Tribe Bringing World Street Food to River Market

The Tribe partners are (left to right) Sam Hagan, Ben VinZant and Jordan Mathes.

By Kevin Collison

The new Tribe street kitchen opening next month in the River Market wants to be to your appetite what world music is to your ears.

“All of us have experienced cultures throughout the world,” said co-founder Sam Hagan. “We came to the conclusion that different cultures are brought together by food and sharing a meal.”

Hagan and his partners, Ben VinZant and Jordan Mathes, plan to open Tribe in space they’re renovating at 316 Delaware St. They’re combining two former storefronts into one welcoming room they hope will be a community gathering place in the River Market.

“My background is restaurant design and development,” VinZant said. “My first thought was to take down the brick wall and open the space to create a cool, eclectic New York-style restaurant.”

They’ve commissioned local Amish craftspeople to make tables, a local farmer to weld metal and local artist to create tiles for the bar area.

VinZant and Hagan worked together at a Minneapolis restaurant in that city’s hip Uptown area. While Minnesota is notoriously cold, it does tend to bring people together during the winter.

“We got the idea of communal sharing and meals to escape the cold,” Hagan said.

The new Tribe has hired Lance Gipson, formerly of Blue Sushi in Westwood, to be their executive chef. The menu is all about casual, cosmopolitan eating.

“There’s all this delicious street food around the world not readily available here. We wanted to bring food and culture from around the world,” Hagan said.

“It will be soulful, real food, not bar food,” VinZant added.

Dishes will include Ukoy, a Vietnamese street food that’s a sweet potato fritter fried with fish sauce and shrimp. All the skewer items will be roasted on a wood-fire grill.

Beverages will be available communal style as well, pitchers of beer and cocktails.

A rendering of the completed Tribe restaurant at 316 Delaware. (Image from Tribe)

The place will also feature a 40-seat patio with an architecture lovers’ view of a group of Kansas City’s most attractive late 19th Century buildings and the streetcar route.

The property where Tribe is going is owned by Denver developer Craig Slawson and will be close to Our Daily Nada, a bookstore cafe scheduled to open in June at 304 Delaware.

The partners say they were drawn to the River Market because of its neighborhood feel.

“The River Market has history and density and is easily walkable,” VinZant said. “People here love this area.”

Mathes added, “We feel this is going to be the next big area.”

Hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. Happy hours will be from 2- to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight daily. A brunch menu will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Live music also is planned for Fridays and Saturdays.

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