Thursday, April 24, 2008


Despite a faltering economy (thanks George) and cheap-ass folks bitching about paying for parking taking its toll, the new downtown Kansas City Power and Light District, not quite finished, seems to be doing ok, thank you.

Conceived in the heady days of the new Sprint Center hopefully attracting NBA basketball, NFL Hockey or some kind of steady anchor, the new complex of restaurants and clubs has had a somewhat stressful birth. But from the looks of things on a cool, cloudy but pleasant Thursday night with nothing scheduled at the Arena, the doomsday people are off the mark for now.

Gerry and I were heading for Thai but found them closed for a party. We decided to walk the block up the street and check out the place.

Raglan Road, an Irish restaurant and pub looked busy, as did Famous Dave's BBQ place and Ted's Montana Grill. Most of the restaurants have an outdoor area or large windows that open to mix the indoor and outdoor crowd. Gerry said we should try the new Chefburger restaurant, a creation of a local restaurateur who has made a name for himself with more upscale venues.

The place was packed, again boding well for the future of the district. Chefburger is a dangerous place for people like me who can not make up their mind on what to order. There are literally tons of choices for the All-American burger, but I understand the build your own concept that was initially advertised was scuttled upon opening. Large grilled sourdough buns and every topping and sauce imaginable plus the regular suspect sides of fries and onion rings (really good)are joined by fried green beans, sweet potato fries, garlic fries and big waffle fries. I opted for my favorite and was not disappointed, a yummy swiss and mushroom with grilled onions. Done perfect as were the aforementioned onion rings. Gerry had a classic patty melt and was quite happy as well.

Nestled in a courtyard but accessible from Walnut, the restaurant is all about "urban chic" meaning steel and glass, high ceilings and everything in the open. The design made for a nice bright open space, but contributed to the almost unbearable noise level. Combined with the chef calling out "Don??? Hungry yet?? Your order is hot and ready for YOU!", the omnipresent din quickly got on my nerves.

Westport Flea Market serves just as good a burger, and is 1000 times funkier and interesting. Therein lies the deal, will people go to the trouble of going downtown for the same thing, paying to park, walking to their venue?

The place is not even finished yet and the nay-sayers are out in force. I for one will do it, just to keep the urban lifestyle in business. We all can't live in the burbs, and I for one do not really want to. Frankly, KC is big enough for them all.

1350 Walnut
Kansas City, MO 64108

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