For more than two years Kind Food was nestled in the cramped confines of a shipping container in the Iron District. When they opened in late 2019, owners Jonelle and Phillip Jones thought it was the perfect space to try out their brand of creative vegan fare. Yes, it was small (read that: teeny) and lacked ample storage space, but it gave the duo a chance to build their following.
Within 12 months—and in the middle of a global pandemic, no less—Kind Food had officially outgrown its confines, says chef Phillip. Word of (hungry) mouth quickly propelled their culinary status in the metro. Lines of starving patrons often circled the building, and on weekends it wasn’t uncommon for them to sell-out of nearly everything on the menu. (Yes, the cashew queso that’s slathered on many dishes is that good.) “The space was not big enough. We pushed it as much as we could,” he says. “We built a lot of relationships around the idea of creating really good vegan food that’s good for people and good for the planet,” adds Jonelle. “We did all that during a pandemic.”
So, the hunt was on for a bigger place where Team Kind could find their footing. It took a hot-minute (read that: another year), but they finally found spacious, new digs. And, ironically, their new location is just a hop, skip and jump from the insanely meat-centric Joe’s KC and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in KCK.
Kind Food 2.0 is set to open 2/2/22 and during a nickel tour of the new restaurant, chef Phillip unveiled an inspired, new menu to go along with their reinvented vision. (More on that in a minute.) “There’s a new Reuben made with corn beef from Unreal Deli,” he says. “Plus, new pastries! We’re dabbling in cookies and brownies.”
Oh, and because Kansas City is such a barbecue town, several special dishes are “now a permanent part of the menu—including barbecue nachos, and our barbecue sandwich.” (Read that: pulled pork, minus the pork, but made with slow-cooked jackfruit and slaw. Very tasty.)
We also noticed the new Greenhouse Salad which chef Phillip says is a worthy, new addition. “Everything in it is green—green apples, cucumbers, broccoli, avocados, pepitas” he says. “And it has an oil-free, agave mustard dressing.”
This spring expect expanded hours and even more drool-worthy fare. The plan is to “have patio seating out front and add a Sunday brunch with favorites that people have been missing—like our biscuits and gravy,” says Jonelle.
Chef Phillip notes he’s also excited to see what his culinary staff brings to the table, figuratively and literally. “Because I make people happy with food, I can finally create more food,” he says. “So, we’ll try out new recipes and play around a bit more. We’re gonna build on that.”
Alongside kitschy-quirky artwork, there’s a small lounge set up where guests can enjoy an assortment of flavored kombucha, Oh, and there’s even a small retail space with plenty of chef Phillip’s products for sale. (Read that: jars of the aforementioned cashew queso.) “This space allows us to commune a bit more,” notes Jonelle.
I’ve taken several people to Kind Food who—surprise, surprise!—were completely oblivious to the fact it was, indeed, a flavorful vegan restaurant. The portions are generous, rich, and decadent. And now both guests and staff have room to breathe. One thing is certain, you won’t leave hungry.