I have some great news! But first, let us all observe a moment a reflective silence in honor of the wonderful team up at Justus Drugstore in Smithville. I’ve heard about this place for quite some time and finally Cheryl and I had the opportunity to visit yesterday evening. Thanks, Rich and Jan! Rick and I both have August birthdays, and this was a birthday celebration. … I know. That’s how crazy my schedule is. Can you imagine? Celebrating an August birthday in the middle of November. I’m sorry.
No one would expect a world class restaurant in Smithville of all places! The story is the stuff of movies – incredibly talented chef returns to his home town and converts a drugstore into one of the top farm-to-table restaurants in America, drawing national reviews and raves. Seriously. How would you make this stuff up?
The unpretentious setting nullifies the intimidation factor for those wanting to sample food that will hold up to any meal prepared in the most elegant of urban restaurants. The service is educated, attentive and professional without even a hint of stuffiness. Every item is described and explained as it is brought to the table. The flavors are explosive, creative and fascinating. You wonder, “How in the world did someone think to put all this stuff together?” But it works!
This is not a “drop in and grab a bite” place. This is a culinary adventure that will stretch over 2 to 3 hours – perfect for a birthday celebration. You can read more about Justus Drugstore here.
Now for the second installment in the “Who would have ever thought … ” category. Cheryl heard it rumored from a friend that there is a new bakery in Raytown.
“She said it was really good,” Cheryl told me as I reasoned in my mind why this simply could not be so.
“Yeah, it’s supposed to be in that strip center in the 5200 block of Blue Ridge Boulevard where the McDonald’s is.”
I’m not even sure the address is really Raytown, as this is in that strange vortex, that local version of the Bermuda Triangle where Raytown, Independence and Kansas City mysteriously intertwine and no one is really certain where one ends and the other begins. This is where werewolves are said to appear on foggy nights and where small pets sometimes vanish without a trace.
This is also right on my daily jogging path. So, as I am soaking up the great weather this morning, I remember to glance over to see if there really is a new bakery in town. At this point I’m still an unbeliever. That’s when I see the new listing on the center’s sign by the street. It said, “Napoleon Bakery.”
“This is just simply impossible,” I thought to myself. Napoleon Bakery was a staple in Westport for years, a favorite of the college crowd and Midtown urban hipsters. Cheryl and I used to love to drop by for lunch. They have a short but potent list of wonderful sandwiches, desserts and other good eats. There was great weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth when it shut down a few years ago. To this day I still feel an emptiness in my stomach when we drive by the vacant shell in Westport.
I resisted the urge to rush right in with all my sweatiness. I finished my run, showered, grabbed Cheryl and we headed straight to the scene.
“Welcome to the neighborhood!” I said as we entered the door. “How long have you been open here?”
“Two weeks,” replied the sweet young woman behind the counter filled with tempting pastries.
“I just have to ask. Are you the same folks that used to be in Westport?”
I’m still in shock.
This is great news. I wouldn’t put it on the level of the NASCAR raceway coming to Wyandotte County, but it’s something like that.
I’m not sure what this means. Could it be that Raytown is becoming hip? God forbid! But, with anchors like Benetti’s and Napoleon Bakery, can a Raytown Art Fair be far behind? Or, could this simply be the realistic reflection of cheap rent in an old strip center in Raytown? Maybe it’s the lack of competition. Think about it. Their only competition that I can think of is the Dolly Madison Day Old Bakery.
Napoleon Bakery is worthy of you giving them a try and welcoming them to the neighborhood. Big Moma’s fled to Crown Center and now we have a second chance set a new direction for Raytown. Show your support today.If you’re not in the Kansas City metro area, move here! Their lunches are reasonable and delicious. Their pastries are yummy. The parking is free and plentiful. They have free wifi. What’s not to like?
So, what’s you favorite bakery in Kansas City?