the fresh ingredients you choose–easily a full pound of food that could feed two, or at least enough for leftovers!    The base of your food “bowl” can be rice, green salad or Japanese noodles.  Proteins include two types of chicken (one is spicy), steak, and tofu.  And there’s a maze of toppings:  hot choices are black beans, sprouts, and potatoes, plus ten cold toppings (veggies, etc).  There are six sauce options, which you can taste before you order at a station by the soft drinks–that’s so handy for those who aren’t sure which to try and for picky children!  All of this food, on one plate, for under $10!  Extra options include kimchi, fresh pineapple and miso soup.  There are a few seats if you want to dine in.

Bibibop was started by Korean native Charley Shin in Ohio, back in 2013.  There are now locations in seven states, all corporately owned.  Patricia tells me two new KC locations are coming: at Oak Park Mall and Corbin Park.  If you haven’t tried Bibibop yet, bring a can of food with you to get $2 off  your dish through December 14 (in conjunction with Harvesters).  Hours are 10:30am-9:30pm Monday through Saturday and Sunday 11am-9pm.

Welcome to Waldo, Bibibop!

bibibop food

Waldo Welcomes a New Restaurant-Brick+Mortar

You may have heard that a new restaurant opened in the former Tanner’s location in Waldo…it’s called Brick+Mortar.  I stopped by last week to check out the space and was quite surprised…the food on this menu is not your usual bar and grill fare, which is what I was expecting.  Read on for details!

Brick tables and bar

First, a bit of background:  This is the second location for a Brick+Mortar, following the first in Santa Monica and a third  planned for Pittsburgh.  The two owners, Travis Lester and Justin Schafer, started a restaurant company called BRG, with seven other concepts and restaurants.  They chose to expand into Kansas City, bringing a west coast vibe to the midwest. Surrounded by neighborhoods and other local business, Waldo seemed like a great location to settle into.

Brick muralWalking into Brick+Mortar, you’ll find two large garage door windows opening to the street; several TVs, two bars and a small outdoor patio.  There’s a large mural dominating one wall, featuring the skyline of Kansas City. General Manager Brandi Wilmes says “Our atmosphere is for everyone, with a female driven environment. With our elevated bar food menu, we think it’s a place everyone will find welcoming. We have a full scratch kitchen, everything is made fresh in house including our hand cut pastas and the chitarra has become one of my favorite menu items.  Our mixologist worked at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and has created a more sophisticated bar menu including our most popular drink-  the Flower Bomb”. That’s  a tequila based cocktail with citrus and in house made ginger syrup. The “bomb” aspect of the drink comes from the flower garnish that is the “buzz button” : a szechuan flower that creates a strong tingling, numbing and mouth-watering sensation, fully opening your tastebuds to the unique flavor.  Popular food menu items include the ahi tuna poke, the in-house rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and grilled fish tacos.  There’s also hamachi crudo, octopus, amazing burgers and several small plates. Brisket is ground in house—served with fresh cut fries. Brandi also mentioned the atmosphere is “energetic and new, with entertainment 5 days a week”, which could be a live band or DJ.

Brick+Mortar has some great food specials on Monday ($1 burger) and Tuesday ($2 tacos) 6pm-close with the purchase of a drink. Wednesday’s special is “boards and bottles”- ½ priced bottles of wine and ½ priced cheese, charcuterie and brie boards.  They are open seven days a week, with happy hour Monday-Friday from 3-6:30, a late night kitchen menu from 11pm-2:30am, and brunch 10am-4pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Brick+Mortar is located at 7425 Broadway, just south of The Well.  Chances are their menu has something that will catch your eye the next time you are looking for a new place to eat!

Brick front

New Ramen Bar Now Open in Waldo


The much anticipated ramen bar, Boru, is now open in Waldo at 500 W75th St.  I haven’t eaten there yet–but everyone I know wants to try it! I hear it’s very busy during typical lunch and dinner hours. Another hot spot for Brookside/Waldo diners!

A little background:  Owners Andy Lock and Domhall Molloy also own the successful Summit Grill, just west of Boru.  The culinary director, Po Wang, is a native of Taiwan.

