Best Power Lunch

The Capital Grille

The centrally located Plaza has always attracted the local power brokers for deal-making lunches, but for years the favored venue for that wheeling and dealing was the inexpensive Pam-Pam Room coffee shop in the old Alameda Hotel. After the Pam-Pam Room vanished in 1993, bigwigs didn't have a place with real cachet until the Atlanta-based Capital Grille came to town in 2001, luring the movers and shakers into its dark, paneled dining room lined with oil portraits of deceased Kansas City titans like Joyce Hall, J.C. Nichols and Mrs. Russell Stover. The current power players insist on having their own tables. Public-relations guru Roshann Parrish always gets Table 7. Financial wizard Michael Schultz prefers Table 8. Mayor Kay Barnes has her own wine locker. Mary Simpson, the regional director for the Midwest's Capital Grille restaurants, thinks the dining room's formal service and quiet daytime ambience make it a good meeting place. "And the menu is very straightforward. It has something everyone will like," Simpson says. One thing has changed about power lunches, however. The traditional two-martini lunch is history. "Now it's just a glass of wine," Simpson says.
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