KANSAS CITY’S MICHAEL SMITH RESTAURANT WILL MOVE TO 1901 BALTIMORE WITH NEW NAME, LOOK
James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Smith will open Farina by Michael Smith, one block west of current restaurant in KC Crossroads Arts District, in January 2019.
KANSAS CITY, MO — (February 9, 2018) — James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Smith, one of Kansas City’s most celebrated culinarians, today announced his acclaimed Modern Italian concept at 1900 Main will move down the block into stunning new digs at 1901 Baltimore, slated to open early next year.
Smith and his wife, Nancy Smith, opened Michael Smith Restaurant, and then Extra Virgin, 11 years ago in Kansas City’s fledgling Crossroads Arts District.
“Nancy and I established roots in this urban area before it developed into one of Kansas City’s most vibrant destinations,” Smith says. “Our heart and soul are in the Crossroads Arts District and the entire Michael Smith team is thrilled that this extraordinary opportunity presented itself.”
The new restaurant, Farina by Michael Smith, will occupy 5,500 square feet on the main level of the building formerly occupied by The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The restaurant will join Haw/Contemporary, which announced on January 8 that it will open a second gallery, which will be located on the building’s east side. Scheduled to begin renovation later this month, the building is located just west of Smith’s popular Extra Virgin, a high-energy Spanish tapas restaurant that will remain unchanged.
Farina by Michael Smith will spotlight the Modern Italian menu Smith introduced in July 2017 to mark his eponymous restaurant’s 10th anniversary. The restaurant will accommodate 90 guests and a small cocktail bar, a fresh oyster bar and an intimate, 25-seat private party room will enhance Smith’s trademark of experiential dining.
Smith will be executive chef and partner and Nancy Smith—who cultivates an award-winning wine program at Michael Smith Restaurant—will serve 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 program and continue to oversee the Extra Virgin beverage program. The space currently occupied by Michael Smith Restaurant will transform into a yet-to-be named event venue, also owned and operated by the couple and private investors.
Helix Architecture + Design is designing the Farina by Michael Smith 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.”
“Whether you’re urban or suburban, in jeans or black tie, you’ll feel comfortable at Farina,” he said. “Nancy and I are collaborating with Helix to create an environment echoing the distinctive vibe we cherish in Italy, especially the region that defines classic Italian landscapes. Farina will be an inviting place for people to savor and linger.”
Informed by Smith’s creative love affair with Modern Italian cuisine, the Farina by Michael Smith menu will include antipasti, fish, chops, seasonal sides and desserts. The Italian word for flour, Farina was chosen as the restaurant’s name to highlight Smith’s signature handcrafted pastas.
“The Farina menu will reflect my interpretation of Italian dishes, incorporating the highest level of ingredients and technique with the serious commitment to gastronomic creativity that is my foundation,” Smith says. “Since launching a Modern Italian menu last summer, it’s clear that the cuisine resonates with our loyal guests and the new fans that have flocked to Michael Smith. We continue to be humbled and grateful for the incredible support Kansas City offers us.”
One of Kansas City’s first James Beard chefs, Smith was honored with the prestigious nod during his turn in the mid-1990s as executive chef and corporate chef at The American Restaurant, a Kansas City icon. Patronized by food aficionados on both sides of the state line and sports figures, politicians, and civic and business leaders, fellow chefs and colleagues, visiting dignitaries, celebrities and rock stars and tourists from around the globe, Smith’s restaurants symbolize Kansas City’s continually evolving culinary landscape. Influenced by Kansas City’s food scene and inspired by his world travels, Smith generously gives back to the city that enthusiastically supports locally owned restaurants.
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