February 19, 2013 - KC Chefs Nominated for Beard Award, Kansas City Star
Three local chefs have been named semifinalists in the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/19/4074816/three-kc-chefs-nominated-for-beard.html#storylink=cpy
May 12, 2012 - KCTV5's Mark Boyle visits Story and learns how they make their fried soft-shell crab
May 1, 2012 435 South Magazine Presents Compliments of the Chef
May 2012 - Story Scene and Be Scene - HERLIFE Magazine - Kansas City
*click on image for our story.
Thu, April 5, 2012 - Do-It-Yourself Easter Brunch - Sarah Clark - FOX 4 Kansas City * Video *
Hosting your family and friends this Easter Sunday? Carl Thorne Thomsen, chef and owner of Story, showed us how to make a delicious Easter brunch that will be sure to wow your guests!
April 2012 - Story. Restaurant in Prairie Village - HERLIFE Magazine - Kansas City
*click on image for our story.
Tue, Mar. 6, 2012 - Sauteed Flounder from Story Restaurant
Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen stopped by FOX 4 to make sauteed flounder with cauliflower on Sunday. It’s an easy seafood dish that you can make anytime. View Video
March 2012 - An Oft-told STORY - Spaces Magazine - Kansas City
*click on image for our story.
Fri, Feb. 23, 2012 - Last Bite | Sage Spaetzle With Pork and Spinach - The Kansas City Star, Pete Dulin
Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen of Story in Prairie Village frequently serves spaetzle, which translates from German as “little sparrow.” This small dumpling can be short and thin or small and button-shaped, depending on the tool used to form the noodle.
To make spaetzle, combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in mixing bowl. Stir in 1 egg, 1 tablespoon plain yogurt, 1/4 cup milk and 4 fresh sage leaves, minced.
Bring lightly salted water to a boil in medium saucepan. Press thick batter through spaetzle maker (or through holes of a colander) into water. Retrieve spaetzle from water after a minute, toss with a little grapeseed or canola oil, and spread on a sheet pan to cool.
Heat a large sauté pan and coat lightly with grapeseed or canola oil. Add 6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) pork shoulder (cut in 1/4-inch dice) and spaetzle to pan at the same time and brown lightly. Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 2 tablespoons minced onion. Sauté 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons butter. Cook until liquid reaches sauce consistency. Add 1/2 cup spinach leaves, reserving a few for garnish, and season with salt and pepper. Divide spaetzle between two plates. Garnish with reserved spinach leaves dressed lightly in olive oil and lemon juice.
Sat, Dec. 3, 2011 - Last Bite | Winter flavors, warmed to perfection - The Kansas City Star, Pete Dulin (special to The Star)
Butternut Squash Bisque
Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen of the restaurant Story in Prairie Village turns to butternut squash for this creamy soup perfect for frosty nights. The sweetness of this winter squash is enhanced by fresh apple and balanced by savory herbs and spices.
Use a sharp knife for easier preparation. Peel, remove seeds and roughly chop 2 pounds butternut squash. Peel and roughly chop 1/2 pound sweet potato and 1 carrot. Chop 1 celery stalk, slice 1 yellow onion, and dice 1/4 cup apple. Add these ingredients to a medium saucepan with 2 fresh sage leaves, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 cloves, 6-8 peppercorns, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add just enough water to cover.
Bring to low boil and cook gently for 30 minutes or until all ingredients are soft. Puree in a blender, then pour through a sieve. Return to a clean saucepan, add 1 cup heavy cream and heat gently just below a boil. Season with more salt if necessary. Serve in warm bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon and chopped parsley.
December 2011 - Time Warner Cable's Local Flavors * Video *
A Short Video of Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen & Story for KC On Demand - channel 411
November 2011 - In the Kitchen with Bonnie
Carl Thorne-Thomsen is in the Kitchen with Bonnie
French in origin, this small, slightly flattened sausage is made of minced pork, lamb, veal or chicken and sometimes truffles. Crépine is the French word for "pig's caul," in which a crépinette is wrapped instead of a casing. Inspired by this French preparation, Executive Chef & Co-Owner Carl Thorne-Thomsen creates his own version of a “crepinette” by wrapping a lamb steak with a lamb sausage of garlic, herbs and shallots to take center stage on his signature dish “In the Kitchen” at Story.
Story Pastry Chef Dominique Perez
Photos: Matt Kocourek
October 2011 KCH&G
Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Fall Apple Crunch
Chef Dominique Perez, Story
3 T canola oil
⅓ C popcorn kernels
1 three-qt covered saucepan
2 T butter (melted)
1 C sugar
1 T cinnamon
1½ t curry powder
1. Mix cinnamon, curry powder and sugar together and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
3. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the ⅓ C of popcorn kernels in an even layer.
4. Cover. Remove from heat for 30 seconds. Return the pan to heat. The popcorn should begin popping rapidly. When the popping starts, shake the pan back and forth to cook the kernels evenly. When the popcorn slows down, remove the pan from heat and dump the popcorn into a bowl with a lid.
5. Pour the butter over the top then follow with the sugar mixture. Place lid on top and shake all together until popcorn is evenly coated.
