The tobacco, the wrapper, and the roll. On the surface, a cigar may not seem overly complex, but Fidel's Cigar Shop celebrates the depths of its nuance in head-to-toe humidors that lock in and preserve earthy flavors harvested from Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, and elsewhere. The shop's staff educates guests on the inventory of more than 300 varieties, with specialized flavors and finishes akin to a fine wine's bouquet or a gourmet coffee's roast. Along with rows of cocoa-colored cigars tucked into cedar boxes, Fidel's also outfits aspiring aficionados with humidors, lighters, and cutters. In lively, social settings, regular events showcase new boutique products from exclusive estates, and the onsite Graycliff smoking lounge swaddles smokers with cozy seating, WiFi, and three LCD TVs, allowing them to relax as smoke-eating air purifiers erase the one-sided games of tic-tac-toe played with smoke rings.
"Sleek and shiny and glamorous" is how The Pitch's Charles Ferruzza described Cafe Trio in a 2009 article reviewing the eatery's at-the-time new location, although his praises didn't stop there. He also doled out compliments about Executive Chef Adam Yoder's European-inspired food, which earns a rating of very good to excellent from Zagat.
In the glow of paper lanterns, colorful paintings crafted by local artists hover over plates of Faroe Islands salmon roulade and hand-cut tenderloin fillets, which diners can enjoy while gazing out at the fountain and trees of Mill Creek Park. Outside, an expansive deck—open year-round—offers alfresco dining through the warm summer months, as well as unobstructed views of the resident snowmen of Country Club Plaza throughout the winter.
Beneath a chandelier made from wineglasses, mixologists concoct drinks with techniques that come close to alchemy. Specialty cocktails include a red-wine martini that marries pinot noir with Chambord and vodka, and edible cocktails—dubbed "drops"—are solidified through a secret molecular process akin to the one that turns cotton into cotton candy. Though spirits abound, beer drinkers aren't forgotten; the bistro imports nearly 100 types of bottled beer from all over the world, with an emphasis on microbrews. Small plates also draw visitors, especially in groups, as the chef's flatbreads and platters of dried fruits, meats, and artisan cheeses are ideal for sharing. Those who prefer individually portioned meals can enjoy entrees such as caramelized sea scallops with a cauliflower purée.
For more than 31 years, the family-owned Anthony's Restaurant & Lounge has welcomed pasta-seeking diners with its hospitable vibe, its vibrant European décor, and its flavorful Italian fare. Anthony's menu features a multitude of pasta, seafood, and carne specialties, from the creamy fettuccini alla carbonara ($14.95) to the pesce ala vito ($16.50), a broiled fish filet topped with mushrooms. Those craving an appetizer can start with Anthony's signature deep-fried artichoke hearts ($14.95), topped with seafood garlic-butter sauce, or nosh lightly breaded shrimp ($12.95). With Italian-inspired murals on the walls next to Roman-style busts, you can spend a romantic evening with your date heatedly debating the cutest Roman emperor.
Regardless of the season, Snow & Company strives to transform its guests’ mouths into winter wonderlands. Its signature snow cocktails combine housemade syrups, freshly squeezed juices, and spirits into frozen elixirs whose flavors range from citrusy to spicy. The Purple Rain, for example, blends Chambord with blueberry-infused Midnight Moon moonshine and fresh milk, whereas the Rockefeller—a twist on the popular manhattan—stirs cherry-infused rye with Cinzano sweet vermouth, angostura bitters, and sugary syrup. To contrast these icy sips, Hot-Tails come warm and often topped with fresh whipped cream, as is the case for the Tres Irish—Tres Leche triple-cream liqueur mixed with Jameson.
Though the lounge's list of libations constantly shifts, local ingredients and onsite prep remain its overarching prerogatives. This also affects the food menu, a catalog of shareable plates and sandwiches, as well as the decor, which features work by area artists. The open, chic space resembles a gallery more than a traditional restaurant, and it readily hosts group events that range from birthday parties to rehearsals for museum field trips.
Cellar and Loft—which happens to be owned by former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Eddie Kennison—doesn't just pour its visitors glasses of wine or beer and leave it at that. Instead, it keeps a staff of experts on hand to enlighten sippers on the nuances of their chosen drinks, such as the grapes involved in a citrus-tinged sauvignon blanc or the types of malts that flavor an imperial IPA. Age is a much-respected quality in the world of wine, and Cellar and Loft even infuses that truism into their ambience—it's housed a building that's 140 years old and has enough exposed-brick charm to attract an 18th-century masonry guild. In addition to making visitors feel welcome in the tasting rooms, the staff also invites them to travel on wine trips or join wine, beer, cheese, or scotch clubs. These groups indulge members in monthly bottles of a chosen beverage, a newsletter subscription, and weekend tastings with the California Raisins.