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Dessert Bar in Kansas City


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Oh and to be a "rock star chef" .... you better back it up with outstanding food and service.
That, of course, goes without saying.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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Oh and to be a "rock star chef" .... you better back it up with outstanding food and service.
That, of course, goes without saying.

Unfortunately, we live in a generation where many don't.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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This just came to mind... would something like a dessert bar work in a high end hotel?

Probably for a bigger city I guess?

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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This just came to mind... would something like a dessert bar work in a high end hotel?

Probably for a bigger city I guess?

Yes - only if there's room left over after a couple of restaurants (one casual and one high-end), a spa, a few high-end retail outlets, and a bar... hotels (high-end ones, especially), are looking for full-service fare - having a couple/few restaurants already offering desserts usually satisfies the sweet quota.

The only city in the U.S., at present, in which I think it would work - Las Vegas.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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This just came to mind... would something like a dessert bar work in a high end hotel?

Probably for a bigger city I guess?

Yes - only if there's room left over after a couple of restaurants (one casual and one high-end), a spa, a few high-end retail outlets, and a bar... hotels (high-end ones, especially), are looking for full-service fare - having a couple/few restaurants already offering desserts usually satisfies the sweet quota.

The only city in the U.S., at present, in which I think it would work - Las Vegas.

I was thinking the same thing :cool:

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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KC's idea of a dessert restaurant is Cheesecake F*ctory :laugh:

From reading all the back and forth, I think Big Country has the best grasp of KC. I still invite you all to come on down here to Indian Territory and I will treat you to desserts at Kokoa. You guys just kill me. I mean if Dallas can sell Noka chocolates for a ton of money, never mind. I know that u.e. will never come this way, but jwest, if you can get a day off midweek, just get in touch.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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KC's idea of a dessert restaurant is Cheesecake F*ctory :laugh:

From reading all the back and forth, I think Big Country has the best grasp of KC. I still invite you all to come on down here to Indian Territory and I will treat you to desserts at Kokoa. You guys just kill me. I mean if Dallas can sell Noka chocolates for a ton of money, never mind. I know that u.e. will never come this way, but jwest, if you can get a day off midweek, just get in touch.

You really know how to push my buttons. :wink:

I think I mentioned up-thread that McC & Schmick's and Cheesecake Factory manage to take top billing in our city. I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly live in the most sophisticated eats place in the country.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I think I mentioned up-thread that McC & Schmick's and Cheesecake Factory manage to take top billing in our city.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly live in the most sophisticated eats place in the country.

Popular surveys like that are not a measure of the sophistication of the populace. Remember, in a survey like that, the places that get the most votes are the ones that have multiple locations (chains) and do a lot of business at each of them (chains). Whereas small independent establishments have a tough time getting a whole lot of votes for any single place.

Furthermore, even in the most sophisticated cities, the people who are interested in, and can afford, the very best, most creative restaurants are probably still a small fraction of the population.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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I doubt Mindy Segal or Gale Gand would carry a place on name.

I would disagree. I think Mindy Segal's Hot Chocolate got a LOT of buzz in its fledgling days from local press largely due to her recognition from mk. Gale Gand - I totally disagree. I think Gand could easily, if she wanted, make a success out of her own dessert-only establishment - on name alone.

Yeah, totally in Chicago, but I meant I didn't think those names alone could carry a dessert-only place in KC. I do think either would stand a reasonable chance of doing something like Hot Chocolate in KC, simply because the shock of leaving Chicago and starting up shop here would generate some serious buzz. My point though, is that if Gale Gand would have a decent chance but still challenging time coming here and opening a dessert-only bar, that the idea that you need a "rock star pastry chef" to succeed is simply impossible.

Also I wouldn't limit our short list of "rock star chefs" to just Lidia... Colby Garrelts, Megan Garrelts, Michael Smith, Debbie Gold, Christopher Elbow, and Celina Tio are nationally recognized on a steady basis.

I realize that all of these chefs (except perhaps Elbow) have gotten attention from the Beard Foundation and are well-respected chefs, but I think Lidia's on a different level (star power-wise rather than cooking talent-wise) because of her media presence and NY locations.

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I think I mentioned up-thread that McC & Schmick's and Cheesecake Factory manage to take top billing in our city.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly live in the most sophisticated eats place in the country.

Popular surveys like that are not a measure of the sophistication of the populace. Remember, in a survey like that, the places that get the most votes are the ones that have multiple locations (chains) and do a lot of business at each of them (chains). Whereas small independent establishments have a tough time getting a whole lot of votes for any single place.

I think you and I are talking around each other on the same point. Perhaps its the definition of "sophistication" that we are not quite agreeing on. I associate sophistication (in this usage) with ability to discern quality over quantity. To some degree, I also associate sophistication with the appreciation of small independent establishments who usually give more detailed attention and care to their craft. This is not to say that Cheesecake Facotory cakes are worthless. But, I do think that the fact that this city (by some surveys) has it as the top dessert spot is telling.

I just did a quick search on Citysearch.com for the top-rated dessert spots in the following cities (according to the populace). Last year:

Top in Kansas City: Cheesecake Factory (#1), Capital Grille (#2), Custard's Last Stand (#3). (Yahoo also has Cheesecake Factory at #1)

Top in Chicago: Unique So Chique Tea & Chocolate (Voters #1) and Hot Chocolate (Editors #1), Eli's Cheesecake World (#2), and Original Rainbow Cone (#3). (Yahoo has Wildfire (a local restaurant) at #1)

New York: Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar (Voters #1) and P*Ong (Editors #1), Chikalicious (#2), and Abu's Homestyle Bakery (#3). (Yahoo has Serendipity 3 as #1)

San Francisco: Citizen Cake (#1), The Cosmopolitan (#2), and Tartine Bakery (#3). (Yahoo has Citizen Cake as #1).