4 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples
½ C butter
2 C firmly packed brown sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1 dash salt
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla
1. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan; add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (10 to 12 minutes). Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball or candy thermometer reaches 245°F (20 to 25 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
3. Dip apples in caramel and roll in popcorn crumbles. Place on wax paper. Refrigerate until set. Reserve until ready to serve. These can be made a couple hours ahead of time. Roll in popcorn crumbles and place on wax paper. Refrigerate until set. Reserve until ready to serve. These can be made a couple hours ahead of time.
4. When ready to serve, cut apples into slices and place onto skewers. Brush exposed flesh with a 3-to-1 ratio of water to lemon juice to keep from browning. Place on tray with extra popcorn for guests.
Wed, Aug. 17, 2011 - Story in Prairie Village serves up a feast for the eyes - The Kansas City Star, Jill Wendholt Silva
This Story unfolds in a dining room with bare white walls.
Frosted, silvery glass acoustic tiles and wall dividers highlight the 66-seat minimalist and monochromatic space. There was not a hint of color save for the single flower in a bud vase, until I ordered a vivid English pea soup served in a white bowl.
Thanks to social media, expectant diners could follow the restaurant’s emerging story line on Facebook long before the doors opened in the Prairie Village shopping center. It’s an odd location for such a swank, contemporary American restaurant, so one night as Carl Thorne-Thomsen, the lanky, shy chef, made the rounds in the dining room, I asked him how he came to choose his location.
He told me he imagined that one day he’d open a restaurant in Leawood, but his wife, Susan, who worked at a gourmet foods store in Wichita and now greets customers at the door, persuaded him to consider less expensive real estate.
The restaurant’s website outlines how the chef was an English lit grad and former fiction writer/playwright. He was seduced by the culinary arts while working on a master’s in creative writing in Wichita. He made his way to Kansas City and worked at 40 Sardines and as chef de cuisine at Michael Smith’s and Extra Virgin.
Truth is, I’d never heard of Thorne-Thomsen before dining at Story. But my oversight matters less than the fact that this self-trained entrepreneur is one of an emerging second wave of chefs worth keeping an eye on as they step out of the shadows to write the next chapter in Kansas City dining.
Consider Alex Pope, formerly of the R Bar, who trained with Debbie Gold; or Patrick Ryan, owner of Port Fonda/El Comedor, who worked (and still works) with Howard Hanna. Or Hanna, who was out of plain sight as chef at the River Club and is now in the spotlight at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. To the casual diner, one day they’re toiling mostly anonymously behind the scenes.
Then, if we’re lucky, they get an opportunity to develop their own style.
Thorne-Thomsen’s style is intricate and highly composed, drawing all eyes to the plate. And with good reason. Every time I dined at Story, I found something that made me stop, close my eyes and savor that little shiver that emanates down the spine when a dish is truly noteworthy. Like the rich roasted molé served with the smoked duck empanadas.
That’s not to say there was never a misstep from the kitchen. Sadly, the pea soup was absolutely stunning to look at but bland, like eating color without flavor. The edges of the chicken tortellini cooked in broth were nevertheless dried out. I could forgive these oversights as opening jitters.
Service was competent but a bit uneven until one night I had a waiter named Tom so adept at color commentary that he made the menu come alive. For instance, he explained the chef’s twist on the Caesar meant no anchovies but instead tuna emulsified into the dressing for a more subtly twangy flavor.
Tom suggested exceptional appetizers, including the tuna tartare, a delicate mound of fish cut by the slightly salty flavor of American sturgeon caviar, with fingerling chips that finished the plate. He also recommended the foie gras terrine, a preparation he described as “silky” and served with toasted brioche. A bonus: All breads, including focaccia, batards and hamburger buns, are made in-house.
Our server explained the origins of the ingredients and relished explaining the details of the chef’s signature entrée, a Mediterranean-infused lamb crepinette, or a lamb tenderloin and sausage roulade cooked at low temperatures using sous vide, the trendy culinary technique of the moment, a preparation that rendered the meat meltingly tender.
In my book, short ribs are an odd choice for a seasonally based summer menu, but they were delicious nonetheless when served with dainty pillows of tiny gnocchi that melted on the tongue. Another interesting and successful pairing included Campo Lindo chicken and shrimp with green beans. At first I thought it was an odd combination, but then I thought about all the Chinese-American meals that combine both meats with vegetables.
The desserts, also made in-house, range from elegant doughnut holes with salted caramel to a deconstructed German chocolate cake. The sorbets — a raspberry, peach and leche merengada — were a favorite at our table. If you’re not a sweets person, a cheese plate paired with port, Madeira or sherry offers a surprise ending.
What to drink
The bar of Story is quite handsome and worth sitting at for a cool cocktail, like a cucumber fresca. There is a limited list of wines available by the glass. The chef-built wine list reflects Carl Thorne- Thomsen’s personal tastes as well as a smattering of the familiar with the unfamiliar. “Taste is such a subjective thing. We try to cover a lot,” he said.
Wed, Aug. 10, 2011 - Three local bartenders share six secret summer cocktail recipes - Ink Magazine, Sara Gish
The perfect summer cocktail is easy to drink but difficult to define.
