Saturday, April 30

April Employee of the Month

Place your votes! These are the top four most viewed posts for the month of April.*
The poll is to your right and will be open for one week. The winner will be receiving
a special prize from The Employee Lounge (to be determined).

Last month one of our readers, Vic, commented
about a Cellar Rat / Cellar & Loft showdown.
Vic, you called it. It's ooooon.

Brian K. J. » Cellar & Loft
Bronson K. » Westport Cafe & Bar / R Bar
Ryan S. » Cellar Rat
Jarrod F. » Cellar & Loft
*March 28-April 22

Friday, April 29

shawn b.

Shawn B. | Ice Cream Man
Years of Industry Service: 5
Shawn has worked at 39th Street neighborhood ice cream shop Miami Ice for his entire five years of industry service, and soon he'll be going to school to study art. The rest of his family has a musical background, his mother and two siblings sing and he has a brother who plays the drums. Shawn just likes to "chill and hang out" in his free time. He doesn't have a girlfriend. "I try to stay away from them, too many distractions."

  Make KC Better » Gas prices. I see more people ride bikes every day

Thursday, April 28

derek c.

Derek C. | Bartender
Years of Industry Service: 16-ish
Derek lives in the West Plaza and drives to Smithville for work, but he says the drive is not really that big of a deal. As one of the limited places to grab a drink in this small town, Derek says the regulars at Justus are a lot different. "There's a smaller core group but they're more regular." He'd like to learn and memorize things faster. His memory was never spectacular but even so, it wasn't what it used to be. When asked what he and girlfriend Monica like to "do together," we were met with dead silence. We all cracked up as the conversation mostly went down hill from there. Sorry, but it's best that we don't share the rest of that interview.

  Make KC Better » This is pie in the sky, but good mass transit,
 necessary for any town to be to be a true metropolis

Wednesday, April 27


Thanks to our friend Lynn Klein who suggested that we let you guess the Kansas City
locale first, we're not telling where this is until Friday. But this one should be pretty
easy thanks to some iconic businesses on this street. Extra points for anyone
who can tell us about the The ACB'S, the band on this poster.
UPDATE: This is indeed 18th Street. Arts Incubator is one one side and
Volker Bicycles, YJ's, Peggy Nolan, spool and Birdies are on the opposite side.
Blair, for commenting correctly, you win a framed 5x7 print of Jarrod!

donna f.

Donna F. | Owner
Donna's Dress Shop
(Our Tip: "Like" Donna's on facebook for the newest finds. She updates regularly!)
Service Industry Detour
Donna's Dress Shop is located in a former ballet studio on 39th Street. Sunlight streams through the big glass windows up front, making all the frocks and vintage accessories in her shop glow. As a child, her parents brought her along when they went to estate sales and antique hunting. "That's what my parents did for fun so I've always gone. I've always loved vintage." Donna washes a lot of clothes, does a lot of laundry and watches old movies. She loves sushi, Füd (on Summit) and You Say Tomato. "On my day off I like to sit on my porch (Donna and her husband live upstairs from the shop), read a magazine and watch people. I like to do nothing and relax."

  Make KC Better » I want a walk-up dim sum stand so I can 
 get my  dumplings whenever I want, especially the 
 ones with sesame seeds and red beans inside. 
 Or a dumpling food truck

Tuesday, April 26

toot, toot!

Alert the Press!
We're officially famous, right? So excited about our first bit of publicity!
Thank you (times a bajillion) for all the support you guys and a
big thank you to The Pitch for contacting us. Read the full article here.
Photo above and one used in the interview was set up and shot by Tina.

the road to justus

Smithville, Missouri
The Employee Lounge tagged along with Cellar Selections wine rep
George Vial* to Justus Drugstore last week where we once again ran into
Rich Zellich from Pinnacle. For those of you who don't know Rich, he is Pinnacle's
 main wine guy in Kansas City and he is everywhere. While we waited for the reps
to flog their products, we checked out downtown Smithville and captured
a few shots of the restaurant before they opened their doors.

--- {1} ---
View of the open kitchen where we spotted one of the most beautiful mustaches.
--- {2} ---
A simply gorgeous table. 
--- {3} ---
Jonathon was testing his chicharróns for the patio menu and
gave us a taste. Served with his own hot sauce made from home grown chilis
(some roasted, some smoked) and puréed with house made white wine.
--- {4} ---
Elixir of the Day made by bartender Derek C.
Small's Gin, Trenel Creme de Framboise, fresh lemon and lime juice,
soda, simple syrup and garnished with fresh thyme.
--- {5} ---
Black Tie Affront
Corrido Reposado tequila, smoked Anaheim pepper-infused Chambord
and Kahlua, lime juice, rimmed with Thai basil-black pepper salt.
--- {6} ---
Mushroom Soup
Three kinds of mushrooms, prepared in three different ways
around a center of pâté and a crostini with watercress and greens.
At the table, Derek poured the consommé to complete the dish.
It was really kind of incredible.
--- {7} ---
Fresh herbs planted around their patio.
--- {8} ---
A collection of infusions and elixirs.
The dry vermouth and cardamom in the third container over
was a work of art. All the ingredients settling and floating
reminded us of a beautiful ocean scape. 

*Full disclosure. George Vial is the husband of Linh Trieu.
We use him whenever possible to take us to fun places and meet interesting people.
But this is not an exclusive relationship. ANY wine or liquor rep may contact us.
Let's hang out.

ronnie g.

