Lazia Reopens at Crossroads Hotel with New Chef and Menu

Lazia has reopened at The Crossroads Hotel with a new chef and menu.

Lazia has returned to the Crossroads Hotel after a long, Covid-layoff, and the restaurant reopened last week with a new chef and menu still steeped in Italian cuisine.

Chef Justin Kent, who over the past decade has worked at some of the city’s top restaurants including Classic Cup and The American, is serving what’s described as traditional Italian with modern influence, according to a release.

“It’s the simple things that make for a memorable experience: attentive service, an inviting atmosphere and a menu that aces the staples,” Kent said in a statement.

“Lazia is poised to become a local fixture in this historic neighborhood.”

The menu includes Neapolitan pizzas from the wood-fired hearth and in-house seasonal pastas including Raviolo Al Uovo, Lobster Mafaldine, Cavatelli and Risotto Milanese. Non-pasta entrees include Pollo Arrositio and whole Branzino, a European bass.

Lazia’s name comes from Johnny Lazia, a notorious Kansas City gangster and friend of Tom Pendergast. (Photo courtesy The Crossroads Hotel)

From the bar, Lazia focuses on modern adaptations of Italian classics. Spritzes, negronis and classics are separated by style to shine a light on the wide range of flavors in Italian spirits and vermouth, according to the release.

The restaurant is named after the notorious Kansas City gangster Johnny Lazia and his friendship with politician Tom Pendergast, two prominent Kansas Citians from the 1920s and 1930s.

The Crossroads Hotel, which opened in 2018, was a renovation project that combined the historic Pabst Brewing building at 2101 Central and the Pendergast building at 2107 Central.

The Lazia bar features variations on negroni and classic cocktails.

The Pabst Brewing building opened in 1911 as beer bottling and distribution facility. In the 1920s, it was leased by Pendergast for his distilling company.

Joining Kent in the Lazia kitchen is the chef de cuisine Jordan Hayes, who recently joined the team having formerly served as executive chef at J. Rieger & Co. The bar manager is Liz Ramirez, also from J. Rieger.

“At the bar we’ll focus on spritzes and negroni variations, Ramirez said in statement. “I absolutely love the infinite combinations that come from balancing the Italian amaro, spirit and vermouth.

“Our wines are ‘clean and cheerful.’ That’s the vibe we’re trying to create in Lazia, approachable wines that are fun and vibrant.”

Lazia is open nightly from 5- to 10 p.m.

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