7 Kansas City restaurants and bars named semi-finalists in the James Beard Awards | CCR 89.3

A modern Thai restaurant, a $150-per-person dinner club, and a tortilleria are among seven businesses in the Kansas City area named as semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation. 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Often described as the “Oscars of the food world,” the James Beard Awards are announced in three stages: semi-finalists, nominees, and winners.

Here are the local eateries and chefs featured in both national and regional categories this year. The finalists from this group will be announced on Wednesday, March 29, and the award ceremony will be held on June 5 for the winners.

Kansas City area semifinalists

National Award semi-finalists were selected from a nationwide pool of nominees.

Outstanding Chef: Johnny Leach, The Town Company

The rustic yet elegant Town Company is housed inside the downtown Kansas City Hotel and is run by executive chef Johnny Leach. He and his wife, top pastry chef Helen Jo Leach, create seasonal menus with upgraded versions of popular Midwestern dishes. in the current Menu Dishes like chile smoked pork chops, ricotta meatballs, and stone fruit buttermilk cheesecake.

Michael Robinson | RW2 Productions


The Town Company at Hotel Kansas City was recently named Restaurant of the Year by Kansas City magazine.

Outstanding Bakery: Yoli Tortilleria

This is the second year in a row that Yoli Tortilleria has been nominated for a James Beard Award. Last year, Mexican tortillas and their owners Marissa and Mark Gencarelli made history as the first tortilla baker to be nominated in any category. Yoli has several locations: a Westside retail location where they make flour tortillas, and a cornbread shop in the West Bottoms.

Extraordinary Bar: Tough Measures

Located just off Johnson Drive in downtown Shawnee, Kansas, Drastic Measures is a fun cocktail bar that serves just that: cocktails. No wine or beer is allowed. bar equipped with soft lighting, cozy lounge areas and a bartop made of rulers (hard Amount . . . understand?).

Her Menu 13 creatives, $13 each, including “Deadeye Diaz” (mezcal, passion fruit, ancho chile, lemon and chile-infused olive oil) and “The Roll Up” (cinnamon-washed over-proof rum, white rum, falernum, and lime) cocktails).

Outstanding Hospitality: Restaurant in 1900

contained in 1900 BuildingKnown for its bright white “tulip” columns in Mission Woods, Kansas, The Restaurant at 1900 is a modern restaurant and bar. Head Chef Linda Duerr uses seasonal ingredients to create modern American lunch and dinner menus, including braised short ribs with grilled cheese and scallops sunchoke and black truffle risotto.

Regional Award semi-finalists were selected from states in the Midwest: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Midwest’s Best Chef

Nick Goellner Horn Room: Located near Hospital Hill in Kansas City, The Antler Room is owned and operated by Nick and Leslie Goellner. According to their website, Nick Goellner has already been nominated for a James Beard Award twice. They menus changes daily and is inspired by seasonal ingredients – Wednesday’s includes a confit rabbit and kale tortellini and roasted beets with brie.

Michael Corvino Corvino Dinner Club and Tasting Room: Chef Michael Corvino has received a handful of awards and several James Beard nominations in the past. At Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room in the Crossroads, Corvino creates modern, American fare using ingredients and techniques from his international travels; The New York Times in December. A 10-course tasting menu costs around $150 per person, but you can also dine a la carte. Bar in the restaurant and extensive wine listas well as live music.

pam freedom, Waldo Thai: Executive chef Pam Liberda was born in Northern Thailand, where her mother taught her to cook. Liberda does some creative work at Waldo Thai (you guessed it… Waldo) at his cozy restaurant nearby. Thai food to share — some traditional, some less so. Currently on the menu are tempura Amish chicken, lard curry and whole fried snapper. She opened eight restaurants with her husband, Teddy Liberda.


Pam Liberda, executive chef of Waldo Thai.

Other semifinalists from Kansas and Missouri

Midwest’s Best Chef

Adam VanDonge White LinenTopeka, Kansas

Nick Bognar IndianLouis, Missouri

Rob Connoley, reedLouis, Missouri

Loryn Nalic, Balkan Catering BoxWebster Groves, Missouri

Superior Restaurant

Michael and Tara Gallina and Aaron Martinez, Root Your Hospitality (Blooming Bistro, Vicia Restaurantand othersLouis, Missouri

Exceptional Bakery

Patisserie ChouquetteLouis, Missouri

Exceptional Bar

Gin RoomLouis, Missouri