2020 Visit KC Official Guide - 12

"I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE IN A RESTAURANT.
IT'S MY FAVORITE PLACE TO BE."

MEGAN GARRELTS
Bluestem, Rye

"I always wanted to be in a restaurant. It's my favorite place to be,"
Megan Garrelts says.
The pastry chef began as an intern at Park Avenue Café in New
York City and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.
Garrelts then worked for acclaimed restaurateurs in Chicago, Las
Vegas and finally Santa Monica, where she became the pastry chef
for the Getty Center Museum.
But after years of working in other people's kitchens, she and
her husband, Colby-also a renowned chef-decided it was time
to open their own restaurant. Two days after getting married, they
found out they were approved for a lease in Kansas City, gave
two weeks' notice, packed their car and drove from L.A. to KC to
open Bluestem.
Sixteen years-and two restaurants-later, Garrelts has carved
out national recognition for herself, something she says usually
favors the coasts. But Garrelts is too good to be overlooked-she
is a past James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef
and has been praised by the country's top publications, including
Food & Wine, Saveur and The Wall Street Journal.

Swordfish Tom's

JILL COCKSON

"I'M DRAWN TO BUSINESS MODELS WHERE PEOPLE DO
ONE THING REALLY WELL."
Though there is a certain amount of secretiveness surrounding Jill Cockson's bar, Swordfish Tom's-the entrance is through
an unmarked back door-she wants to make it clear it's not a
speakeasy.
"Speakeasy" more accurately describes pre-Prohibition haunts,
which served whatever alcohol people could get their hands on.
Swordfish Tom's was built upon an observation of Cockson's and
an idea perpendicular to speakeasies-what she describes as
people's shift in taste to quality consumption rather than quantity.
"I like small, curated spaces. I'm drawn to business models
where people do one thing really well, whether that's hamburgers
or leatherworks," she says. "You have to be okay with not being
for everybody."
Cockson's inspired approach to cocktails and what a bar can
be may seem unconventional, but it makes Swordfish Tom's a
standout, proving that specializing pays off.
12

Visit KC 2020

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2020 Visit KC Official Guide

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