Three Stop Hop is a series from Recommended Daily and Visit KC that lets you experience a neighborhood or corner of the city in three unique stops. Join us as we walk to three unique stops on the Country Club Plaza, one of the most popular shopping destinations in the city thanks to 120 shops from major fashion houses to local favorites.
Stop 1: Panache Chocolatier
Happiness arrives in many forms at Panache Chocolatier. You can post up at the bar and discover chocolate martinis made with vodka infused with bittersweet dark chocolate and mocha lattes made with Parisi Coffee. Or maybe you’ll sink into the banquet that lines one wall and give yourself over to champagne rose and Jameson caramel truffles topped with applewood smoked sea salt.
Panache intentionally evokes Europe with clean white walls and grey flooring that is as much Denmark as the Plaza. The boutique is a tucked away retreat – a shop and café hybrid with the kind of treats that could convince anyone to consider a day of shopping. The unique and lovely secret of Panache is their Happy Hour. From 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., they offer a free truffle with the purchase of a glass of wine. Start with the mandarin orange truffle and a glass of red.
Chocolate infuses everything they do from a flourless chocolate torte (hello Gluten-free folks) to a chocolate Crown Royal and Coca-Cola cocktail. When you add ice cream into the mix – they make their own cinnamon chipotle banana and coffee fudge – you can jazz up your coffee or dessert. Just be sure to grab a tin of Choco Poppo – the decadent chocolate-enrobed popcorn – before you leave as those often disappear off the shelves as soon as they are stocked.
Panache Chocolatier | 418 Nichols Road, KCMO | chocolatekc.com
Stop 2: HMK
Less than two blocks away, HMK is a thoughtful arrangement of local goods and items that will make your house or outfit just feel cooler. The shop, a new concept from Hallmark that debuted on the Plaza in 2013, is a testament to the creativity in the City of Fountains.
Kansas City is represented on t-shirts, coloring books, coasters, signs, banners, socks, and mugs, and you will…want…everything. You’ll also find cute tea towels, beer glasses, and, yes, greeting cards. One section of HMK is a shop within a shop – an outpost for Made in KC, another local store that works with a number of artists, entrepreneurs, and food artisans.
Make your way to the middle of the store where there’s a free gift wrapping station and a host of locally made food items. This is where you can transform your pantry with salt or peppercorns from Wood & Salt, salsa from Boys Grow, and canned preserves and pickled goods from KC Canning Co. HMK frequently holds maker showcases where you can often find a cocktail or even pie alongside jewelry or prints.
HMK | 4710 Broadway, KCMO | hmk1910.com
Stop 3: The Oliver
Leave the car in the parking garage, and take a five-minute walk to The Oliver and discover what new American cuisine looks like today. The spot from local restaurant group Bread & Butter Concepts is a bit of Midwest Frank Sinatra. It’s got Mid-Century modern touches, bead-backed booths, and an elevated wooden table along Jefferson Street that is made for group dining. Soft light from conical lamps and Robert Frost and Jack Kerouac books complete the feeling of the world’s nicest den.
The bar is a warm mix of dark wood and backlit bottles that make you want to cozy up with a classic like a French 75 (gin, lemon, sugar, and sparkling wine) or a twist on an old familiar: the Horse With No Name (house ginger beer, J Rieger & Co. whiskey, rhubarb liqueur, lemon and baked apple bitters).
The pasta is made in house and topped with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic-whipped ricotta, cured grape tomatoes, chili flakes, fresh basil, and olive oil. The same garlic-whipped ricotta stars in a trio of spreads alongside a salmon pate and pork rillete (a silky smooth mix of pork shoulder, confit, and duck fat, which they affectionately and accurately refer to as ‘pork butter.’). The dry-aged pork chop is a mountain for diners to climb with the umami sweet reward of a mushroom, soy and brown sugar glaze. Comfort has never been so tasty.
The Oliver | 4807 Jefferson Street, KCMO | theoliverkc.com