Webster House
Published December 2013

A Culinary Crossroads

From barbecue to cutting-edge cuisine, these five restaurants serve up Kansas City urban flavor

BYRich Warren
For a city once known primarily for its barbecue, Kansas City has come a long way in its culinary evolution (also read Kansas City's Cuisine Scene). The ever-so-hip Crossroads Arts District — a revived area just south of downtown that was once nothing but abandoned warehouses and office buildings — has become home to the city’s most eclectic shops and galleries, as well as cutting-edge cuisine.
 
This urban oasis, sprinkled with more than 60 art galleries and unique boutiques, teems with gallery hoppers on the first Friday of each month, but diners with a taste for adventure and innovation can be found at these five restaurants all month long.
 
Anton’s Taproom
Featured in The New York Times last August, Anton’s Taproom is a gastropub that offers a little bit of everything: 67 craft beers (including a featured Beer of the Moment), a butcher shop where you can make purchases by the ounce, a tilapia farm and aquaponics herb garden in the basement, and an art gallery on the second floor. The hodgepodge motif continues in the bar and dining area with delightfully mismatched light fixtures and colorful artwork.
 
Lidia’s Kansas City
Famed restaurateur and host of “Lidia’s Italy” on PBS Lidia Bastianich chose Kansas City as the site for her first restaurant outside New York City. You wouldn’t know the building she chose near Union Station was once almost rubble, as chandeliers made of glass-blown balloons now adorn the airy space. Lidia’s features cuisine of Northern Italy and her motto of “tutti a tavola a mangiare,” or “everybody to the table to eat” brings an Italian family feel to the table.
 
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate
Think of Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate as little chocolate bombs, each exquisitely crafted and painted. These bonbons encompass a wide variety of imaginative flavors such as bananas Foster or whiskey-aged maple. Elbow creates his designer chocolates based on the season, and ships custom orders all over the country.
 
Webster House
Just steps from the Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts, in what was once a schoolhouse, stands the Webster House. This restaurant may surprise new diners, as its first-floor rooms are filled with antiques and home décor for sale. The dining rooms are upstairs, in the former schoolrooms, where you’ll experience a different kind of “class,” as in world-class American cuisine — but with items such as butter-poached lobster rolls or succulent short ribs in mustard spaetzle, it’s certainly more than your average meat and potatoes.
 
Affäre
Affäre is in an industrial-chic open space, with exposed brick walls, concrete floors, and white fabric treatments accentuating the high ceilings. Its upscale feel can be attributed to the modern art, photography, and colorful murals that garnish the walls. The contemporary German themed menu varies by season, but expect German fare with a modern twist. Think: An entire selection of bratwurst — from blueberry to curry. Chef Martin Heuser, a 2013 runner-up for the James Beard award Best Chef: Midwest, worked in Germany and Canada before coming to Missouri.
RICH WARREN, an Ohio-based travel writer, loves to research (and eat) everything from crawfish étouffée to Cincinnati chili.
 
For More Information
Call your local AAA Travel professional at 1-888-870-9392 or visit AAA.com.
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate
If You Go
  
Anton’s Taproom
1610 Main St.
816-888-8800
 
Lidia’s Kansas City
101 W. 22nd St.
816-221-3722
 
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate
1819 McGee St.
816-842-1300
 
Webster House
1644 Wyandotte St.
816-221-4713
 
Affäre
1911 Main St.
816-298-6182
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