Just a Bite: September

Plated

The future of Plate, the stylish bistro created by Christian and Andrea Joseph in 2015 at 6201 Oak Street, has been up in the air since the historic building that housed the restaurant (and several other businesses) was heavily damaged by fire on April 12.

“We’re in a holding pattern,” says Christian Joseph. “It’s going to take a lot of work for the building’s owners to bring the building back up to code. The initial estimates were that it would take a 12-month process once they started construction work and there’s been nothing really happening yet.”

The Josephs continue to keep their executive chef on salary, but were forced to let the other staff members go, says Joseph, “to find other employment possibilities.”

An immediate success as a neighborhood restaurant on the fast-changing stretch of 63rd Street east of Oak Street, Christian Joseph is worried that the long period to rebuild the venue “will cause us to lose a lot of momentum in the restaurant business.

“We’ve talked about relocating,” he says, “but our identity was shaped by that building, which is an incredible structure. We don’t want to rush to re-open, we want to stay relevant. We’ve had an outpouring of support from the community, so we feel very blessed. There’s just no silver lining … yet.”

If It’s Tuesday 

It’s a good sign when a six-day-old restaurant is jam-packed … and in a location just beginning to make a serious impression as a restaurant destination. The Mission Taco Joint, the first Kansas City outpost of a successful Saint Louis-based taqueria chain, opened in early August in a former storage facility in the East Crossroads at 409 East 18th Street.

The limited menu—nine tacos, four burritos and as many tortas—is untraditional, but heavy on style with an unapologetic hipster vibe. No one is going to confuse this noisy venue—with its imaginative cocktail selection (local celebrity bartender Jenn Tosatto is the bar manager) and colorful Fiesta Ware plates—with a plebian chain taco restaurant.

The restaurant’s general manager, Matt Turner, says the California-inspired restaurant “started blowing up” the minute they opened the doors to the venue, where the cooks use a heavy hand on the spices for many of the a la carte tacos (to great success, unless you’re sheepish about such things) which can be washed down with either a potent cocktail or the refreshing house-made agua frescas.

The prices are, as they say in Mexico City, muy barato. A diner can make a nice modest meal out of two or three tacos ($3.25-$3.75 each) and a side dish.

The Waffles Aren’t Waffling 

 The good news: The Waffler, the popular food truck created by publishing consultant Russell Viers in 2015 to serve Belgian-style Gaufres de Liege waffles, will continue to sell his signature fluffy waffles, fried chicken, and bread pudding without him. Viers, who is beginning a new project in his other business—“My real job,” he says—sold the truck and the recipes (including the labor-intensive brioche dough required for the waffles) in August.

“I got into the waffle business as a fluke,” he says. “My daughter decided to do food trucks instead of a catered meal at her wedding in 2015. I came up with the recipe for a dessert waffle and the next thing I knew, I was in the waffle business.”

Viers took on The Waffler as a hobby at first: “If I was in town, I took the truck out. Then I had two trucks and was hiring employees and was confronting all of the challenges of being an absentee owner. I turned it over to my son, but this year he’s going to college. I’m booked for the next nine months, so I couldn’t keep doing it.”

The new owner will maintain the recipes that Viers created and continue operating in many of the locations, including Waldo, where Viers developed a steady following. “If I didn’t have my real job,” says Viers. “I’d still be doing it. I love waffles.”

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