Celebrated chef Michael Smith’s new restaurant concept “Farina” is scheduled to open in late January at 19th and Baltimore in the Crossroads Arts District.
The restaurant, which took over the former Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art space, originally was expected to open by Thanksgiving, but renovation delays have pushed that date back about two months.
“As can be expected with rehabbing an old, iconic building in the Crossroads, there have been some unforeseen delays, along with a construction process that included inclement weather delays,” Smith said in an email.
“We are very excited for the opening of our new concept at the corner of 19th and Baltimore after Kansas City Restaurant Week.”
His Michael Smith Restaurant at 1900 Main will remain open through Restaurant Week, which runs Jan. 11 through 20.
Once Farina opens, that space will be transformed into Michael Smith Private Dining and Events, also owned and operated by Smith and Nancy Smith—general manager, partner and wine director, according to a press release.
Next door, Smith’s popular Extra Virgin, described as a high-energy Spanish tapas restaurant, will remain unchanged.
Farina will accommodate 90 guests and feature a small cocktail bar, the Crossroads Arts District’s only fresh oyster bar and an intimate, 25-seat private party room.
“Farina will spotlight the modern Italian menu Smith introduced at Michael Smith Restaurant in July 2017 to mark the eponymous restaurant’s 10th anniversary,” according to the release.
“Informed by the chef’s creative love affair with Italian cuisine, the Farina menu will include antipasti, fish, steaks, seasonal sides and desserts.
“The Italian word for flour, Farina was chosen as the restaurant’s name to highlight Smith’s signature from-scratch pastas.”
The Farina team will be led by Smith, executive chef and partner, and Nancy Smith as general manager, partner and wine director.
Alberto “Berto” Santoro, one of Kansas City’s best-known bartenders and manager of the Michael Smith Restaurant-Extra Virgin bar program, will spearhead Farina’s bar program and continue to oversee the Extra Virgin beverage program.
“It’s thrilling to see Farina take shape in an area of Kansas City where our creative heart and soul is,” Smith said in a statement.
“Nancy, the team and I can’t wait to welcome guests to Farina where they’ll experience our interpretation of modern Italian in an environment perfect for lingering.”
Helix Architecture + Design is designing the Farina interior, utilizing elements and traditions to evoke the Italian region of Tuscany and Umbria.
The space will integrate plentiful natural light, stone, warm woods and wide-planked floors for an ambience Smith describes as “rustic elegance with a distinctive vibe we cherish in Italy,” according to the release.
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