Restaurant called Story has tales to tell - The Kansas City Star, Joyce Smith

When we share life's little stories, they often tend to revolve around food or restaurants.


From the family holiday gatherings to marriage proposals, birthdays and other milestones, to just catching up with a friend — there's often something nurturing on the table.


That's why Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen plan to call their new Prairie Village restaurant Story. The operation, in the Prairie Village Shopping Center at 3931 W. 69th Terrace (formerly Natural Wear), is scheduled to open by late May.


"The 'story' also is about where the food comes from, the local farmer who raised it and then how the chef composes those products," Carl Thorne-Thomsen said. "Your favorite food is sort of autobiographical in a way, what you like, just like your favorite color."


But Story has a few other tales of its own.


Carl Thorne-Thomsen wanted to be a writer, but his passion for food overtook his passion for fiction. The self-taught chef wowed (and maybe wooed) his future wife — the owner of a Wichita gourmet store and café — by making her a chocolate cake. It was an audition of sorts for a chef position. He later talked his way into a job at 40 Sardines, and went on to help open Michael Smith and Extra Virgin as chef de cuisine.


Restaurant owner Michael Smith gave Thorne-Thomsen a lot of credit for Smith's James Beard Award nomination in 2009.


"He's a great cook and knows how to run a kitchen," Smith said. "I told him this would be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Just keep doing it."


Story will have three different menus — lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. The owners had hoped to be open by November and had worked out a seasonal menu. For now it is set to make its debut with a spring menu.

Story will seat about 60 people in the dining room. It also will have a large bar area and outdoor patio seating.


An uncle is famed photographer Ray K. Metzker, whose work is on exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art through June 5. The couple plans to incorporate a Metzker landscape piece in the Story design, one taken in the woods at the Wisconsin summer cottage of Thorne-Thomsen's grandparents.


Cityscape runs Tuesdays and Fridays. To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send e-mail to Follow her at