Ashton Aubry, a bartender at RA Sushi in Leawood, likes her summer sips fruity, sweet and bursting with tropical flavors such as coconut and lime.
Paige Unger, a mixologist at M&S Grill on the Plaza, makes deliciously complex drinks when she's on the job. But off-duty, Unger hangs out on the patio at Grünauer in the Freight House with a pint of Bitburger beer or lounges poolside with a refreshingly simple green tea and rum concoction she invented herself.
Kasey Knefelkamp, head bartender at Story in Prairie Village, isn't into sweet drinks or beer, which he considers boring. He prefers spicing up backyard barbecues and dinner parties with one of his many signature cocktails. Knefelkamp puts his own spin on mojitos by adding fresh pineapple, and he adds almond liqueur to margaritas to deepen their flavor.
Whipping up a cocktail — either for yourself or for guests — has a way of making an informal get-together feel special, Knefelkamp says.
"You're entertaining," Knefelkamp says. "When you make something like this, people will think you're being really creative."
Get creative with your cocktails by diving into these six summer recipes from Aubry, Unger and Knefelkamp. Then toast the rest of the summer before it's too late: Labor Day is less than a month away.
Thu, Jul. 28, 2011 - Straight out of KC checks out KC's newest and hottest restaurant Story
Sat, Jul. 16, 2011 - Last Bite | An appetizer that's just ducky - The Kansas City Star, Pete Dulin (special to The Star)
Carl Thorne-Thomsen, executive chef and co-owner of Story in Prairie Village, uses duck for this savory version of empanadas, a stuffed pastry found throughout Spain and Latin America. Look for duck meat at McGonigle's or the frozen section of the supermarket meat department.
Prepare empanada dough by mixing 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 ounces water in a bowl. Knead gently and briefly until dough forms a smooth ball. Refrigerate one hour.
Finely dice 2 pounds of duck leg or breast meat. Brown meat in a large hot sauté pan, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 small minced yellow onion, 1 peeled and shredded carrot, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Cook 4-5 minutes.
Add 2 cups duck or chicken stock, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and additional salt and pepper. Cover pan, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 3-4 pieces and roll into thin sheets. Using a 3-inch ring cutter, stamp circles out of the dough. Place a teaspoon of duck mixture in each circle and fold into a half moon. Pour 1/4 cup canola oil in a deep pan, heat medium-high (350 degrees) and fry empanadas until light brown in color. Serve with guacamole or sauce of your choice.
Sun, Jul. 10, 2011 - Story - Around the BLOCK
Walking into Story creates a bit of a culture shock. The decor is much more akin to New York than Prairie Village, but in my book that’s a good thing. It’s just not what you expect to find in a suburban shopping center. Quite sleek, it’s devoid of color. White walls contrast with simple gray and black accents. It harkens back to the ’80s when everything was white, before people decided adding color to the equation was a warmer way to go. It became tiresome, but this is now a refreshing look, especially since the modern lines are so appealing.
Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen and his wife Susan recently opened Story after Carl’s seven-year stint under Chef Michael Smith, first at 40 Sardines and then at Michael Smith restaurant. The name comes from three layers of stories that comprise a restaurant–the owners’ story, where they came from, what led them to open the restaurant; the diner’s story; and the food’s story and where it came from. As with most new restaurants today, the emphasis is on farm-to-table, fresh and seasonal, all of which (including the story behind the name, Story) was explained by our very competent server, Tom.
I loved the variety of seasonal produce, which the night we were there focused on fava beans and mint. I succumbed to the soft shell crab because it has such a short season. The crustacean was perfectly crisp and not at all oily, though the pancetta mayo was a bit bland and could have used more punch. The octopus appetizer was also the picture of perfection. Though I prefer mine grilled rather than braised to enhance the flavor, this was cooked just right. It wasn’t rubbery or tough, and that’s a feat in itself. Its pairing with those same fava beans and potatoes was masterful.
The ravioli with morels was amazing. Despite being finished with a butter sauce, it was quite light and every bite melted in my mouth. The tile fish in prosciutto broth was fine, but not memorable or extraordinary. The description on the menu alluded to a crab fritter, but it reminded me more of a pancake. Our server had recommended it over the halibut or trout, but I’d be inclined to go for the trout next time, prepared for the moment with mushrooms, spinach, mashed potatoes and lemon-jalapeno vinaigrette.
Desserts were a marvel. The chocolate mousse is a misnomer–it was more like a sensuous and decadent Kit Kat bar. Likewise the lemon bar bore no resemblance to the bake sale variety. It was tart and sweet without being sugary, and was appointed with dots of blueberry puree.
The bread was awesome. Made in-house, each slice had a chewy crust and airy inside. The foccacia was nice, but not as compelling as the slices of batard, served with French style butter. However, don’t expect to sample it at lunch. Our server sheepishly told me that bread is only available as an appetizer, with prosciutto, olives and olive oil for a whopping $8. Those wanting a piece of bread to mop up soup or sauce are out of luck. I know making bread is a labor-intensive process, but when lunch costs more than $20 a person, I really think bread ought to be included as part of the meal.
