Exit Lakeside Tavern, Enter Rye
Late Saturday night, word broke on Twitter and Facebook that a local business was shutting its doors permanently. Lakeside Tavern, open for less than a year, is now the third casualty of that seemingly cursed space in Mission Farms (it previously housed Boudreaux's Louisiana Seafood & Steak and Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant). Sadly though, I don't think the space was to blame for this closing, and many people in the city seemed to see it coming.
Lakeside Tavern opened up with the promise of having craft beer focus, and at first, they certainly did. It was a somewhat interesting new place in a relatively untouched area of town (minus Blanc) that offered a better-than-average craft beer list and some excellent beer specials to boot. At one point, they were doing amazingly priced bucket specials that included Boulevard Smokestack bottles and Old Rasputin. They also had a $3 bottle Sunday deal where you could get beers like Duvel, Three Philosophers and more for cheap.
But in terms of beer, things quickly seemed to go downhill. We stopped in one Sunday and the $3 deal was gone. It was obvious that the beer list had been pared down quite a bit to include more macro beers and have less focus on craft. That night, the group of us that frequented Lakeside Tavern on Sundays had one beer and left, never to return.
While the shift from craft beer focus was certainly not the nail in the coffin for Lakeside Tavern (Yelp and Urbanspoon reviews tend to show that service and food quality was consistently subpar, if not getting worse as time went on), I was disappointed to see how quickly they moved away from it. While $2 tequila shots and Miller Lite schooners might be the big draw for the sports bar crowd, Lakeside never had that crowd, much less any crowd at all. Why give up so quickly on a customer segment that is willing to spend higher amounts of money on drinks?
With Lakeside Tavern gone, who's next to move into this seemingly doomed building with horrible visibility in the back of Mission Farms? Well, this news actually sounds promising. Chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts of Bluestem will be opening a restaurant called Rye in the space, which is scheduled to open in mid-October. According to a brief article in the Kansas City Star, Rye will focus on the Garrelts' Midwest heritage, and will use locally sourced ingredients for dishes, plus wines, spirits and beers from Missouri and Kansas.
Hopefully the well-known Garrelts name will create early buzz for this restaurant and will help Rye defeat the Mission Farms "back end" curse. Once it's open, I'll be curious to see just how deep they dig into Missouri and Kansas brewery options to populate their beer list.
Stay tuned for more news on Rye as we approach the opening, and in the meantime, pay your respects to Lakeside Tavern by visiting their website, which may be the most atrocious thing to grace the Internet in the last decade: http://www.lakesidetavernkc.com/