The just-opened City Club Apartments project at 20th and Main didn’t have to look far to find an operator for the 6,000 square-foot restaurant and wine bar planned as part of the development.
It reached out across the street to The Rieger at 1924 Main where Chef Howard Hanna has agreed to open the two new concepts next year.
Hanna met with Jonathan Holtzman, CEO of Detroit-based City Club Apartments, early in the planning for the 283-unit apartment project and was “immediately excited” about the opportunity to create a new concept in the Crossroads, according to a press release.
“It was a big space and I love small restaurants,” Hanna said in a statement.
“I asked Jonathan if he would consider breaking the space up if I committed to introducing two very different concepts. He loved the idea and the deal got done.”
According to the release, Hanna will be joined along with some of the team behind The Rieger, a longtime Crossroads fine-dining fixture and good citizen, its donated free meals during the Covid pandemic , and Ca Va, a Westport wine bar and bistro.
The new space, which will include a rooftop patio, will be divided roughly into one-third for the wine bar and two-thirds for the restaurant.
A name for the new establishments and other details are expected to be released later.
And in a twist on recent downtown history, the new restaurant is being built on the site of the former Hereford House steakhouse which was destroyed by an arson fire a decade ago.
The City Club Apartments development was designed to include businesses and amenities catering to its residents and others. Besides the new restaurant and wine bar, a DGX convenience store with groceries and sundries for downtown living recently opened.
Hanna has been a Kansas City culinary fixture since 2003 when he worked at 40 Sardines as an assistant to renowned chefs Debbie Gold and Michael Smith. He then helped open Room 39 as chef de cuisine, and later became executive chef at the River Club.
He opened The Rieger restaurant in 2010.
“Howard is a true artist and a pillar in the Crossroads neighborhood and the broader Kansas City community,” Holtzman said in a statement.
“He and his team understand how to bring people together and give them an extraordinary experience. We could not be more proud to have his two newest concepts in our community.”
The release described the planned wine bar as an “intimate and moody” place. It will include seating for about 50 people and a private dining room for 15- to 20. The menu will include shared dishes and entrees with “pristine ingredients.”
“A cozy and approachable bar and a hearth-style kitchen with a wood-burning stove will be prominent in the space,” according to the release.
The planned restaurant was described in the release as an updated version of a diner. It will seat 60 people indoors and 50 outside on the first floor patio. A second floor, 2,400 square-foot patio, will increase its outdoors capacity.
“The restaurant’s design is a subtle nod to a classic diner look with a very modern take on execution,” according to the release. “The center piece will be a large curved bar with anchored stools winding through the open and airy space.”
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