No complaints about the actual lunch, though. We sampled both the vibrant green asparagus soup dotted with pistachio oil, and an unusual pea soup with salsa verde and meatballs. I was expecting another bright green puree, but this was brothy, with cooked peas and other vegetables in the mix. It tasted Thai to me, perhaps from the flavors in the salsa verde, but in any case, it was tasty. I also had the fluke ceviche with pine nuts, celery and cilantro. Very light and delicate.
The fried chicken thigh with fava bean succotash may not have been light; nor did it resemble what you’d get at Stroud’s.Crisp, tender and not at oily (remember that soft shell crab? Thorne-Thomsen knows a thing or two about frying), it was a thing of beauty. As is every dish that comes out of the kitchen. Presentation is a huge part of the overall experience. I suspect Thorne-Thomsen is a perfectionist, and it shows.
A trip to Story is not an inexpensive venture. But the menu is devised to allow diners to order a couple of nice sized appetizers and still enjoy a lovely evening. Lunch is a bit of a commitment and focuses more on real entrees than what Ladies-Who-Lunch may prefer. The only salads on the menu are of the side variety, not substantial enough to order as a meal. A mid-day menu is also available with a combination of some items that appear on the mealtime menus, as well as a few that are strictly available from 2-5 pm, including some awesome looking French fries. Not a bad way to while away a couple of hours at the bar or on the patio, at a easy-on-the-wallet price point.
Though Story may not be an everyday destination, it’s a coup for Prairie Village to have a restaurant of this caliber in its zip code.
Tue, Jun. 21, 2011 - A Story that's all about food with finesse - Ink Magazine, Sarah Gish
Here's the story on Story, a new chef-driven restaurant in Prairie Village.
The restaurant is owned by husband-and-wife team Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen, who have impressive backgrounds in gourmet food. He was chef de cuisine at Extra Virgin and Michael Smith in Kansas City, and she owned a gourmet food store in Wichita. Together, they've transformed a former natural clothing store in the Village Shopping Center into a contemporary American restaurant they say would be right at home in New York or L.A.
"But it's not New York," Carl Thorne-Thomsen says. So his emphasis is on meat-and-potatoes dishes elevated with sophisticated ingredients and preparation.
*The food: *Carl Thorne-Thomsen says his goal is to balance casual and elegant. So the lunch menu contains classic American hamburgers ($9) and elegant crostini with beef tartare ($8). We tried the trout ($14), a succulent fillet of flaky fish on a bed of fingerling potatoes and meaty morel mushrooms. A drizzle of subtle jalapeno-lemon vinaigrette and a bloom of shaved radish and asparagus placed atop the trout add fresh flavor.
Dinner is more expensive: Entrees cost between $24 and $28 and include duck breast ($26), Pacific halibut ($28) and roasted strip steak ($27). Our advice: Don't leave without ordering one of pastry chef Dominique Perez's desserts. Her doughnuts ($7) are incredible. The golden nuggets of fried dough are served in a heap with a moat of vanilla cream, salty caramel and passionfruit syrup. That floral syrup stands out beautifully against the dessert's creamy, salty and sweet flavors.
*The drinks: *Carl Thorne-Thomsen hand-selected the wines on the extensive wine list, but the cocktail menu is the exclusive domain of head bartender Kasey Knefelkamp. Knefelkamp, who previously worked at the Cheesecake Factory, is unleashing his creativity with drinks such as the Cucumber Fresca ($10), a martini that subtly mimics the taste of Fresca.
"I wanted to go with things that reminded me of childhood," Knefelkamp explains.
He makes his Cucumber Fresca with organic cucumber liqueur, gin and Cointreau and Pearl plum vodka (Knefelkamp says most people don't realize there's plum flavor in Fresca).
The Cucumber Fresca "is sweet but not too sweet and it finishes light," Knefelkamp says. He's right. The drink is crisp and refreshing, just like the soda. Knefelkamp also makes a Manhattan ($11) with tart rhubarb bitters and a Pineapple Mojito ($9) with fresh mint and pineapple.
*The space: *White walls, espresso wood floors and simple, sleek furniture produce a clean backdrop for the colorful food. A halo of glowing panels suspended from the ceiling adds an ethereal feel and makes the dining room feel like it could be on a spaceship or in a modern art museum.
If it's not too hot, grab a seat on the sunny patio, which overlooks the quaint, tree-lined shopping center. That'd be the perfect place to sip a Cucumber Fresca and order a snack from the midday menu (available 2 to 5 p.m.), which features smoked duck empanadas ($7), fresh baked bread ($8) and a fresh fruit and cheese plate ($12). Read more
*photos by Jennifer Hack, Ink Magazine
Tue, Jun. 21, 2011 - Story rewrites food in Prairie Village - The Pitch, Charles Ferruzza
You can't usually tell a book by its cover, but in the case of one-month-old Story restaurant, in Prairie Village, you might make a pretty accurate snap judgment about the place just by peering inside. The windows tell the story: white, sheer curtains pulled back to reveal tables cloaked in starched linens, set with shiny glassware and a single fresh flower. There's a line of black upholstered banquettes on the west wall of this cool, colorless box, all dramatically lighted, adding to the handsome starkness of the dining room
Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen and his wife, Susan, have taken a former retail storefront in the Prairie Village Shopping Center and transformed it into a stylish and expensive little bistro. Story follows in the tradition of earlier boutique restaurants in Kansas City that opened with great dazzle and had the average life span of a hot Broadway play (or, in the case of the late Café Allegro, a long-running musical — say, The Lion King).
