Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Cornell with a degree in English Literature. He lived in that area until the mid-nineties and then moved to Wichita to attend a Masters of Fine Arts program at WSU in creative writing. While in Wichita, he stayed busy writing short fiction, long fiction, poetry and plays. Soon that passion was replaced by an interest in food and he taught himself enough about cooking to land a job at a small gourmet food store/cafe/espresso bar. There he met his future wife Susan, who also happened to be one of the owners. After three years the couple moved to Kansas City and started a family. Thorne-Thomsen worked as a line cook at 40 Sardines for the next three years. In 2007, when Chef Michael Smith opened Michael Smith Restaurant in the Crossroads, Smith hired him as chef de cuisine and he ran the kitchen there and then at Extra Virgin when it opened for three years.
Thorne-Thomen started actively working on the concept in December of 2009. In August of 2010, Susan found the Prairie Village location and the time came to turn this "story" into a reality.
Story is set to open later this month and I recently had the chance to meet up with Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen and his wife Susan to get a sneak peek at what to expect.
The space for Story is in the Shops of Prairie Village and the layout is sleek and modern with a great patio area. Thorne-Thomsen envisions Story to be elegant and upscale, but also a neighborhood place that is ultimately accessible, relaxing and enjoyable. Story will be a perfect place whether you are looking for a memorable night out or a place to relax for an hour after work.
Intertwined with the sleekness of the trendy color scheme, décor and unique lighting designed by BlueBike Architects, Thorne-Thomsen will add a personal touch of his on "story" by including artwork by artist Ray K. Metzer, that in addition to being an accomplished artist also happens to be his uncle. One unique piece is of Thorne-Thomsen's Grandparent's summer home where he spent time as a child. Other pieces of Metzer's artwork is permanently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a few pieces will be on display for a brief show at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City until June 5th.
There is, of course, a story behind the name “Story”. It revolves around three themes that are a part of Thorne-Thomsen’s beliefs, which he explained beautifully, “The name story is meant to signify that I'm a chef inspired and motivated by ingredients. I try to source ingredients carefully, local when I can, but whether local or not, I always try to find the best, freshest etc., and the more time I spend looking for ingredients, the more I wind up knowing about them, where they are grown, pastured, finshed, etc. Frequently my imagination goes to work on those details and projects or produces a landscape or seascape, people at work in it; a "story" of sorts about or behind a particular ingredient begins to shape itself in my mind. The name also refers to the "story" behind any given dish on the menu, why certain items are paired or not, where the idea came from or how it evolved. Lastly "story" refers to the meal itself, the diner's experience. Is it a special occasion, an anniversary or birthday for instance; is that the "story"? Is it friends in town, a first date etc.? Sometimes, if the food, service and atmosphere are good, then the experience itself is the story.”
Story's cuisine is defined as contemporary American and takes ingredients and techniques from French, Spanish, and Italian cuisine. Chef Thorne-Thomsen says that the inspiration for the dishes comes from meals that he has had, as well as dishes that he has only read about, both contemporary and classic, which he notes, “I like variety -- the uncooked (carpaccio), the barely cooked (fluke ceviche), the challenging (octopus with sweatbreads), the not so challenging (shrimp with gnocchi), the simple (salad with oil and vinegar and fresh herbs), the luxurious (foie gras with beets and bacon), the fried (shortrib croquettes), the complex (lamb loin wrapped in lamb sausage), and the simple (halibut with asparagus and roasted potatoes).”
One thing to look for on Story’s menu is the use of fresh and well sourced ingredients including some local products like Campo Lindo chicken and other local, seasonal ingredients. Story’s menu will have about four major changes a year and occasionally daily changes to go along with the season. With children of their own, Story’s kid’s menu is thoroughly tested and is a place where both adults and children will get food they love. Thorne-Thomsen, who is also an avid bread-maker, will be baking a variety of breads in house from scratch to serve in the restaurant. Prices on entrées will run about $25.00. Appetizers will range from $8.00 to $12.00
The bar area will include a variety of seasonal and classic cocktails made from house-made Limoncello and other infused spirits. Wine will also be a big part of the menu and special events will include wine pairing and guest chef dinners.
Lunch is served 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and dinner is 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, with a bar menu in the afternoons between service hours from 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday a brunch menu is served 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and dinner service is 5:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m.
The dining room seats 66, the bar area seats 20, and the patio seats 30. Guests can sign-up for Story’s e-newsletter and make online reservations on at www.storykc.com Guests can follow them at facebook.com/storykc and twitter.com/storykc.
3931 W. 69th Terrace Prairie Village
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