There’s a stage. There will be live music most every night. But make no mistake, there’s a reason this Kansas City newcomer is called Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room. “The dining experience comes first, it's not a music venue,” says chef Michael Corvino, who made a name for himself in town at legendary institution the American Restaurant. He and his wife Christina Corvino are soft-opening their debut restaurant this week, and, for them, music is just part of the DNA of Kansas City.
“We wanted to do a restaurant that spoke to Kansas City, and Kansas City jazz,” Corvino explains. “We wanted live music because we enjoy it, and we want the restaurant to be fun.” To that end, nightly dinner will be accompanied largely by solo artist performances, music that can be a part of the setting of the restaurant, letting diners focus on each other and the food. Friday nights the restaurant will stay open late and host bands, they’ve got jazz, rockabilly folk, to Cuban music on the schedule already. “There’s no cover. We really adamantly wanted to make sure there's no confusion that we're opening a jazz club. We are opening a restaurant with a large focus on music.”
It certainly doesn’t look like a jazz club. The KC-based design firm Hufft Projects have created an ultra-modern room with a luxurious feel. The uncluttered, sleek look of the space makes for a striking contrast with its setting in a redeveloped building from the early 20th century, complete with pre-existing concrete columns and 16-foot ceilings. “We're finally opening my first restaurant, and it's the most beautiful restaurant I've ever worked in,” Corvino says. “
As Eater previously reported, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room is part of the major shift towards double-duty restaurants happening right now. The main dining room and bar will offer an a la carte menu that Corvino describes with a laugh as “modern American.” “I've really come to feel in my heart that this is modern American cuisine: ingredients and techniques from all over the world. America is a melting pot of culture and food.” The menu runs the gamut from bread and butter with ricotta to crab fried fried rice with XO sauce, serrano peppers, and shiso. Corvino wanted to keep the main “supper club” at an approachable price point: small dishes in the $8-$10 range, bigger dishes in the $10-$25 range, and large format dishes from $45-$65. For those late night music performances, the kitchen will have offer well-made bar favorites like a cheeseburger for $8.
But there’s a restaurant-within-a-restaurant, as the name suggests. Starting in early May, an intimate tasting menu experience will unfold in a separate dining area, insulated from the sound of the live music. Even here, Corvino is centering approachability. “It's not 29 courses and four-and-a-half hours. It's right around $100 dollars, and we'll keep it around two hours.” This isn’t Corvino’s first time doing a tasting menu in Kansas City, giving him unique insight into a city only a few full tasting options. “I guided the American from a la carte to one tasting menu. I watched more and more younger people coming in for that experience.”
For now, Corvino is just eager to get people in the door. “I can't wait for people to eat here because there'll be less explanation needed.” But he’s confident that this multi-faceted concept is coming at the right time. “In the four years I’ve been here, Kansas City is increasingly hungry for new food and restaurants. I see people getting more interested and open minded, seeking out new experiences.”
• Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room [Official]