Boru’s  website offers menu details and a very helpful glossary for those folks not familiar with this type of cuisine.  Featured options include steamed baos (buns stuffed with goodies); several salads (including  cold noodle and crispy Brussel sprout ), ramen bowls with ‘add on’ options (egg, pork belly, tofu), plus a kids’ menu, full bar (with sake of course!) and happy hour specials. It all sounds delicious and so different from the usual Waldo bar food and restaurant spots.

Boru (it means bowl in Japanese) is open seven days a week at the corner of 75th and Washington– and accepts reservations through Open Table. Thank you for supporting our locally owned businesses!


New Waldo Restaurant Serves Breakfast Too!

The title of this new Waldo restaurant says it all up front: Game Day Chicken Wings, Burgers & Fish. Located at 8950 Wornall Road, this spot used to be The Cook Shack. Kelvin Powell and his wife Rischa Rayon opened the place in September 2014 and serve tasty home-style cookin’ all day long…so let’s find out more about this local Waldo business!

Game Day Chicken Wings, Burgers & Fish in Waldo

Game Day Chicken Wings, Burgers & Fish in Waldo

I stopped by earlier this week and visited with Rischa about what’s on the menu. She emphasized that fresh, not frozen, meat and fish are served: handmade burger patties, fresh chicken wings fried in their own special batter, and real fresh potatoes are used for the hash browns and country potatoes. Fish selections include catfish, basa and tilapia. The Game Day menu also offers several food combos so you can choose what suits you: for example, wings and your choice of sides (mac & cheese, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes and fries/tots/onion rings).

One aspect of Game Day Chicken Wings, Burgers & Fish that sets it apart is the breakfast menu. I was trying to think of another Brookside/Waldo area restaurant that serves a full breakfast –and only came up with The Classic Cup. At Game Day, breakfast is a busy time and they serve it all: freshly made biscuits, cinnamon rolls, oatmeal, eggs, grits, gravy, pancakes, waffles and side meats. The prices are reasonable and the portions are large–one cinnamon roll can feed at least two persons!

Rischa Rayon

Rischa Rayon

Rischa explained this restaurant is a family affair–for now, employees are relatives as they get the business established. They appreciate all of their customers, and set prices so area residents can afford to stop in often. It’s a place that has that special small neighborhood feel, where the staff will take the time to get to know you after a couple of visits. Enjoy this comfort food as you chat with Rischa at the counter, keep an eye on the TV or people watch out the large windows. In the spring, they plan to get a liquor license and have a small patio for outdoor dining during warmer weather.

During December and the cold winter months, the hours can vary a bit. In general, the restaurant is open Tuesday-Thursday 8am-7pm, Friday/Saturday 8am-9pm and Sundays 8am-4pm. Visit their Facebook page or website for more information…also, the Game Day staff will cater and reserve the restaurant for private events. Stop by and try this new Waldo dining spot!

Governor Stumpy’s – A Brookside Restaurant for Everyone

Kevin Ryan, owner of Gov Stumpy's. Sitting beneath a picture of his kids!

Kevin Ryan, owner of Gov Stumpy’s. Sitting beneath a picture of his kids!

One of the many charms of living in the Brookside/Waldo area are the locally owned shops and restaurants.  Regular customers are greeted with a warm

Governor Stumpy's in Brookside

Governor Stumpy’s in Brookside

welcome and a sincere desire to please. Newcomers are encouraged to return; their comments solicited.  This is  the atmosphere of Governor Stumpy’s at 321 E Gregory.  And it’s all because of the owner/operator, Kevin  Ryan.

Whenever I am driving potential homebuyers around the Brookside/Waldo neighborhoods, they always comment on how much they like the fact that residents can walk to various services.  Governor Stumpy’s is perfectly situated on the corner of Gregory and Oak, within easy walking or biking distance from the nearby homes.  I love to enjoy a meal on the outdoor deck during the warmer months.  Plus, families with children are very comfortable here.

Kevin started out in the restaurant business working for Tippin’s.  After working for years for someone else, he decided to open his own place in 1997.  The Stumpy’s  location was the site of the old Leonard’s restaurant.  After an extensive renovation and opening with a more formal atmosphere–the place almost didn’t make it.  Kevin soon learned the patrons wanted a casual restaurant, so he revamped the place to cater to what his customers wanted.