I also wanted to compare with some of our sister Midwest cities like St. Louis and Minneapolis. Neither of them had a "Best Desserts" category on Citysearch.com. Omaha wasn't even listed.

Out of all the cities I searched, only Kansas City lists any national chain at the top of its survey list. Those other cities all have the same large chain restaurants (and perhaps even better ones) than we do here in KC. People in those cities prefer to eat in and support local places. We, here in KC, don't.

Who goes to the Olive Garden in Times Square? Tourists, not the locals. Who goes to the Olive Garden in Kansas City? Locals, not tourists. I think that says something...

Furthermore, even in the most sophisticated cities, the people who are interested in, and can afford, the very best, most creative restaurants are probably still a small fraction of the population.
I don't know that that is true. I still think it has to do with preferences (or, sophistication, if you will allow me to use the term here). A dessert prix fixe (3 "courses) at Chikalicious is $12. The average dessert prices at Finale are $9. Here, in Kansas City, most restaurant desserts are in the range of $6-8. I'm not sure it's a matter of affordability.

Edited for spelling and spacing.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Thanks everyone for the great conversation. Overall I think this sounds like it could be a positive undertaking. I agree with the fact that there would have to be alcohol and coffee sales in addition to desserts to bring in cash flow. I really wouldn’t mind at all if it just became a really nice place to drink wine with friends and maybe get a dessert and/or cheese tasting as well. I’ve always felt that. However, in no way do I want this to be a “club.” It’d be restaurant through-and-through, just without savory dishes.

Ultimately, I guess it would need to be marketed properly to ensure people have a clear understanding of what it is - perhaps more along the lines of a really nice coffee and wine bar with a heavy influence on desserts, too. The term “dessert bar” in itself may scare a lot of people here. Who knows until it actually happened? At the end of the day, it has to make a lasting impression in the city. That is key.

The whole “rock star” discussion is irrelevant to me. All those chefs got that status through hard work, great products, creativity, and vision. Those are all key components that I know are required to succeed. I feel confident that I am aware of all the risks that have been discussed here – and that makes me feel good. Not all new restaurant owners get that. It IS a very tough business. Everything has to be perfect in my eyes to succeed. That means the products and services have to be worthy of garnering a special trip from one restaurant to another.

Who knows where this will go? At this point it’s a dream I’d love to pursue. But again, thank you for the conversation around the topic. It has helped me gauge where I stand and what hurdles I’m up against if I take this on.

"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

Thanks, The Hopry

http://thehopry.com/

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Desserts don't automatically exclude savories. I know my spouse rarely orders sweet desserts, but would get a more savory form - croissant, puff, etc...so don't write them off completely. BTW, I love the idea and can't wait to see what comes of it.

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There is a dessert restaurant in Stanfordville, NY, near where I used to live, called Desserticus. Stanfordville is the tiniest little back-of-beyond place about 2 hours north of NYC. The place was opened by a pastry chef graduate from the nearby Culinary Institute of America. During the day, the place sold pastries and coffee from a counter. At night, you were seated at tables for plated desserts ordered from a menu (which were absolutely stunning).

Last I heard, it was still going strong after several years. If such a place can work in Stanfordville, I'm sure it could work in KC. I would definitely go, even if I had already been somewhere else for dinner. (Think about drinks after work one place, dinner somewhere else - people do it all the time.) I think it would help if the location was near other restaurants so people could walk over.

Easy takeout would be helpful - I bet lots of people would love to pick up their favorite dessert on their way home from work.

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I think it would help if the location was near other restaurants so people could walk over.
Yes, I think this would help greatly. Now that I think of it, there was a dessert "bar" in Ann Arbor, MI called La Dolce Vita. However, it was attached (in fact, an affiliate) of the adjoining ChopHouse, which, of course, served no desserts. If you wanted desserts, you had to scoot next door after dinner. The fact that it had a cigar room downstairs didn't hurt either.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Thanks everyone for the great conversation.  Overall I think this sounds like it could be a positive undertaking.  I agree with the fact that there would have to be alcohol and coffee sales in addition to desserts to bring in cash flow.  I really wouldn’t mind at all if it just became a really nice place to drink wine with friends and maybe get a dessert and/or cheese tasting as well.  I’ve always felt that.  However, in no way do I want this to be a “club.”  It’d be restaurant through-and-through, just without savory dishes. 

Ultimately, I guess it would need to be marketed properly to ensure people have a clear understanding of what it is - perhaps more along the lines of a really nice coffee and wine bar with a heavy influence on desserts, too.  The term “dessert bar” in itself may scare a lot of people here.  Who knows until it actually happened?  At the end of the day, it has to make a lasting impression in the city.  That is key.

I agree with that remark about the need to communicate the concept well. Just look at all the different concepts already discussed in this topic - and this is among those familiar with the restaurant industry. Say "dessert bar" to a bunch of eGulleteers and it's like the parable about blind men describing an elephant; everyone has a different notion of what it might be.

Just to cite another example of the difficulty of communicating the concept - the instant you used the term "wine bar" in your post, my mind immediately shifted to that other concept. We have wine bars in Chicago; they typically have a wide assortment of wines, and usually include full-service restaurant food (i.e. full dinners with savory dishes, etc). Up till now I envisioned the "dessert bar" as having only dessert wines, brandy, cognac, maybe liqueurs, but when you say "wine bar", I think of the full range of reds and whites you would find at any restaurant. I'm not trying to nail down what you mean by saying this; I only note this as an illustration of how elusive and confusing it will be to communicate the precise concept of what the place is in marketing it to prospective customers.

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