Mom and Populist
The familiar, hearty fare at Rye KC in Leawood, Kansas is refined enough to be worthy of cloth napkins
Give the people what they want, thought Colby and Megan Garrelts when they opened Rye KC last winter in Leawood, Kansas. Being native Midwesterners themselves, the couple knew exactly what that meant: familiar, hearty fare in comfortable surroundings; a restaurant where friends, family, and co-workers could gather on school nights and break pork rinds together. But as award-winning chefs who also run the upscale Bluestem in Kansas City, the Garrelts had a reputation to uphold. So the food at Rye—jewel-box deviled eggs with a horseradish bite, ethereal potato dumplings, and Megan’s banana cream pie—must be worthy of cloth napkins. It is. The Garrelts source ingredients largely from nearby, and hiring a huge staff that produces everything from the Parker House rolls to the quick pickles and beer-based vinegars in-house ensures that the food Midwesterners love is better than what mother makes. The caramel corn takes you back to the state fair, even if you’ve never been to one; and the chicken livers taste like the finest foie gras wrapped in a crackling crust. If you never make it past the fried chicken section of the menu—a detour paved with country ham gravy—that’s fine, though it’s a shame to skip a side of creamy navy beans or perfectly roasted vegetables. And just like at home, no matter how much you put away, there’s always space for a slice of lemon layer cake.
10551 Mission Road