Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Weekends in the West Bottoms? Lunch at Genessee Royale Bistro

Strangers to the West Bottoms can be forgiven for wondering whether this part of Kansas City is in its ascent or descent. A hulking, mostly idle Kemper Arena and block after block of seemingly empty warehouses and former stockyard buildings suggest the area is well past its prime. The closing of R Bar last year was a tough blow to those of us that liked to eat there and were rooting for the neighborhood.

There is life here however. Fortunately for you and me the West Bottoms has become an outpost for a small but growing number of pioneering artists, entrepreneurs and restauranteurs. My favorite among them is the Genessee Royale Bistro.
Located just a few blocks from Kemper Arena, Genessee Royale is owned by Todd Schulte and Tracy Zinn, who also own Happy Gillis in Columbus Park (also recommended). Located in a charmingly restored gas station the bistro seats about 20 at their tables and another eight or so could fit at the bar. It can fill up quickly, especially on Saturdays, and there's not much to do while you wait so bring your patience... because it's worth it.

Sandwiches are inventive, delicious, and generously sized.  On our most recent visit my wife and I shared a cup of chicken soup (perfect on a cold winter day) and a Prime Royale - a beautifully constructed French dip sandwich with rare roast beef, horseradish/shallot marmalade, and a dipping jus made with Boulevard Dark Truth stout. So good. Pies and cookies are baked fresh daily. The bar is inviting and fully stocked.

Need more than just a great lunch (or breakfast) to get you down to the West Bottoms? I understand (actually I don't, but sorta). Tie it into a trip to the West Bottoms First Weekends Antique Shops event. The first weekend of every month from Friday through Sunday 20+ antique and vintage stores open to the public. There are literally warehouses full of merchandise. The antique shops are clustered around the base of the 12th Street Viaduct. Genessee Royale is also in the Bottoms but a short drive away.

Go. Eat. Shop. Report back.

Photos from my recent lunch at Genessee Royale Bistro:

Prime Royale - rare roast beef, horseradish/shallot
marmalade,  dipping 
jus made with Boulevard Dark Truth stout
Chicken Soup with vegetables, herbs, and
thickly cut egg noodles

Iced Tea. Really
Chocolate Chip Cookies


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