Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Gillis Cafe & Hangout

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with my massage therapist at Happy Gillis Cafe & Hangout. I can definitely attest to the 'hang out' factor - I think our lunch lingered on about 2 hours. Happy Gillis is located in the Little Italy part of the River Market area, which has a very residential feel. We ordered our lunch, then snagged an outside table, as the weather was nice that day. I think only one car drove by as we were lunching outside the cafe.

I was daring and ordered the Bahn Mi sandwich, which boasted grilled chicken, a variety of Mexican veggies, and fresh jalepeno peppers. Yep! They were fresh and hot...but not too overpowering. Very good! My lunch partner had the Curry Chicken Salad. She had been to Happy's before and she liked this salad so much that she had not seen it necessary to order anything different.

We struck up a conversation after our lunch with Todd Schulte, the owner of Happy Gillis. He also owns The Happy Soup Eater, which makes homemade soup weekly for delivery to hungry, soup-loving customers. He said that Happy's had been open for a few months and the lunch crowd was good some days, and not so good other days. We promised to spread the word.

So....GO THERE! You'll like it!

website: (Happy Gillis doesn't have a dedicated website yet)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Drum Room

I visited The Drum Room (1335 Baltimore, right inside the Hilton President Hotel) today for lunch with a friend. Our overall experience was good, but I have to say, I think going to this place for lunch is like going to World of Fun in October. Sure, it's the same great place, but the ambiance is missing somewhat.

You see, The Drum Room is known for their music and their martinis, neither of which was present over the lunch hour. Well, I suppose I could have tried a martini, but I didn't...

Maybe because of this, or maybe because of the surprisingly lack of signage for this joint, there were no huge crowds here over lunch. Actually, if you were looking for a nice, quiet lunch spot to talk business (or gossip) and have some great food, this would be your place. The entire time we were there, we only saw 4 other diners.

Other than the lack of customers, our experience was great. The waitstaff was friendly and attentive, and the food was WONDERFUL. I chose the "Soup, Salad and 1/2 Sandwich" option. I love trying multiple food options in one meal - I stink at multi-tasking and this makes me feel like I'm at least trying to multi-task. My lunch partner chose the Drum Room Burger with Sweet Potato fries. I don't remember seeing even a crumbs left on her plate when she was finished.

For my S, S & S trio, I chose Tomato Bisque, Caesar Salad, and the Lump Crab Cake Sandwich. The bisque was thick and creamy, and served with some yummy, seemingly homemade crackers poking up from the red-orange goodness. The Caesar salad was very good (though none I've tried have ever matched Garozzo's Caesar salad - it's the standard by which I judge all other Caesars). The Crab Cake sandwich was surprisingly good. It was served open-faced, with some diced avocado and tomato sprinkled on top. All this for $11.

I'd love to try this place at happy hour, or during a performance, when it's really hopping!


Friday, May 23, 2008

More Restaurant Closings....

  • Cheeseburger in Paradise (Leawood location only) - closed back in February of this year
  • Papa Keno's Pizza (downtown OP) - heard today that they have about $100K of back taxes so the state has seized the property and shut them down. Bummer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Masala's Indian Restaurant (coming soon!)

Just drove by Whole Foods today and saw a banner announcing Masala's Indian Restaurant going in where Ohana Hawaiian BBQ was (91st & Metcalf area - Overland Park). They weren't too far along, but I'm eager to try it when they open. Stay tuned!

On a related note: Why are there no Indian restaurant chains? Almost every other nationality has a restaurant chain, with multiple locations, if not within multiple cities, within the same city. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Mmmmm....who doesn't like cupcakes?

BabyCakes is a cupcake bakery, located at 108 E. Missouri Ave (in the River Market area, next door to Harry's Country Club). They have mini-cupcakes, regular-sized cupcakes and jumbo-sized cupcakes. Oh, and candy too (called "Frou Frous" on their website), although when I visited they were sold out of the candy. Darn! I'll just have to make a return trip...

I bought a 4-pack of cupcakes to check the place out: Vanilla w/ vanilla frosting; Chocolate w/ white frosting; Lemon w/ lemon frosting and Vanilla w/ chocolate frosting. Even though they were beautiful and came in a cute little 4-pack container, it didn't take long for all the cupcakes to disappear. Oops! I forgot to share.

From my analysis, the key to the perfect cupcake is in the frosting. The cupcake has to be good, but it need not be great. BabyCakes' frosting is pure heaven (especially the chocolate variety - yum!). If I could make frosting like this, I wouldn't eat anything else. The cupcake is really just a delivery vehicle for the frosting.

The only problem is...this is an expensive habit. Regular-sized cupcakes are $2.20 each. Minis are $10 for a dozen. Jumbos are $3.50.

It's too late for me...I'm hooked! I'll be searching the sofa cushions for cupcake money. See you there!

website: (like most bakeries, they are closed on Mondays)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Restaurant Closings

Farewell to:

  • Sarah's on Grand (will be opening under new owners at some point)
  • Rockrose (will be opening as J Murphy's Irish Pub in June 2008)
  • Timbers BBQ (closed early April - not sure why or if another restaurant will be going in)
  • Ohana Hawaiian BBQ (by Whole Foods around 91st & Metcalf - rumor has it that an Indian restaurant will be going in)