In the restaurant's first few weeks, the usual suspects came to pronounce judgment: wealthy lawyers and physicians escorting willowy, taut-skinned wives. None of them dressed up for the occasion; Story isn't a formal restaurant, despite its exquisite service, a tasteful wine list (mostly American vintages) and an imaginative menu. I made the mistake of calling the restaurant "elegant" when I described the place to a society matron. She lifted one carefully plucked eyebrow: "Elegant? It's in Prairie Village." She chuckled, as if the restaurant were some boozy roadhouse in the back 40.
If some of the customers at Story seem lifted straight out of an Edith Wharton novel, Carl Thorne-Thomsen (who once was a creative-writing student in Wichita State University's MFA program) finds inspiration from a more varied array of sources. One is clearly his former boss, Michael Smith, under whom Thorne-Thomsen worked at both 40 Sardines and Smith's namesake restaurant. Another is the beauty of nature: The glass panels that are used as dividers in the dining area are screen-printed with photos of birch branches from his grandfather's Wisconsin home.
The plates here are as beautifully composed as a garden: a foie gras terrine, creamy as cake frosting, is positioned on a white plate with a Wassily Kandinsky-like arrangement of roasted beets, sliced almonds, a streak of bacon honey, and a jumble of brioche crostini. And there may be no soup in Kansas City that matches the Zen-like composition of Story's English pea soup. It's a glorious, brothy (not creamy) concoction of vegetable stock (a base of simmered pea pods), chopped green peas, carrots, onion, potatoes and garlic that becomes a sexy jade-green with the addition of a subtle tarragon salsa verde. It's accessorized with two pork meatballs or, for vegetarian diners, two fried rice arancini balls.
Those arancini balls aren't listed on the menu, which at first glance is a vegetarian-unfriendly list. There are no meatless entrées here, though the kitchen staff will make something if you call in advance. My friend Bonnie made the call before we dined at Story — she gave no names or limitations — and we were served a satisfying bowl of meaty porcini mushrooms sauteed with gnocchi dumplings and various chopped vegetables. It was visually bland but very tasty.
The servers also suggest creating a full vegetarian meal by ordering double portions of the two meatless starters: a divine risotto primavera with spinach and pecorino cheese (and asparagus, on the night I tasted it) or pillows of ravioli stuffed with a house-made white cheese, parsley and morels.
The latter dish was disturbingly salty; I could finish just one of the pasta pillows before pushing the plate away. But it was the only oversalted dish that night from a chef who doesn't permit salt shakers on his tables (the servers will bring them on request) and serves his bread with a square of soft, unsalted butter sprinkled with a pinch of gray sea salt, for effect more than taste.
"I haven't heard any complaints about saltiness," Thorne-Thomsen told me later. "It's usually the opposite. People want things saltier."
And in Kansas City, you have to give people what they want, which may require a little embellishment at Story. The roasted strip steak that I ordered on my second visit to the restaurant was described by the servers as potato-and-short-rib croquettes, which evokes something more complicated than this dish's roasted short ribs with braised swiss chard and hollandaise. Our server did an excellent job of explaining that a lamb "crepinette" (which sounds like something one buys for an infant's nursery) was lamb tenderloin wrapped in house-made lamb sausage, served with crunchy olive falafel balls and a smoky roasted mole.
The fish at Story needs far less explanation, except to say that it might be the restaurant's marquee attraction. The Pacific halibut was delectably moist and drizzled with a smooth lobster butter, and the rainbow trout was delicate and nearly perfect, with an evanescent crispness complemented by a splash of lemon-jalapeño vinaigrette and mashed potatoes. A pale-pink hunk of Pacific king salmon was beautiful to look at but slightly dry the day I ordered it. It arrived perched on something that was described on the menu as a "crab fritter" but was actually a flaccid flapjack.
Mon, May. 30, 2011 - New restaurant tells a tasty Story - The Kansas City Star, Joyce Smith
The Village shopping center in Prairie Village has a new tale to tell — about American sturgeon caviar with fingerling chips, golden tilefish with crab fritter and English peas, braised beef cheeks with smoked gnocchi and fava beans.
The center’s new upscale, contemporary American restaurant, Story, is focusing on fresh seasonal ingredients that might be from a “certain garden, certain sea, certain farm,” that are favorites of Story’s owners, Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen.
An area chef-restaurateur stopping in at Story on friends and family night — during a preopener week to give the staff a dry run — found the wine list to be well-thought out. Carl Thorne-Thomsen said he worked on the list for a long while, selecting different, sometimes small wineries, with maybe a limited run.
“Wines that mean something to me, ones that I enjoy,” he said.
The operation, at 3931 W. 69th Terrace (formerly Natural Wear), has three menus — lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. It seats about 60 people in the sleek, white dining room, and has 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 also incorporated a Metzker landscape piece in the glass wall dividers, one taken in the woods at the Wisconsin summer cottage of Carl Thorne-Thomsen’s grandparents.
