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Tomato Nabe

This Week We Love

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The only thing cheerier than the cherry-red doors of You Say Tomato is the warm welcome we received from its proprietors on a recent visit. Holding court behind the counter at the brand-spankin'-new coffeehouse, grocery store and hangout in Hyde Park, co-owner Mark enthusiastically took our order, and his partner, Randy, began work on our sandwich.

The spot they've chosen for their shop just feels right. Charmingly mismatched tables and chairs populate the south end of the large, open space; food preparation (lunch stuff and baked goods) takes place on the north. The west wall is lined with pretty wooden shelves that hold pasta, olive oil and the like, parallel to a shallow trough containing fresh produce.

Mark, Randy, and a third owner, Michael, have ensured that You Say Tomato has as much personality as any place downtown, but in a more casual way — it's not as see-and-be-seen-but-Jesus-don't-get-caught-looking as 18th Street sometimes feels. It's the kind of place that every neighborhood in KC should have, as if it belongs to the people who live in the blocks surrounding it. You could run into fellow residents getting coffee in the morning or, after work, picking up fresh bread to go with dinner. If we were the type to buy a house, settle down and create something resembling good credit, we'd want to live in a nabe like that. We're not, of course. But those cute owners of You Say Tomato sure are.

That's why this week we love them.

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