When you walk in Governor Stumpy’s, you get that “Cheers” (TV show) sort of feeling.  Someone always says ‘hello’ and service is attentive.  If you come in often, the staff will learn your name. You can sit at the bar and watch a game or strike up a conversation with the bartender.  Slip into a comfortable booth and order from the reasonably priced food menu:  pizza, pastas, appetizers, burgers, salads and sandwiches.  Ryan says his best sellers include the baby back ribs, Posnanski’s Chicken Spedini Pasta and the Reuben.

Patrick Ryan, owner of Gov Stumpy's. Sitting beneath a picture of his kids!

Patrick Ryan, owner of Gov Stumpy’s. Sitting beneath a picture of his kids!

Ryan lives in Lees Summit with his wife and three kids.  He loves the restaurant and has worked very hard to make it a success.  He’s thought about opening additional locations but  doesn’t want to give up his current ‘quality of life’.  Sometimes he works days, sometimes nights, and he can arrange his schedule to be around for family events, sports practices, homework, etc.  If he had another restaurant it would cut into his family time too much.  He’s quite comfortable with the way it all balances out right now.

What’s next for Governor Stumpy’s?  Ryan has plans to enclose the deck this year  and wants to bring back the Celtic Block Party he used to host annually over the Memorial Day weekend.  He’s looking for a benefactor for that event. The menu still features a quarterly special series of food items that benefit a local charity (currently Big Brothers and Big Sisters).  Ryan is also participating in the local Dancing with the Stars competition to benefit Cristo Rey High School.  He’s been practicing with a professional dancer and hopes to raise the most money during the event on March 29.  (You can vote early here, and watch a short promo video below.)

The next time you think ‘let’s go out and grab a bite to eat’ –think about stopping by Governor Stumpy’s.  Thank you for supporting locally owned Brookside/Waldo businesses!

KC Restaurant Week – Participating Brookside/Waldo Restaurants

Are you getting burned out  making dinner every night?  Do you need an excuse to call a friend and grab lunch to break up the workday?  Is there a locally owned KC restaurant you’ve always wanted to try??  Here’s my suggestion:  make plans now to dine out during Kansas City Restaurant Week January 17-26, 2014.

Participating restaurants are offering a two course $15 lunch and/or three course $33 dinner.  This is a real deal folks–most of the dining spots are locally owned and a portion of the proceeds benefits Harvesters-The Community Food Network. You’ll get an excellent meal at a  favorite dining spot…you can try a new place…you can earn dining points if you make reservations through Open Table!

For a sneak peak at the special menus lined up,  visit the Harvesters website and follow the links.  Below is a list of participating restaurants in the Brookside/Waldo areas:

Louie’s Wine Dive

Michael Forbes Grille

75th St Brewery

Remedy Food and Drink

The Well

I suggest you make reservations early in the week…this is a popular event in Kansas City and many restaurants will fill up fast!  Thanks for supporting Harvesters and our locally owned businesses.

Waldo’s 75th St Brewery Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

For twenty years now, the 75th Street Brewery  (520 W 75th St, just west of Wornall) has been serving locally brewed beer and tasty made-from-scratch foods to Waldo and Brookside residents.  This Saturday they are kicking off a week-long celebration of their anniversary, with daily food and drink specials.

I’ve been a fan of this place for a long time..even though I’m not a beer drinker, we eat there often because the food and service are good, and they welcomed our kids for dining when they were smaller.  I appreciate their 600 calories or less menu selections, the tasty sweet potato fries and the pizzas are delicious!

With so many beer pubs popping up in the metro area, it’s important to note  the 75th Street Brewery started it all as they claim to be KC’s first brewpub.  Although Saturday’s  Summer Beer Fest is sold out , you can still stop by at 3pm and meet the original brewmaster, Tom Richer and try the 20th anniversary beer, Imperial Stout.  On Monday August 19, the menu will feature throwback pricing to 1993, and on Thursday you can buy 75 cent pints of any of their flagship brews.  For other specials during the week–check out their Facebook page, as unfortunately, there is no mention of the big anniversary celebration on their website (as of this writing).

