There is plenty to see, hear, and smell inside Ceramics & Coffee House @ Paint, Glaze & Fire. Here you’ll see rows of clay-colored mugs, vases, plates, pictures frames, and figurines next to bits of colored glass for fusion projects. Overhead a mosaic of tiles painted by customers creates a colorful ceiling, and up front an espresso bar grinds PT's coffee beans and steams milk for lattes.
Debbie, a Paint, Glaze & Fire co-owner, especially likes seeing dads painting pottery with their kids. Debbie says that while a father and his children might not talk too much while painting, they're still communicating and sharing a lot more than if they were silently sitting in a movie theatre. Plus, after painting, glass fusing, or canvas painting this family will have a something to show for it.
While fun for the whole family, Ceramics & Coffee House @ Paint, Glaze & Fire focuses on cultivating the creativity and curiosity of children. Kids' parties and summer camps actively engage youngsters, as do the bimonthly Paint Me a Story sessions, where a favorite children's book is paired with a pottery painting activity. With space to house 30 to 40 adult-size imaginations, the studio can also host corporate team-building events, girls' nights out, and other celebrations.
Armed with a culinary education from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Chef John Westerhaus uses classical techniques and international flavors to create refined American cuisine. His inspiration stems from a deep love for the simple menus of Parisian sidewalk cafés. For starters, a chipotle-spiked hollandaise sauce blankets a plate of smoked salmon and corn cakes, and garlic-ginger dipping sauce graces lobster spring rolls. For entrees, the restaurant's chefs demonstrate their mastery of traditional American cuisine by grilling rib eyes, Kansas City–style strip steaks, and trout fillets over a pile of smoldering baseballs.
Purple booths and napkins add a splash of color to the dining room's gently lit earth tones. Stone walls divide the dining area from the kitchen, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows separate the restaurant from the outside world. To keep things lively indoors, the restaurant hosts live performances by local musicians Wednesday–Sunday, serenading diners with cool jazz and gentle R&B melodies.
Red leather booths line the walls of Paddy O’Shays’ low-lit red-and-black dining room, perfectly poised to soak up tunes from the local musicians—such as Samantha Fish and Platinum Express band—who jam every weekend. Back in the kitchen, the house smoker infuses chicken with hearty flavor rather than proposing menu suggestions via smoke signal, creating fodder for signature entrees such as the smoked chicken breast in Guinness barbecue glaze and fettuccine tossed with smoked chicken. Patrons can also sate appetites with ground-beef or veggie burgers, and sandwiches stuffed with shrimp, grilled mahi-mahi, and locally made spicy sausage. Strategically placed TV screens stream sports amid the eatery’s collection of Kansas City memorabilia, and pours from the full-service bar—ranging from pomegranate martinis to beer and wine—complement meals with distinct, complex flavors.
Next to the cash register at Mai Thai, a small white saucer next to a statuette holds crackers or other offerings made every morning to signify wealth and good luck. The diminutive goddess and happy Buddha statues subtly hint at the eatery’s roots beneath pendant lights and a tile mosaic. Servers glide across the wooden floors, toting dishes including pad thai and panang, which further solidify the connection to Thailand. Chefs draw from adventurous ingredients when crafting sweets, which Kansas City Star reporter Jill Wendholdt Silva expounded on in a recent review, saying, “Another dessert that I'm not likely to soon forget is the taro ice cream made from a tuberous potatolike vegetable with a purplish tinge. The color is both beautiful and odd, but the taste is reminiscent of pistachios and coconut. The ice cream is accompanied by fried bananas.”
Though the pit masters manning the grills at Burnt End BBQ know a good deal about how to bring out the complex flavors of a slab of barbecue, they’re not here to tell you how to eat it. That’s why most of the dishes on the menu are mere suggestions, allowing clients some flexibility on what meat and homestyle sides they choose to chow down upon. Customers can cull from six core meats such as the signature burnt ends, brisket, or pulled pork with sides ranging from the sweet and spicy slaw to creamy cheese corn. The chefs do create a few signature sandwiches and barbecue bowls to combine the best of their smoked meats and sides over a chewy mound of cornbread, which is the kind of mound from which gingerbread men pitch. Meats and sides are also available á la carte by the pound and pint, easily combining into full meals.
Helmed by hot-dog enthusiast and veteran restaurateur Will Brown, New York Dawg Pound nestles its inimitable creations inside freshly baked buns in a lively establishment accented by graffiti art, wall murals, and arcade games. Nathan’s 100% all-beef franks, Johnsonville brats, and Hillshire Farm polish sausages are doled out alongside herbivorous delights such as a roasted-carrot Dawg and a chipotle black-bean veggie patty. The comfort-fare emporium also houses toppings that run the gamut from four types of mustard to Chicago-style accoutrements in the form of pickles, onions, tomatoes, and tiny Bears jerseys made out of celery salt. Diners can select from a bevy of sides, such as sweet-potato waffle fries and onion straws, while sipping fountain or bottled Pepsi products.