Daniel and Selam Fikru, now husband and wife, met when they were high-school students in their native Ethiopia. They've lived in Kansas City since 1995, and together, they've helped a large following of locals try their first tastes of Ethiopian food and subsequently fall in love with its rich, distinctive spices.
The couple's traditional recipes have earned their restaurant, Blue Nile Cafe, a recommendation from KCUR FM’s Food Critics, a place on LocalEats’ Top 100 Restaurants in Kansas City list, and attention from Pitch. But their success over the past two decades hasn’t come without hard work. According to a profile by the Kansas City Star, Selam is in the kitchen by early morning six days a week, simmering meats and lentils in a medley of ginger, garlic, and rosemary. Selam’s labors yield a bounty of entrees—served atop communal platters—featuring marinated chicken and cubes of beef or lamb, as well as vegetarian feasts of lentils, potatoes, and greens. Diners scoop up dishes with pieces of injera, which is a spongy sourdough pancake.
In the dining room, cream-colored walls bear colorful paintings that remind diners of their meals' distant origins. For an additional taste of Ethiopian culture, guests can partake in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony wherein staffers roast, grind, and brew fresh coffee to order. Guests can otherwise opt for refreshing glasses of wine out on the patio.
In addition to welcoming guests into the dining room, Blue Nile Cafe invites them into the kitchen during classes that guide students in preparing injera and other traditional dishes. The restaurant also equips pupils with spices and grains for simmering over their own trashcan fires.
A stay at The Cheshire places you in the heart of Richmond Heights, convenient to St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Washington University and Missouri History Museum.
Make yourself at home in one of the 108 individually decorated guestrooms, featuring iPod docking stations and flat-screen televisions. Your pillowtop bed comes with triple sheeting and Egyptian cotton sheets. 37-inch high-definition televisions with cable programming provide entertainment, while complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected. Bathrooms have designer toiletries and hair dryers.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Pamper yourself with onsite massages, body treatments, and facials. You can take advantage of recreational amenities such as a 24-hour fitness facility, a seasonal outdoor pool, and bicycles to rent. Additional amenities include complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and gift shops/newsstands.
Satisfy your appetite at the hotel's restaurant, where you can enjoy drinks at a bar, take in a pool view, and even dine alfresco (weather permitting). Dining is also available at a coffee shop/café. Relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge or a poolside bar. A complimentary English breakfast is served daily.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a 24-hour business center, limo/town car service, and an Internet point. Planning an event in Richmond Heights? This hotel has 1200 square feet (111 square meters) of space consisting of exhibit space and a meeting/conference room. Extended parking is available onsite.
Freezing Missouri winter winds howl outside Tropical Liqueurs' fogged-up windows, but inside, the atmosphere is decidedly beach-like. Palm trees and nautical knickknacks decorate the lively interior, but the true stars of this tropically themed watering hole are the frozen-drink dispensers, which churn with colorful, fruity potations. Bartenders load large styrofoam cups with potent slushies made from creative combinations of juices, liqueurs, and fruit purées. They rotate drink selections regularly, spotlighting a toasted-almond concoction one week—packed with coffee liquor, amaretto, and vanilla ice cream—and a daiquiri with fresh strawberries the next. Icy potations in hand, visitors turn their attention to games of pool or flat-screen televisions, which broadcast local sports games or horror movies where local sports games come to a temporary halt when the mascot turns out to be an actual tiger. During warmer months, visitors loll in the sun out on the wooden patio and enjoy the beverages that Inside Columbia hailed as a "Columbia staple" when it dubbed Tropical Liqueurs the Best Place for a Girls' Night Out in 2012.
In 1963, Vita and Jay Totta opened up their cozy café with a small counter, three tables, and four booths. Within three years, the couple’s following of loyal diners had overgrown their modest space, and they expanded to a larger location with more than twice the seating capacity of the original café. Another steady increase in popularity led the Tottas to create V's Italiano Ristorante as it stands today, which includes a spacious dining room, three private banquet rooms, a lounge, and an outdoor patio. When designing and building the restaurant in 1971, Jay—a professional architect—focused on creating an Old-World atmosphere where guests could enjoy everything from Sunday brunch to romantic candlelight dinners with their tax auditors. Patrons may also venture out to the restaurant's garden patio, where they'll eat by a stone waterfall and under the vines of a grape arbor originally planted by Vita's father.
Cafe Berlin fills its kitchen with vegetables, coffee, dairy, free-range eggs, and other natural and organic foods from local farms, including Patchwork Family Farms, Green Hills Harvest Dairy, and Lakota Coffee Company. Breakfast, which is served all day, includes dishes such as Turkish-style eggs, french toast, and pancake burritos?a large pancake that enfolds two scrambled eggs and Patchwork bacon, served with maple syrup. Black-bean quesadillas, burgers with local, organic beef, and housemade soups crown the lunch menu and pair with an array of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Cafe Berlin then reopens daily at 5 p.m. as a bar scene featuring craft beers and cocktails made using the same fresh ingredients they use to make brunch.
Plastic dinosaurs and Godzilla figures dot the sunny dining room, where they hang from the rafters, sit on the counter, and gnaw on table legs. Patrons can gaze at the eclectic decor while listening to live music or tales from the Porch Light storytelling series.
Award-Winning Pizza | Featured on Food Network |100+ Beers | Lunch Buffet | Vegan and Gluten-Free Menus
What to Drink
The eatery's nationally recognized beer selection features more than 100 bottles of imported and domestic brews. And that doesn't even include the lineup of 20 beers on tap or the vast selection of wines and cocktails.
When to Go
To get the most bang for your buck, stop in Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. If that doesn't work, aim for a Tuesday, when guests receive a second pizza for half price.
While You're Waiting
Before making your own pizza disappear, marvel at the tricks and illusions of professional magician Eric Z. He appears every Monday night at the downtown location and every second and fourth Thursday night at the Lee's Summit location.
Vegans and folks with gluten allergies have all sorts of options at Waldo's. The restaurant offers a full gluten-free menu—including a locally made pizza crust made with rice flour—and tops its dairy-free pies with soy cheese.