Starker's Restaurant

Starker’s Restaurant has been a part of the Kansas City dining scene for a long, long time. It was one of my favorites back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but had fallen off the map a bit upon my return in 2001. Its resurgence came when chef John McClure arrived on the scene in 2005. McClure put his touches on the menu right away before purchasing the restaurant the following year. From the beginning, McClure sourced great fresh, local ingredients—long before it became “trendy.”

“I grew up on a farm in Kansas, so I’m used to the idea of getting fresh products all of the time,” McClure told me. He calls his cuisine “ingredient driven,” trying to get the best possible ingredients and let them shine. He’s got quite the culinary pedigree, graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and working at both the American Restaurant and 40 Sardines. Sandwiched in between those terrific eateries was a stint under Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant in New Orleans. You’ll find plenty of influences from his time there, including an awesome offering of fried green tomatoes with poached shrimp and Creole remoulade or his classic preparation of Foie Gras with Creole Beignets.

Founded in 1972, Starker’s is one of the few privately owned restaurants on the famed Country Club Plaza. Speaking of famed, Starker’s award-winning wine list is one of the best in country. With more than 1,665 labels, 12,000 bottles, and 60-plus pages, this Wine Spectator Grand Award winning list is impressive to say the least. Make your selection early, however. Otherwise, you might not get around to enjoying Chef John’s impeccable cuisine!

201 W. 47th St., (816) 753-3565

Dave Eckert