December 01, 2015

Best New Restaurants in KC: Cleaver & Cork

Cleaver & Cork at The Cordish Companies’ Power & Light District

A Pork-centric Gastropub with Polish

1333 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 541-3484,

Butcher-shop-chic reigns at Cleaver & Cork in the Power & Light District. With a menu conceived by Alex Pope of the critically acclaimed Local Pig butcher shop and food truck, beef (and produce) sourced from local farms, and meat-hook-style light fixtures in the bar, this restaurant has true meat cred. It is not a barbecue spot per se, although the menu boasts a killer barbecue pulled pork sandwich with goat cheese and fried jalapeños, but rather a gastropub with a handsome, masculine décor to match of salvaged barn wood and charcoal leather banquettes. Do not think of going without ordering their signature star dish: fall-off-the-bone tender BBQ Pork Shoulder with a sweet cornbread more akin to corn pudding, barbecue beurre blanc and braised red cabbage. The pork osso buco is also homey in all the right ways, served atop polenta and roasted apples. And surprisingly, for such a meat-forward place that even infuses the table butter with pork fat, there are a solid number of seafood and vegetarian offerings, including a wonderfully earthy oyster mushroom salad with house-made ricotta, grilled bread, and greens with chipotle vinaigrette or a lush zucchini and oyster mushroom lasagna. If pork reigns on the menu, whiskey is the star of the extremely alluring and buzzy, backlit onyx bar. The P&L District is known for its nightlife, and Cleaver & Cork is no exception. It offers master cocktails incorporating local spirits from J. Reiger & Co., a high-decibel bar scene and expansive patio in the district’s outdoor “living room” with prime seating overlooking many concerts. If you prefer a less frenetic vibe, check it out for lunch instead, when you can also procure the crave-worthy lasagna, pulled pork sandwich or the barbecue pork shoulder.


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