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City Tavern introduces new menu
Incorporates mix of steaks and chops with trademark seafood

Kansas City, MO – In a town where steaks and barbeque dominate the menus of most restaurants, City Tavern has crafted a niche by offering a variety of steaks, chops, oysters and seafood. The restaurant’s new menu maintains that tradition, but it also provides guests with more options when they are craving filets and strips.


“We have marketed City Tavern as a seafood restaurant and oyster bar since we opened, and though we sell a lot of oysters and seafood, our top-selling item from our last menu was the filet,” said Dan Clothier, City Tavern’s owner. “Before, we offered a filet and a strip that was prepared an exact way by the chef. Now, we have added more steaks on the menu, and guests have their choice of four sauces and four potatoes.”


The 12-ounce Dry Aged Kansas City Strip, the 8-ounce Filet Mignon, the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye and surf and turf platters are among the options on City Tavern’s new menu. Oysters from the Pacific Northwest and North Atlantic; appetizers like tuna tartare and steamed mussels in shellfish broth; and entrees that include sea scallops with Chinese mustard glaze, Campo Lindo chicken, Alma Farms boneless pork chops with rosemary apples are still featured. City Tavern has developed a following of loyal patrons who savor its selections of seafood dishes and creative preparations of duck, chicken, pork and beef entrees.


City Tavern is nestled in a rustic building where art is now served – in the parking lot, on the plates and amid the historic architectural features. Adorned with dark reclaimed woodwork, exposed brick walls, antique light fixtures and vintage mirrors, the restaurant looks like it could have been there for a century, though its’ doors opened in this new millennium. That is exactly what Clothier intended when his vision was finally fulfilled.


Situated between the highly regarded Lidia’s and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque, City Tavern represents the final element of a bustling entertainment spot Clothier imagined when he teamed with a group of investors to buy a dilapidated former railroad warehouse near the Kansas City Union Station in 1995. Today, his restaurant is part of a culinary destination that is known as the Freight House, which is the centerpiece of eclectic district lined with art galleries and refurbished 19th century buildings. In 2003 Gourmet magazine included all three Freight House restaurants in its Guide to America’s Best Restaurants, three out of just six restaurants listed in Kansas City.


Word is spreading about City Tavern, in a favorable way, which is soothing to Clothier’s ears. Just as he encountered obstacles when it appeared the Freight House could not be revitalized, Clothier was confronted with another hurdle not long after his restaurant debuted in September, 2002. The original executive chef, who had previously owned and operated a four-star restaurant in Kansas City, developed a high-end, a la carte menu for City Tavern, with price points that exceeded $50 for dinner and $25 for lunch, despite the fact that the original business plan called for check averages more in the $35 and $15 range.


“We quickly learned that our customer base didn’t embrace our concept,” said Clothier, a real estate developer from Wichita who has a house in his hometown and an apartment in Kansas City. “So we hired a new chef, by promoting our sous chef, and changed our menu to a bistro style menu better suited to the new chef and to our patrons.”


With prices and cuisine that was more palatable for the restaurant’s customer base, City Tavern sales stabilized. The new chef, whose cuisine had also garnered four stars from the Kansas City Star food critic at a previous restaurant, immediately made his mark by simplifying dishes and broadening the menu to include shellfish, fish, lamb, duck, steaks and chops. Befitting the menu’s bistro style, sides and starches were added to create complete plate choices for diners and prices were lowered. Guests were pleased.


Combined with curiosity about the new menu, the ambience, which reflects Clothier’s passion for historic preservation, is a major factor in luring guests back to City Tavern. The restaurant’s interior is enlivened with salvaged pieces of structures that stood in Kansas City years ago. The 7,500-square-foot space includes 30-foot timbered ceilings, exposed brick walls, high-arched doorways and windows, Missouri marble atop the oyster bar, restored terra cotta and handmade tiles adorning the walls, and a heart of pine floor.


Clothier saw a drastically different picture when Sterling Capital acquired the building in 1995. Built in 1887 by a railroad company, the 500 foot long and 40 foot wide Freight House was a leaky eyesore that was destined for the wrecking ball until Clothier and his team of investors bought it and initially envisioned a restaurant, retail and office center with a hotel and parking garage. When plans for that complex were dashed, a marketing study was conducted and the results determined that the Freight House would be ideal as a destination of three restaurants.


To add to the growing community of artists and art galleries in the neighborhood, now known as the Crossroads Arts District, Clothier commissioned homegrown artists to transform the Freight House’s spacious parking lot, which borders the railroad tracks, into a haven for public art – an appropriate move for a district now known for its boutique art galleries. Even the parking lot lights are works of art – reminiscent of train signals with patterns of incandescent lights arranged in varying degrees of animation. The Freight House is a centerpiece of the Crossroads Arts District, which is now home to more than forty art galleries located within a few blocks of the Freight House.


Clothier also enticed celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich to open her first restaurant outside of New York City. Lidia’s Kansas City, which serves Northern Italian cuisine, opened in October, 1998. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque, owned by Jack Fiorella, debuted in October 2000, leaving space for one more location. Clothier, whose favorite dining destinations included seafood eateries in New York City and San Francisco, decided to open his own oyster bar and seafood restaurant in an atmosphere that illustrated Kansas City’s rich railroad heritage, defined by the nearby Kansas City Union Station, which was recently renovated and now houses a science center, shops and cafes. The Freight House is an instrumental part of Kansas City’s downtown renaissance, which will continue when a walkway from the Union Station to the Freight House is constructed.


Clothier believes City Tavern’s new menu will help the restaurant continue to increase its following of loyal customers.


“Seafood is still a main attraction,” he said. “Steaks are just now a more prominent part of the menu, which is important in a place like Kansas City.”



For more information contact:

Quantified Marketing Group