The 75th Street Brewery is part of the KC Hopps restaurant chain, locally owned and operated. Other restaurants in the group include The Blue Moose, 810 Zone and Barley’s Brewhaus.  Happy Anniversary to the 75th Street Brewery.. one of Waldo’s best casual restaurants!

Good Mexican Food–Chelly’s Cafe in Waldo

Just as I  started to fix dinner on a recent Friday night, our neighbor calls.  “Let’s go out for Mexican food!” he says.  I picture a  frosty margarita, a night off from cooking and immediately agree!  So we head over to Chelly’s’ Cafe in Waldo.

Chelly's Café in Waldo

Chelly’s Café in Waldo

Chelly’s is one of those restaurants I’ve passed many times, but haven’t  tried.  All these years I’ve been living in Brookside–and have never stopped at  this nice little neighborhood dining spot!  It’s a family owned restaurant, located in strip mall on 85th St just east of Wornall Road . Open for about  eleven years, it’s the kind of place that gives you a lot of food for the  price, with quick service..  I started off with a  margarita in a large bowl glass that was just $5.  It felt like two drinks for the price of one.

For dinner, I ordered the Steak Tacos ($8.50).  They came in doubled shell corn tortillas, dressed with onion (raw, wish it had been grilled) and cilantro.  On the side was fresh lettuce,  a scoop of guacamole, rice, black beans and a lime wedge.  I ate two tacos and had enough left over for lunch the next day.  Very tasty.  I don’t remember what the rest of our group ordered, probably because we were all talking, but everyone liked their food.  Chelly’s has all of the usual selections you would expect in a Mexican restaurant, plus a hamburger and grilled chicken sandwich option .  I also like the fact  you can order  many items a la carte. We enjoyed the fresh chips and salsa brought to the table soon after being seated.  Service was friendly and quick–and the restaurant was very busy.  A lovely woman sang songs in Spanish from the front of the room, but it didn’t look like too many folks were paying attention.  

Chelly’s is open seven days a week, and serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. The breakfast nachos and breakfast burrito are especially popular .

I’m looking forward to going back to Chelly’s soon–I want to try their fajitas.  Thank you for supporting our locally owned  Brookside/Waldo businesses!

My Visit to Louie’s Wine Dive in Waldo

louie wdEarlier this week my friend Maija and I met at Louie’s Wine Dive for happy hour. I drive by this place daily on my way to work and it looks like they are drawing big crowds. The reviews on-line are generally very positive. Our experience was a good one, especially because of the service. More on that later.

I’m not a foodie — I’m actually a very picky eater! Everything we tried was delicious: the garlic hummus with lavosh crackers; the tomato bruschetta, the harvest salad; and the pork ragu sliders with thin, crispy fries. This is the kind of happy hour I like: the portions are smaller yet the right size (for me) as a  regular meal, so an excellent value. The two pork ragu sliders were very filling, and with the fries on the side–a gourmet meal for just $6! The wine selection is extensive, and they serve a very tasty grapefruit martini ($5 during happy hour).

Louie’s has a casual feel with hardwood floors, raised tables, a long bar and original artwork (for sale) in the bathroom. The menu is extensive and the food is sourced locally when possible (Farm to Market bread, Alex Pope meats). Although it was busy during my visit, the volume in the room was fine and we could carry on a conversation easily. Others I know who have dined at Louie’s complain that it is very loud and noisy during the busy dinner service.

Whenever I visit a restaurant, especially a locally owned place, I am keenly aware of the service level. Is the wait staff friendly? Checks on the table often but doesn’t interrupt conversation? Shows some personality but not overbearing? Do they smile and make eye contact? Do they know the menu? When you have a professional and friendly server, it makes the meal so much better. Our waiter was Andy, and he was excellent. Attentive, sincere, knowledgeable and really enjoyed his job. When Maija accidentally spilled my full glass of wine, Andy and another server had the mess cleaned up quickly and soon presented a replacement. He made our meal better. Ask for Andy when you visit.

Louie’s Wine Dive is a welcome addition to Waldo. Happy hour is from 3-6pm Monday through Friday, and late night Thursday-Saturday from 11pm-midnight. Support locally owned businesses and stop by Louie’s Wine Dive soon. They accept reservations through Open Table.