Tue, May. 24, 2011 - Story Restaurant opens today in Prairie Village, The Pitch, Jonathan Bender
The doors to Story Restaurant (3931 West 69th Terrace) will officially open in 30 minutes. The new restaurant from chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen (featured earlier this month in Fat City's three-part chef-interview series) and his wife, Susan, is located in the Village Shops. The pair are hoping to create a neighborhood spot, wherein folks can stop by for a few small plates or a sit-down dinner.
"Our appetizer menu will be about twice as long as our entree list. That's so you can feel like you can come in and get a bite and a glass of wine or a beer. It's meant to be casual," Thorne-Thomsen says.
The restaurant serves a lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, an afternoon menu from 2 to 5 p.m. daily, a dinner menu from 5 to 10 p.m. daily, and brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Prairie Village Post attended a menu preview last night and has photos of the space and several dishes.
Story is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can make reservations on Open Table or by calling 913-236-9955.
Tue, May. 24, 2011 - Story restaurant in Prairie Village opens first chapter - Kansas City Business Journal, Breanna Hawley
Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen are hoping their new Story starts well.
Tue, May. 24, 2011 - Story. Now Open - What You're Missing KC!, Sharmin Meadows
The highly anticipated restaurant Story opened its doors today in the Shops at Prairie Village. Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen own this contemporary American restaurant. Carl is the former chef de cuisine of Michael Smith and Extra Virgin restaurants and Susan is a former gourmet food store/cafe owner.
Steve and I had the privilege of attending a preview event last night and I have to say Story is one of my new favorite places. The space is beautiful, the service outstanding and the food is exquisite. I had the chance a few weeks ago to visit while the space was still being renovated and the transformation is amazing. You can read more about my earlier visit here.
Although the décor and clean lines of this space make it an ideal location to celebrate almost any occasion or just share a nice dinner with family or friends, it is the cuisine that will keep you coming back.
I started with the smoked duck empanadas. Earlier this month when I was chatting with Carl about some of the dishes, I remember him mentioning the empanadas so I was excited to try them. The empanadas were served with black beans, avocado puree, shaved jicama, and were delicious. The outside of the empanadas were crispy, the filling tender and flavorful and the jicama added a nice crunch to the dish.
Steve loves morel mushrooms and will spend hours in the woods hunting for them so when he saw the ravioli was served with morels, he was sold. The ravioli was rich, delicious and according to Steve, one of the best things he has ever eaten!
For our entrees, I was torn between the braised beef cheeks and the lamb. I love lamb, but the beef was served with a smoked gnocchi and well if you know me, you know gnocchi is one of my favorites, and adding in this smoky element, I knew this was something I was not going to be unable to pass up. Well thanks to the impeccable service, I was able to order the lamb and get a side of the gnocchi. It was the best of both worlds and one of the best dinners, I have ever eaten.
Steve ordered the roasted strip steak, it was cooked perfectly and very tender. Sautéed Swiss chard and potato croquettes accompanied it. The potato croquettes made the dish and I am going to have a hard time eating a potato prepared any other way now that I know they can taste like that!
I cannot forget to mention the bread. In addition to being a magnificent chef, Carl is an avid bread maker and makes all the bread in house. The bread is crusty on the outside, tender on the inside and the aroma is intoxicating. What a treat!
Both Susan and Carl took the chance to greet and welcome guests. Susan invited me into the kitchen for a sneak peak and wow, I must say it was quite impressive. I noticed all the kitchen staff working hard to execute flawless and tasty dishes.
While in the kitchen, I saw a lemon bar being plated and decided that is what I would be ordering for dessert.
When it did come time to order dessert, our server suggested the doughnuts that are served over a pastry cream and salted caramel. Oh, man! That sounded so good, but I had my heart set on the lemon bar. Lucky for me Steve got the doughnuts. It was great to share the desserts and get a little taste of each and although the doughnuts were good, I would have to say the lemon bar was my favorite.
I loved the tartness of the lemon against the sweet shortbread crust. With dessert must come coffee and Story proudly serves Kansas City’s own Roasterie, which of course is great but what made it so special for me is the old fashion sugar cubes and cream it was served with. I loved the nostalgia of the cubes replacing those rainbow colored packets that normally accompany that cup of after dinner coffee.
Make plans to visit Story soon, it will become one of your favorites and make you happily ever after!
Story is located at 3931 W. 69th Terrace in The Village Shopping Center. The 3000 square feet restaurant seats 66 in the dining room, 20 in the bar and 30 on the patio. Story features local, seasonal creative American cuisine, with Spanish, French and Italian influences. Story's name refers to the fact that Thorne-Thomsen is an ingredient-driven chef who searches for the best possible ingredients for his dishes and learns their story - how they were grown, where they were fished or where they were pastured. Story serves lunch Monday - Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday and dinner 7 days a week. For dinner, appetizers run from $7-14, entrees are around $25 a piece, and desserts range from $6-10. Story offers reservations on their website www.storykc.com and by calling 913.236.9955.
If you have a great food find, restaurant or event in KC, you think I am missing, email me.
