Lee’s Summit & Independence Dining Guide to Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 [Sponsored]

The shrimp and grits at Third Street Social

The shrimp and grits at Third Street Social are a winter warmer. (Photo: Pete Dulin)

Kansas City Restaurant Week (January 13-22), presented by US Foods, features more than 180 participating restaurants that showcase the dynamic eating scene around and in KC. These restaurants offer multi-course, customized lunch and dinner menus at two pricing tiers ($15 and $33).

For this guide to dining in Lee’s Summit and Independence, we stopped by Third Street Social, V’s Italiano Restaurant, and Ophelia’s to get a peek at three unique KCRW menus.

Third Street Social (123 SE 3rd St., Lee’s Summit), 816.384.2123

Making its debut in downtown Lee’s Summit in June 2016, Third Street Social is a newcomer to Restaurant Week. Owners Domhnall Molloy and Andy Lock give you numerous reasons to visit and enjoy classic American cuisine during the Week’s promotional prices. That all starts with plush booths, a spacious copper-topped bar, large open kitchen, and exposed wooden beams in a historical building (built in 1946) reimagined as a stylish space for food, drink, and socializing.

Third Street Social is a sister venue to Summit Grill, which has participated in previous years. Chef Po Wang, culinary director of both restaurants, and the kitchen team knows how to deliver flavor-forward food at a good value.

“Our menu is chef-driven comfort food with southern flair,” general manager Jeff O’Brien says.

Take the low-country classic dish of shrimp and grits featured on the regular menu and a highlight for the week. Creamy cheese grits are loaded with crescents of wild Argentina shrimp and savory Tasso ham. It’s food for the soul and a surefire cure for combating winter’s cold grip.

Another popular dish is the chicken fried steak made with beef tenderloin. It gets a flavor boost from chorizo verde gravy, peas and onions. Talented pastry chef Nicolette Foster will create delectable desserts for a final course not to be missed.

The bar offers a wide selection of craft beer including local drafts from Crane Brewing based in Raytown. “The bar has made-from-scratch signature cocktails and more than 80 whiskeys including Pappy Van Winkle and other top-shelf brands,” O’Brien says.

Third Street Social brings the feel of a “big city restaurant” to the cozy charm of downtown Lee’s Summit. The welcome, long overdue addition is a natural fit.

The penne della casa from V’s Italiano Restaurant.

V’s Italiano Ristorante (10819 E US Hwy. 40, Independence), 816.353.1241

Since 1963, family-owned and operated V’s has served authentic Italian dishes to generations of customers. Even with a loyal following of regulars, the restaurant’s owner and dedicated staff look forward to meeting new friends and welcoming first-time guests. Its lunch and dinner specials for Restaurant Week offer an enticing reason to pay a visit.

“We offer a value-driven menu a bit different from other restaurants,” dining room manager Greg Hunsucker says. “During Restaurant Week, our lunch buffet is $15 for two people. Dinner for two people at $33 includes an entree, house salad, Italian and pumpernickel bread, and homemade Italian rum cake.”

Dinner entree options include V’s best-selling lasagna (made-to-order in individual casserole dishes), the pasta trio Italiano with manicotti, beef ravioli, and spaghetti topped with meat sauce, penne della casa, and angel hair di’Marco that combines Italian sausage with tomatoes, onions, and herbs.

For the lunch buffet, customers may indulge in baked lasagna, cannelloni Florentine, penne alfredo, spaghetti and tomato sauce, meatballs, linguini con vongole, broccoli Normandy, and the daily special. The buffet is served with toasted ravioli, Caesar salad, house salad, pasta salad, bread, and Italian rum cake. It’s a generous deal for guests with a hearty appetite.

Hunsucker views Restaurant Week as a time to bring in new guests willing to try a new dining destination as well as celebrating beloved regulars. “It’s a high-traffic time during a low-traffic week. It’s good for us, the city, and restaurant industry,” Hunsucker says.

A visit to V’s is also a chance to possibly catch a glimpse of Vita, the namesake of the restaurant. Hunsucker, the grandson of 85-year-old Vita, says, “Even though she and my grandfather retired 20 years ago, she’s in house and runs the lunch buffet. She works 40 hours a week. Vita is one of the hardest workers we have.”

With the presence of Vita and a trusted staff, including several that have worked at V’s for more than two decades, Hunsucker says that dining at the restaurant is like “dining at our house. We’re like a family.”

Whether guests come for the authentic cuisine at affordable prices or the candlelit tables that create a romantic atmosphere, V’s is a must-visit stop to experience old-school dining that never goes out of style.

The braised short ribs are a plate of comfort at Ophelia’s.

Ophelia’s Restaurant and Inn (201 N. Main St., Independence), 816.461.4525

Owners Ken and Cindy McClain christened this fine-dining restaurant Ophelia’s after acquiring the building in 1999 and renovating it to be an elegant anchor of the Independence Square revival. The building’s history includes occupancy around 1907 as the Hillsbrothers Hardware store in the front. The rear portion was later built in 1948 as part of the Katz Drugstore renovation. The drugstore’s operation occupied the current footprint of the entire restaurant, banquet area and basement.

Since opening, Ophelia’s has brought upscale dining to Independence Square with a neighborhood feel. The business also includes an adjacent bed-and-breakfast serviced by the restaurant. Many people come to Independence to visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and the former president’s hometown. Lunch and dinner at Ophelia’s is an opportunity for a refined meal to cap off the day.

Executive chef Bobby Stearns brings out a Restaurant Week dish regularly featured as a restaurant special: tender braised short ribs accompanied by Brussels sprouts, slim golden fried onion rings, mushrooms, and risotto with pan jus. The dish is sheer comfort food that is satisfying and approachable as a familiar entree with a chef’s touch.

Stearns, who also leads the kitchen at sister restaurant Cafe Verona, plans to highlight popular dishes at Ophelia’s and perhaps some specials as a preview of new menu items. The chef is eager to show the appeal of Ophelia’s to new diners and welcome back regular customers.

“Ophelia’s is upscale and independently-owned. It’s not corporate,” Stearns says. “The staff goes above and beyond with service. We strive to make people happy.”

Kansas City Restaurant Week is sponsoring a series of posts about the menus and food of restaurant week, which runs from January 13 through January 22, 2017. In this week’s post, Pete Dulin covered Lee’s Summit and Independence. Stay tuned for future installments in neighborhoods across the metro. The Recommended Daily is a Bronze Fork Sponsor of KCRW. The culinary showcase also serves as a fundraiser with 10 percent of KCRW sales going to BoysGrow, Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, Cultivate Kansas City, Kansas City Regional Development Foundation, and the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.


Pete Dulin is a Kansas City-based writer and author of Last Bite: 100 Simple Recipes from Kansas City's Best Chefs and Cooks. http://lastbitecookbook.com/

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