By Kevin Collison
A 110 year-old building on downtown’s west side that’s seen its share of culinary reincarnations since starting life as a Swedish social hall is slated to become the new home of the Fox and Pearl “Midwestern bistro” this spring.
Owners Vaughn Good and his wife Kristine, with the help of the inimitable Adam Jones, plan to relocate their place from its current temporary digs at 815 W. 17th St. to expanded space in the old social hall at the corner of Summit and Avenida Cesar E. Chavez.
And Jones, who’s real estate dealings and entrepreneurial leanings are a local urban legend, has some culinary plans of his own once the couple vacate their current quarters on West 17th, more on that later.
The Goods want the move to the old social hall at 2143 Summit to be their final stop following a journey that began when they opened Hank’s Charcuterie in Lawrence several years ago.
“We started as a butcher shop and it evolved into a restaurant,” Good said. “I wanted to get out from under the butcher shop label and rebrand. We decided to move to Kansas City.”
Their timing dovetailed with a dilemma that dropped in Jones lap last summer when Novel restaurant, his previous tenant in the old bungalow at West 17th, relocated to larger quarters in the East Crossroads.
“Vaughn and Kristine wanted to do a restaurant in Kansas City and described it as an institution-type restaurant, not a temporary two-year place,” Jones said. “The Novel space became available during the transition.”
Good, the executive chef at Fox and Pearl, said they had planned on doing pop-ups while waiting for Jones to complete the renovation of 2143 Summit, so the chance to take over the former Novel space during the interim worked out well.
Fox and Pearl–the name comes from the couple’s two daughters’ middle names–opened in September. The place specializes in what Good describes as Midwestern bistro,” European-style dining with locally-sourced ingredients.
The menu includes first courses like Fried Duck Livers and Sweet Potato Soup, and main courses such as White Bean Tortellini, Shitake and Pork Belly Ragu and Rabbit Pot Pie. And true to its roots, the charcuterie selection is ample including Zanpone, Pate en Croute and Foie Gras Boudin Blanc.
Fox and Pearl is currently open for dinners and brunch, but when it moves to 2143 Summit in March those hours will expand to include lunch, dinner and brunch.
The new space will occupy about 5,000 square feet on the ground and first levels of the three-story building. There also will be a patio.
Jones said the building, which opened in 1907, morphed from its Swedish social hall days to include stints as a Masonic Hall, Mexican restaurant, a Cuban place called Latin Quarters, artist studios and a social hall for the nearby Latino community.
As for his plans once Fox and Pearl leave 815 W. 17th, Jones intends to open a restaurant that specializes in Far Eastern cuisine, including Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Georgia, along with his wife Noori and a Turkish friend, Orcan Yigit.
“We started talking about opening restaurants in Kansas City and Turkey two years ago,” Jones said. “The concept is clay and fire…cooking with an open fire in clay vessels.”
Jones said the Goods also plan to be involved in the new venture.
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