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Inside Bluestem: Kansas City's 10-Year Old Restaurant Gets a Major Revamp

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Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Back in March, chef/owners Colby and Megan Garrelts closed their 10-year old Kansas City restaurant Bluestem for a major revamp. Tonight the restaurant reopens to the public, letting them in to a dining room with a totally new look and a view of a brand new open kitchen. The renovation has been on the calendar for some time, and back in December Megan told Eater the plan with the remodel was too start their next chapter with "a new fresh look."

She now tells Eater that "the number one priority was repairs," as well as making changes that create better traffic flow for the kitchen and dining room. The biggest change to the restaurant is the new open kitchen. "It's a lot sexier and has a good feel to it," she says. There's also a separate (and open) pastry kitchen with four counter seats. She says that having a separate pastry kitchen may well inspire her to do things like pastry tasting menus (she's done extended dessert offerings before at the restaurant).

The aesthetics of the space have changed too, and Garrelts describes it as "sleeker and more modern than what we had before." Under the direction of designer David Herron, the bright colors and cherry woods have been swapped for a neutral palette of greys and creams, with plenty of glass and dark wood. The furniture, chairs, and banquettes are all new and the table cloths are gone. There's also now a custom-built wine storage system meant to reference crop circles to evoke the Midwest.

Blogger/photographer Bonjwing Lee (aka the Ulterior Epicure) took a look around the freshly renovated space. Here are the photos:

The restaurant will continue serving fixed menus in the dining room, and a la carte options in the bar. Check out tonight's menus below:

Bluestem Dinner Menu

Bluestem Bar Menu

· All Bluestem Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Eater Inside Coverage [-E-]