A circular driveway leads to the towering white columns that frame the entrance of Van Noy Mansion, built in the early 20th century for a wealthy railroad family. Two and a half acres of 100-year-old oak trees, manicured shrubs, and verdant landscape surround the estate, and guests are invited to take photos and explore the grounds. General manager James Michael summarizes the mansion's beauty by saying, "You have to see it to believe it. When people walk in for the first time, their jaws drop."
Original woodwork lines the mansion's interior, which is ornamented by stained-glass windows and a series of original murals portraying a courtship. A dramatic wooden rotunda with a second-level landing gives guests space to snap photos or drop buckets of molasses and feathers on late arrivals. Stepping out on the second-story balcony, guests can occasionally hear faint elephant trumpets from the neighboring zoo intermingled with real trumpets carried on the breeze from the nearby Starlight Theatre. The historic 5,000-square-foot mansion plays host to up to 1,000 guests for indoor and outdoor weddings receptions, holiday parties, and charitable events, with food services available from a list of preferred caterers.
From the time he first started frosting cookies and cakes with his mom, Dylan has had a passion for baking. And what began as a bonding experience blossomed into a veritable skill under the tutelage of well-known Kansas City baker Chelsea Williams, helping equipping him for the intricate artistry needed to create custom cakes and desserts. Now making cakes, pies, and cookies in his own shop, Dylan shares his lifelong love with clients with collaboration on custom desserts. He works with everything from fondant designs to towering cakes that reach up to seven tiers tall, creating desserts that are as tasty as they are elegant with flavors such as red velvet, raspberry white chocolate, and Boston cream. Outside of his signature cakes, he creates pastries such as pies, tarts, and the thin, fruity slices of crostatas. The menu includes more than the stereotypical flavors, incorporating options such as ginger crinkle cookies, plum walnut strudels, and chocolate matzo toffee bars, allowing clients to find their new favorite dessert.
Opera House Coffee & Food Emporium serves piping-hot coffee, espresso drinks, and smoothies from Classic Rock Coffee Co., whose specialty white chocolate coffee called Dirty White Boy is available. The Opera House space plays host to a diverse selection of eats that also includes breakfast dishes, such as the Bake Haus's cinnamon rolls and muffins, and the Paleo Grill's burgers and sandwiches. Speaking to The Pitch, co-owner David Anderson expressed his hopes that the upscale food court will make people feel "comfortable and at home." This sentiment is reflected in the decor, with art that embodies Americana lining the walls and a telescope pointed toward the sky.
Armed with passed-down family recipes, two tenacious sisters serve up fresh dinner rolls baked on-site alongside sandwiches, salads, and soups that eschew preservatives in favor of all-natural ingredients. Big Momma's famous cinnamon rolls come in a triumvirate of flavors and boast diameters of up to 9 inches, making them qualified Frisbee stunt doubles. An aromatic duo of breakfast sandwiches and coffee pries open eyes each morning, and lunchtime hails a parade of hearty sandwiches with turkey, roast beef, and veggie fillings, which patrons can order solo or flanked by a bowl of the daily rotating soup.
GNC's Smoothie Bars blend up a healthy variety of fruit and supplement-infused frozen beverages with 15 flavorful concoctions in its smoothie lineup. Sip from one of GNC's fruit-filled smoothies, such as the sweet Cherry Baby, a synthesis of cherries, pineapple, strawberries, and banana, or indulge in a creamy creation, such as the Peanut Butter Surprise, a medley of peanut butter, banana, and milk. An early Shot of NRG, pumped with ginseng and guarana, provides a healthy alternative to one's usual donuts-and-cotton-candy morning routine, and smoothies such as the strawberry- and banana-assisted Popular Vote can replace calorie-laden afternoon snacks.
MeMa's Bakery whips up traditional tastes, with sweet treats and lunch items made on-site daily. Named after owner Loraine Waldeck's sister's mother, MeMa's prides itself on being family owned, operated, and oriented. Sink your sweet teeth into a playfully decorated, hand-cookie-cuttered sugar cookie ($1.69), or one of MeMa's signature pastries, such as the traditional English-walnut povitica ($2.99 per slice), authentic German apple or cherry strudel ($2.49 per slice), or the Chateau Avalon ($3.99)—a giant cinnamon roll that's FDA approved for small and medium people too. MeMa's pastries may be purchased individually or in assorted trays ($16.99–$54.99, depending on tray size and pastry choice).