In Good Taste,
Tue, May. 24, 2011 - Restaurant review: Story at the Village Shops - Prairie Village Post, Julia Westhoff
Story, the latest entry into Prairie Village’s recentlyboomingrestaurant scene, opens its doors today — and based on a preview meal Monday night, the neighborhood looks to have landed a top notch tenant.
It’s definitely priced as the destination for a nice evening out — not a place to grab a casual bite — but from our experience, your chances of having a memorable meal seem plenty high.
Proprietors Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen have created an atmosphere that’s welcoming, bright and sophisticated. The white walls contrast starkly with the black seats and floor, and wide windows and a spacious floor plan create an airy environment with spots ideal for both groups and couples. A posh bar and outdoor area completely disguise this restaurant’s past as a clothing store.
The menu is diverse, with adventurous twists on classic dishes. We sampled the duck empanadas with jicama…:
…and the meatball and pea soup, both of which were very tasty (though we found ourselves somewhat covetous of our neighbor’s selection of the ravioli).
The braised beef cheek with smoked gnocchi was rich and flavorful:
The lamb two ways was slightly less successful, but still a winner:
But — and this is saying a lot — the desserts might have taken the cake (so to speak). We loved the chocolate mousse, layered with truffle cake and a crisp cookie crust, served with coffee ice cream and garnished with black cherries. Nom nom nom:
For dinner, appetizers run from $7-14, entrees are around $25 a piece, and desserts range from $6-10.
Story will be open for lunch Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; for an afternoon menu Mon.-Sun. 2-5 p.m.; for dinner Mon.-Sun. 5-10 p.m.; and for brunch Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat, May. 7, 2011 - Story Restaurant - What You're Missing KC!, Sharmin Meadows
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.
If you have great food find, restaurant, or event in KC you think I am missing, email me.
In Good Taste,
Fri, May. 6, 2011 - Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen, Part Three: Get to know Story Restaurant - The Pitch, Jonathan Bender
The food will be modern American cuisine at Story.
The Photographs of Ray K. Metzger will be hanging in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art through June 5. But they'll be up a lot longer at Story Restaurant in Prairie Village.
The renowned photographer is chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen's uncle, and it is his work that will divide the dining room from the bar area -- local landscapes featured on three glass panels that are 5 feet wide by 7-1/2 feet tall.
Today, Thorne-Thomsen lays out his vision for Story. On Wednesday he talked about how he came to Kansas City, and on Thursday, he explained exactly how he managed to use 11 pounds of butter in one night.
"It's hard to name a restaurant. I threw Story out there and actually kind of liked it. It's the story behind the ingredients. The fish comes out of a certain water or boat. And the cattle is from a ranch in Kansas. And then there are stories behind the dish as well. The inspiration for a chicken dish might be how your grandmother cooked it or a steak dish you ate in Chicago. It's the story of everything on the plate," Thorne-Thomsen says.
The aforementioned glass panels are to the right of the hostess station after you walk in the front door. If you were to continue on to your right, you'll see the bar behind a curved wall with a door that leads out onto the patio.
The dining room will seat 66 people with room for 20 diners in the bar and an additional 40 people on the patio. Story will be open seven days a week, serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and lunch and dinner Monday through Friday.
"Our appetizer menu will be about twice as long as our entree list. That's so you can feel like you can come in and get a bite and a glass of wine or a beer. It's meant to be casual," Thorne-Thomsen says.
Right now, Thorne-Thomsen is toying with the concept of a shrimp and gnocchi dish and smoked-duck empanadas. Diners also can expect to see bright, raw preparations like ceviche and carpaccio.
"I like that it announces that you're serving fresh food," Thorne-Thomsen says. "I love flavors that just pop."
He's also putting together a 100-bottle wine list, which will feature mostly American wines along with a healthy selection of bottles from southern France.
Thu, May. 5, 2011 - Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen, Part Two: Baking bread and using 11 pounds of butter in one night
The Pitch, Jonathan Bender
What's your favorite ingredient? Maybe butter. I think my record for how much butter I used in a night at 40 Sardines was 11 pounds. But it's not my fault; it was all butter sauces. If the sauce calls for butter, I've got to put butter in it. [Laughs.] Still, I can't eat butter like I'm 20 years old any more. I use it to level out flavors
What are your culinary inspirations? As to professional inspiration, Thomas Keller is a big influence. His cookbook, the French Laundry Cookbook, had just come out when I was starting to cook. It was that attention to detail and care for the beauty of food. He demanded that things be done a certain way, the right way. Julia Child was another influence. The idea that pot roast and beef stew are the same thing and there's a path to follow.
As far as personal inspiration, my grandmother had orange trees and Meyer lemon trees and avocado trees in her yard. She would grow raspberries and tomatoes and literally pick the stuff in the afternoon and serve it for dinner. It was just me and her husband. There would be platters of food, and she would always tell us to eat more because she didn't want leftovers.
I reach for traditional flavors and combinations that I can represent in a nontraditional way. I might do a crab cake like a fritter, rather than the traditional mayonnaise crab cake. It's all in how you present and shape it. But it still has to taste good. Food to me is about pleasure. I want to eat things that are enjoyable.
