Still and Stall
Chingu, a new Westport spot from the team behind Sura Eats, will combine Korean street food with soju brewed and distilled for the house. “As soon as people enter, we want them to be transported to a place,” says chef and co-owner Keeyoung Kim. “We want our guests to feel like friends who have been invited to our home. We know some of the flavors will be unfamiliar. After we’ve built trust, we can start exploring more crazy menu items that are near and dear to our hearts.”
Chingu’s concept is “anju,” which literally translates to “food with drink” and involves a lively atmosphere that will fit in well in Westport, where it’s taking over the former Wingman Kitchen at 4117 Pennsylvania Avenue. Kim is aiming for a July opening and will use K-pop and Korean artwork to set the scene. Kim expects to keep the kitchen open until 11 pm on weekends, with last call for drinks coming two hours later.
The dishes will channel “pojangmacha,” street stalls that traditionally serve one dish, plus Korean BBQ and Korean home cooking.
“Our menu is designed with some of our versions of favorite dishes, so it’s very specific and deeply personal to us,” Kim says, noting that he’s making some dishes the way he grew up eating them in his mom’s kitchen.
The restaurant will also work with a distillery to make soju to its specifications, though the final agreement is still being hammered out and they’re still fine-tuning the recipe while in the fourth batch of testing.
Chingu looks a lot like the restaurant Kim wanted to open immediately after moving to KC from Washington, D.C., six years ago, but he says it “all worked out how it was supposed to.”
“We have built up trust in the Kansas City food community,” he says. “Now let’s have fun and do the foods we really really want to do.”
Speaking of Westport: The former HopCat space is now home to a massive new nightclub for the LGBTQIA+ community. Fountain Haus has four separate bars spread over thirteen thousand square feet. “Bars and spaces moving forward need to be for everyone,” co-owner Ryan Overberg said on a recent edition of our podcast, Kansas City’s Only Podcast. “We need to create spaces that are a hybrid for the entire LGBTQIA+ community because there should be a place that we can all play together in the sandbox. That’s what we did here, I believe—we built a space that’s catering to everyone.” So far the favorite space is the Pool Deck—there is no pool, but the rooftop patio has become a chill spot to hang in afternoons. “You can bar hop within the building,” Overberg said. “Every time you go up steps or cross a threshold, you are somewhere different—the vibe should be different, the music, the lighting.”
Closings in Westport
Along with those two high-profile openings in Westport come two notable closings: d’Bronx and Mud Pie Vegan Bakery are both shuttering their locations on 39th Street and focusing on locations in Johnson County. While Mud Pie will focus all of its energies on its Overland Park location, d’Bronx may reopen its original location in the future.
Made in KC Takeover
Spinoffs from the Made in KC chain of souvenir shops continue spreading, with a shuffleboard bar and a coffee shop recently opening. Ludo’s Shuffleboard Bar in Martini Corner has finally opened after many months of delay. Unlike other popular shuffleboard spots springing up around the country, it’s the cruise ship version of the game, played on the floor, and not the bar version. In Waldo, the same owners have opened Colorado-themed Front Range Coffee, a shop that also has a corner dedicated to KC-themed souvenirs for anyone who wants to take a croquet set home with their joe.
Kansas City Magazine Team
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