All in the Family

Kelly Manning (left) and his daughters in the kitchen

Weekend meals are family time for Kelly Manning, co-owner of Tavern in the Village and Tavern at Mission Farms, and his two daughters

When I started in the restaurant industry right out of college, I knew that one day I wanted to own my own restaurant. I took the leap, with the support and help of my wife Steph, business partner Anthony Zarate and family and friends, more than five years ago to create a neighborhood restaurant with the opening of Tavern in the Village in Prairie Village. We followed that with Tavern at Mission Farms in Leawood, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary in September.

A highlight of my passion for this business is sharing it with my daughters, Alex, 12, and 10-year-old Layne, because they enjoy creating delicious food and taking care of others as much as I do. With my crazy schedule running two restaurants and our girls’ countless activities, it’s hard to find time to make a meal together during the week, so we make a point to spend weekends together in the kitchen.

Breakfast is a popular meal at the Manning household. Every Saturday, we whip up the breakfast essentials and our signature bacon-stuffed waffles. When our family was vacationing in Los Angeles one summer, we discovered bacon waffles at a restaurant in Venice. The girls loved them and insisted that we make them a staple at our own family breakfasts. After some experimenting in the kitchen, we came up with our own recipe. Now we don’t make it through a weekend without them!

Sundays mean family dinners with our extended family of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles there to enjoy what we create together. Mexican cuisine is a favorite, so our ancho-seasoned chicken fajitas paired with Alex’s specialty, guacamole, usually make the menu at least once a month. Alex is our resident guacamole maker, and everyone in the family will tell you she makes it perfectly every time.

Dessert is a must-have in our household. The family always likes to end a meal with something sweet. We recently purchased a new ice-cream maker to combat the crazy heat this summer and we’re having a great time experimenting. After combining an array of fruits and flavors, we came up with a recipe that has quickly become a favorite on especially scorching days. When we aren’t inhaling our favorite ice-cream concoctions, Alex and Layne are baking desserts to test for future menus and for everyone to enjoy. They both want to follow in Dad’s footsteps and open their own bakery when they grow up. Nothing makes a father more proud!

Side Dish

Taking care of people is the motivation every day for Kelly Manning.

“If you do something you enjoy, life is good,” his father once told him, and Manning sees his passion for food, creating an enjoyable dining experience and taking care of people as the very definition of the restaurant industry. Prior to the two Taverns, Kelly held several positions with Morton’s Steakhouse, including regional director of operations. And his 20 years in the business also included stints at PB&J restaurants, including Coyote Grill and Houston’s.

Manning met his business partner, Anthony Zarate, while they were both working at Morton’s, and together they developed the “Tavern” concept of a comfortable neighborhood destination serving quality American cuisine with a bar that focuses on creative mixology. This first Tavern opened in Prairie Village in 2011, and the Mission Farms location opened in 2012.


ManningKelly_33_ALBacon-Stuffed Waffles
Serves 8
2    cups all-purpose flour
1    teaspoon salt
4    teaspoons baking powder
2    tablespoons sugar
2    eggs
1½    cups warm milk
1/3    cup butter, melted
1    teaspoon vanilla extract
1    cup chopped applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar, then set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended. Add bacon to blended waffle batter and ladle the batter into the preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.


ManningKelly_19_ALAlex’s Guacamole
3    ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1    cup ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3    cup red onion, diced
½    cup cilantro, (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
1    teaspoon lemon juice
1    teaspoon lime juice
1/8    teaspoon garlic salt
1/8    teaspoon ground cumin
1/8    teaspoon chili powder
1/4    teaspoon black pepper
1/4    teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Roughly mash avocados with a fork and then add remaining ingredients. Cover and let rest at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.


ManningKelly_48_ALAncho-Seasoned Chicken Fajitas
Ancho Seasoning
½    cup chili powder
1/4    cup salt
1/8    cup sugar
1/4    cup garlic powder
1/8    cup black pepper
1/6    cup cumin
½    tablespoons coriander
½    cup paprika
½    teaspoon cayenne
1/6    cup oregano
1/4    cup ancho chili powder
Chicken Fajitas
1    each red, yellow and orange pepper, sliced
1    red onion, sliced
1    teaspoon ancho seasoning
1/4    cup cooking oil, plus 1 teaspoon
1    cup ancho seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon
4    pounds bone-in chicken breasts

Saute onions and peppers in 1 teaspoon cooking oil and season with 1 teaspoon ancho seasoning. Set aside. Mix 1 cup of ancho seasoning and ¼ cup cooking oil together and liberally coat chicken breasts with the mixture. Grill chicken breasts to 165-degree internal temperature. Serve with sautéed peppers and onion.


ManningKelly_61_ALLemon Blueberry Ice Cream
2    cups coarsely chopped blueberries
2    tablespoons sugar
1    clove garlic
2    tablespoons water
1    14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1    5-oz. can evaporated milk
2    cups whole milk
2    tablespoons sugar
1    teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8    teaspoon table salt
2    teaspoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

 

Bring blueberries, sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool 30 minutes. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours. Whisk together condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Cover and chill 2 hours. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and run for 30 minutes. Remove container with ice cream from ice-cream maker, and freeze 30 minutes. Stir lemon zest into prepared ice-cream mixture, and swirl in chilled blueberry mixture. Transfer mixture to an air-tight container or a loaf pan covered tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze 3 to 4 hours or until firm.


ManningKelly_52_ALMint Oreo Cookie Ice Cream
1    14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1    5-oz. can evaporated milk
2    cups whole milk
2    tablespoons sugar
1    teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8    teaspoon table salt
2    cups crushed Mint Oreo cookies

Whisk together condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Cover and chill 2 hours. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and run for 30 minutes. Remove container with ice cream from ice-cream maker and freeze 30 minutes. Stir in crushed Mint Oreo cookies and freeze ice cream in airtight container or a container tightly covered with aluminum foil for 3-4 hours or until frozen.

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