By Jenny Vergara

In Kansas City, the start of fall means more than just the arrival of football season, the color of the leaves changing and sweater weather.

Menus at chef-driven restaurants all over town begin making that subtle, seasonal transition to a warmer palate of fall flavors. Even the craft cocktail menus shift their focus from the bright and light drinks of summer to a more serious and thoughtful menu full of smoke, fire and spice. 

Get ready for a season filled with comfort food and menus featuring heartier protein and pasta dishes complemented by a cornucopia of fall fruits and vegetables like squash, carrots, parsnips, fennel, sweet potatoes, apples, pears and more.

Dig into these dishes and cocktails that you are bound to fall for this fall.  


Extra Virgin:

The Crossroads Arts District favorite is adding a new Sicilian offal sandwich that is having a moment in the culinary world right now. Look for their new Sicilian Spleen Sandwich, known in Palermo, where the sandwich hails as pani ca' meusa. This Italian street-food delicacy is a cheap and challenging sandwich that features cow or veal spleen slow cooked in lard then sliced and served on a soft bun, traditionally topped with ricotta and caciocavallo cheese.

The Rieger:

At The Rieger this fall, look for a unique new dish called Culurgiones, a Sardinian-filled pasta that usually has potato filling, but will instead include sweet potatoes since many farmers have them in abundance in the fall. Also look for Corzetti, a signature pasta called stamped with the Rieger logo. The charcuterie board will transform this fall featuring an Alsatian dish called Tourte Vigneronne, a gorgeous ham pie that will be served along with a rabbit boudin, smoked duck rillette, summer sausage, Missouri trout sardines and crispy five spice duck skin.

Michael Smith Restaurant:

At Michael Smith Restaurant you’ll eat like a king this fall with the introduction of their Pork & Pasta Tuesday. Choose between Michael Smith’s best-selling eight-hour pork roast or one of the James Beard Award-winning chef’s handmade pastas for only $19. Pair your selection with Nancy Smith’s featured $19 bottle of wine. No matter what the season, everyone loves a meal deal.

Parker at the Fontaine:

Parker has a fall menu filled with continental comfort food, served with some of the best views in the city. The restaurant, which resides atop The Fontaine, features Beef Bourguignon, a classic French dish made new again with 24-hour braised beef short ribs, confit vegetable, potato puff and natural jus. Vegetarians will love the Sea Salt Roasted Beets, featuring red and gold beets, toasted goat cheese crouton, baby greens dressed with champagne vinegar and olive oil. End your meal with Pumpkin Cheesecake, an autumn dessert with spiced almond cake, brown sugar almonds, maple bourbon caramel and apple cider sorbet.

Third Street Social:

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Third Street Social opened summer 2016 in historic downtown Lee’s Summit, delighting guests with a wide variety of classic bar and grill favorites all expertly prepared. One of the restaurant’s hero dishes, their famous fried chicken, is getting a spicy makeover this fall as the crew prepares to offer guests a choice to have it made with their original seasoning. Or they can order the Nashville Hot Chicken, which Third Street Social makes extra spicy, served with a choice of side dish.


Westside hotspot Novel is bringing back Duck Neck Dumplings this fall, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Tender duck neck meat is considered a delicacy in China, and in this dish is paired with luxurious foie gras that fills dumplings, then locally grown turnips and radishes are blanched and placed on top and finished with black vinegar and Chinese five spice bread crumbs. Also, look for Apple Soup, a rich and creamy dish that features an apple and miso puree and is finished with kombu dashi or seaweed broth. 


Extra Virgin and Michael Smith Restaurant:

The Majestic Man Bun is a tongue-and-cheek tribute to the man bun. It’s a deep amber-colored drink featuring Angel’s Envy Caribbean Rum Cask-Finished Rye, Cardamaro, fresh lemon juice, blackberry-honey syrup, Bittermens Hellfire habanero shrub and Journeyman Distillery apple cider.


Try the Farmhouse Fizz, made with local J. Rieger gin and Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, plus lemon, vanilla, egg white and orange cream citrate for a classic take on a silver gin fizz. It has a dreamy creamsicle quality to it that is just luxurious. The Black Dog uses J. Rieger’s Left For Dead—which Maybee collaborated on with Boulevard Brewing Co.— to create a boozy, stirred cocktail with Batch #2 Imperial Stout, Cherry Heering, coffee and Xocolatl Mole Bitters.

The Rieger:

The Horsefeather, made with rye whiskey, ginger beer, lemon juice and bitters, will be on tap at The Rieger this fall after being featured on draft at Woodside Health Club, Ollie’s Local and The Brooksider with much success. Keep an eye out for bottled or canned versions of this delicious Kansas City creation in the near future.  

Third Street Social:

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Third Street Social’s Cranberry Cinnamon Sour features locally made Union Horse bourbon, cranberry cinnamon syrup and house-made sour mix. This is a sweet, spicy and tart way to start the season. The Nuts and “Beer-ies” features house made berry cordial, Frangelico, Mother’s 3 Blind Mice Brown Ale from Springfield, MO, and lime juice.


Try the Whiskey Flip Sidecar as a perfect fall sipper. The drink is made with whiskey, lemon, orange curaçao and beer, which he uses as a substitute for a frothy egg in this drink. He serves it up and in a cocktail coup. This creamy version is a blend of a traditional flip and sidecar all in one terrific drink. 

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