Ronnie G. | Maître 'd
Years of Industry Service: 4
Ronnie has a 12-year-old cat named Soy. "He's still as spunky as the day I got him." He is an only child and his family has lived in the same midtown house for over 70 years. For now, he lives down the street, but one day he will return to that house and continue his family's history there as well. After managing at more casual neighborhood favorite You Say Tomato for three years, Ronnie finds himself at the other end of the dining spectrum with fine dining Justus. Although the style of dining and kitchens are different, both restaurants share a common passion for the locally grown and "helping small local farmers stay in business."

This little blog post is not Ronnie's first brush with fame. He was also recently on Doug Frost's local food program Check Please where they reviewed Grünauer, Avalon Cafe and Nick & Jake's. Since the show is filmed in high def, Ronnie joked with the make up artist saying, "You're going to have to take this radio face and make it into an HD face." You can watch Ronnie's full episode here.

  Make KC Better » Buy local whenever possible

Monday, April 25

...and the winner is

make a gif

Thank you to all who participated!

joyce a.

Joyce A. | Wine Sales Rep
Years of Industry Service: 27
Joyce has manned almost every post in a restaurant except on the line. As she recounted her work history, however, it's hard to believe she didn't wield a sauté pan at some point in her illustrious career. She says that her time as a wine steward was the most fun and rewarding, but devoted wine stewards (who aren't also managers) are rare. "It's an expensive position." These days, Joyce is back on the streets as a wine rep and she says her job is mind blowing at times. The wine business can seem glamorous, but there's a lot of driving (for Joyce that's everywhere from St. Jo to Brookside) and a lot to learn about the various wine portfolios. Joyce also judges regional wine competitions like the Jefferson Cup Invitational with Doug Frost. 

Once a New Yorker, Joyce, who has lived in Weston, Missouri for the last 10 years, likes being out in "the middle of nowhere, but I'm only 30 minutes from downtown." She has a son, owns a bicycle she's trying to get out of her studio and is a potter with a lot of unfinished work. 

  Make KC Better » I would have some way to link neighborhoods 
 through public transportation. 

Friday, April 22

Urban Farming Guys

Over the past month, we've asked how you could make Kansas City better. And many of you have responded with environmentally-related issues like public transportation, bicycle paths, less urban sprawl, better neighborhood markets and sustainability. In honor of Earth Day, we'd like to share this video about a special group of people who have moved from the suburbs to the urban core and are walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Their farming and neighborhood improvement projects are fascinating. Did you know this was happening in Kansas City? We didn't but it makes us proud to be fellow citizens with people who have big ideas and are making it a reality. Read more about their project and see more videos here.

 Happy Earth Day! 
 How will you Make KC Better today? 

kelly ann

Kelly Ann | Partner
Service Industry Detour
As we previously mentioned in partner Amy's post, Kelly Ann bought spool in 2007. In addition to time at her own shop, Kelly Ann works for two other women-owned businesses: at Arizona Trading Company and hosting karaoke at The Brick every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Kelly Ann has an "awesome" four-year-old son named Kenny. She works next door to her best friend Peggy Noland. She likes the collaborative nature of the art community in Kansas City where people enthusiastically help each other.

Kelly Ann is no stranger to the restaurant life. She used to be a server and likens retail to the service industry. "If you're in the position to help someone pick out their lunch, it's kind of like helping someone pick out an outfit." She loves and misses the restaurant world. "You count on each other. You gotta work together to keep the boat afloat."

  Make KC Better » I'm a big fan of bussing and biking. 
 Get people less reliant on their cars. 

Thursday, April 21

eric j.

Eric J. | Line Cook
Years of Industry Service: 5
Crepe cook Eric is part of a two man band called The Righteous Kings
who are working on putting a show together. He lives in South Kansas City,
sees shows and hangs at friends' houses. Eric would like
to see more green efforts in Kansas City.

  Make KC Better » Sustainability. 

Wednesday, April 20

for the love of kansas city

Billboard on Beardsley Rd in the West Side » Kansas City, Missouri

ben c.

Ben C. | Server
Years of Industry Service: 15-20
Ben grew up in Plattsburg, a small town outside of Kansas City, but for the last 14 years he's lived in Texas, Seattle and for a short time in Portland, Oregon. Back in town for about a year and a half, he sees poverty, schools closing,violence and a good portion of the city struggling. "There's a lot of sadness, it's kind of heartbreaking. I don't know how to go about fixing it. But we have great free health clinics." Ben doesn't like to go out much and plays music. He also collects and sells music and books. If he could live anywhere in the world, it would be near the mountains of Northern Italy.

  Make KC Better » Address poverty issues. 

Tuesday, April 19

10,000 Page View Giveaway

Here at The Employee Lounge, we like to celebrate. A lot. And 10,000 page views in less than a month is a reason to celebrate, right? To mark another great day, we're doing a giveaway!

Follow the blog and
 Leave a comment in this post.

"Like" us on facebook OR
Follow us on twitter.

This super fabulous giveaway is a Vintage Wood & Brass Cocktail Set which includes a bottle opener, a stirring spoon, a strainer, cork screw and jigger. Good luck and we are so happy to be celebrating with you! You have until midnight on Friday, April 22 to make a comment. Winners will be chosen at random.

photos by Linh Trieu