Last fall, one of Kansas City's best-known restaurateurs, Steve Cole, was hired as chief operating officer for the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association. Last week, Cole - who won national accolades for his upscale Cafe Allegro, an iconic fixture on 39th Street from 1984 to 2002 - took a new position as general manager of the River Club. The River Club, located at 611 West Eighth Street, has been an exclusive dining club since 1948.
"The River Club had been actively pursuing me for a couple of months," Cole says. "I hated to leave the Restaurant Association. It really gave me an opportunity to work in the hospitality industry from a different perspective. I had to think long and hard about the decision."
Cole says he made the decision after the River Club - a members-only venue long sustained by many of Kansas City's powerful movers and shakers - presented him, he says, "with an offer I just couldn't refuse."
Cole says his position at the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association has not been filled yet: "I believe that someone is going to step in, perhaps on a part-time basis, to fulfill some of my duties at the organization."
Cole says he was attracted to the position at the River Club because "it was a different kind of venue for me, but many of the members were good customers of mine from the Cafe Allegro days. They were seeking someone to take the facility to a new level of execution, and I understand this."