Now that the Kansas City-based Roasterie has gotten into the restaurant business, it only made sense for its longtime local competitor, Parisi Artisan Coffee, to brew up a coffee-and-food concept of its own. Yesterday, Paris Brothers Specialty Foods — the owners of the Parisi Coffee line — opened the Parisi Cafe in the Grand Hall of Union Station. It's a sleek, beautiful space with a wrap-around coffee bar designed and built in Ireland, says George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station Kansas City.
"It was built by the same firm in Ireland that oversaw the renovation of the London hotel where Kate Middleton and her family stayed before the royal wedding," says Guastello, who has become something of a royalist since Union Station presented Diana: A Celebration earlier this year.
Today, workers were installing the black awning over the entrance to the coffeehouse, which took over retail spaces previously occupied by the Segway rental shop and the Taste of Kansas City store. It's open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. (Note: Who in the hell is in Union Station at 6 p.m. on a Sunday?)"Best Bakery" in last year's Pitch "Best of Kansas City" issue.
Executive chef Joe Cizek actually works on-site: He arrives most morning to make that day's breakfast frittata and to prepare the take-and-go salads, cold sandwiches and fresh fruit cups sold in the venue. "The menu changes every day," Cizek says. Today's sandwich selection included a delicious pork banh mi; fresh tomato and mozzarella on a crusty baguette; chicken ratatouille; and for a vegetarian choice, fresh eggplant with an olive tapenade. Want to pick one up on your way downtown to work: "The sandwiches are usually available as early as 10:30 a.m.," says employee Kate Blackman.
"This is a great addition to Union Station," Guastello says. "People can gather here for lunch, have early morning meetings, or just get away for a break."