What's your best recent food find? Lucero olive oil from California. It's got very round, fruity flavors. It doesn't have the peppery bite of a Tuscan olive oil. I'll use it on ceviche.
What's your favorite local ingredient? I remember going shopping in Wichita at the farmers market for tomatoes in sandwiches. And at 40 Sardines, they put me in charge of the lunch menu, and I brought back Missouri peaches from the Overland Park farmers market for a peach salad. People are very aware of local morels. And sometimes we get chanterelles that are unbelievable. Morels have a special flavor. They taste like the forrest with a nuttiness to them as well. You just saute them in garlic and butter.
What's one food you hate? I don't really have one -- maybe fast food. I don't do fast food. I'm not particularly enamored of saffron, and I'm allergic to scallops. I like the flavor; they just make me sick. Saffron is such a unique flavor. It's very strong for me, and it's got a funk to it.
What's one food you love? Foie gras. I love a seared foie gras torchon. I love the richness, unique flavor. You can grind it up, emulsify it into sauces. It goes great with fruit and sweet acidic things. It works with mushrooms and earthy, nutty things as well.
What's your guilty pleasure? Potato chips, Kettle chips. The plain one in the brown wrapper, but that's because I love salt and butter.
What's never in your kitchen? I don't do much canned stuff. And there's never store-bought bread. We're going to make our own bread at Story. That's one of those things where freshness is paramount. Wonder Bread doesn't even taste like bread to me.
When I started at 40 Sardines, I was kind of intimidated. This was my first real kitchen job. The kitchen was busy. I had a dish on the pantry station. It was a goat-cheese flan with a cracker on it. I made the cracker out of this pizza dough. And as soon as I started making it, I felt like I could do this. It was very reassuring. For me, it's a touchstone.
Bread is total alchemy. You add flour, water, yeast and salt, and then you get this loaf of bread. People talk about molecular gastronomy. But bread is amazing. You create this thing. It's awesome. It's magic.
What's always in your kitchen? Good olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I've got to have eggs. When it's seasonal, I'll work with what's at the farmers market. I go looking for corn, but if you have cucumbers, that's what I'll buy.
What would you like to see more of in Kansas City from a culinary standpoint? I'd love to see more local restaurants. R Bar, Extra Virgin are doing a great job and the right thing. I love places that have real standards and making something, rather than just opening boxes and throwing something in the fryer. Cooking's about real ingredients and an honest product.
What would you like to see less of in Kansas City from a culinary standpoint? The exact opposite -- corporate restaurants with a generic quality, where the food is very familiar.
Where do you like to eat out? Room 39. I had a lamb breast -- you don't see that often. It's good to take chances. If you're at a famous restaurant, whether it's in New York or San Francisco, you know it's going to be good. I went to the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. I had the chicken under a brick. It was spicy and delicious with broccoli rabe. I liked the fried chicken on a biscuit with eggs and gravy at Genessee Royale. It was traditional and well-done. [Chef] Blaire [Cobbett] is a great cook.
What's the key to a new restaurant's success? I don't know. Good food and good service is what I'm hoping to provide. I try to stay organized and keep track of where my money is going. I keep track of who I'm hiring. We need to execute the food and have servers that know how to treat a guest.
What are the rules of your kitchen? People would probably tell you I have a ton of rules. No whistling in the kitchen. No singing. I like things done the way I like things done.
What's been your best moment in the kitchen? It's hard to single out one food-related moment. I have a sentimental one: I met my wife in the kitchen. I try and woo everyone with food. Chefs want to please you on every level. We want you to like it. We like seeing those plates come back clean because that means the portion size was just right, the seasoning was just right.
For some cooks, food becomes less than what it actually is. Food becomes a product. You could be stacking boxes. But I remember at With a Twist, our best-seller was a turkey sandwich. And I had to roast turkey every day. I made it so much, I forgot that it actually tastes good. But then I would have a slice and I would remember, oh yeah, that's why people like this so much.
What was the worst? I don't have one. There's little things, like when you send out a piece of veal that still has a string on it or an overcooked piece of steak. Those always suck. But I like that deadline that food always needs to go out.
If you could steal one recipe in town from any menu, what would it be? No, I don't have a favorite dish that I would steal, although there are a lot of classic dishes around town. I do like the al pastor at El Camino Real.
Who's got the best barbecue in town, and what are you ordering? Woodyard Bar-B-Que. It's a crazy-ass place that is pretty close to where I live. They've got good baby back ribs and a pretty tangy sauce. It's not as sweet. I like the beans there. It feels like what a barbecue place should be.
A chef is only as good as ... his cooks. He's as good as his staff. It's a group thing. As a chef, you have to conceptualize a dish, and if your staff can't do it, then you suck. It's not them. It's your responsibility.
Wed, May. 4, 2011 - Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen is hoping for a happy beginning of his Story - The Pitch, Jonathan Bender
With Story's opening only weeks away, you won't often catch Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen sitting down.
Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen has long, slender fingers -- the kind of fingers not meant to be cramped and bent over a keyboard, hunting and pecking for letters, when they're capable of wielding a chef's knife with blinding speed.
But he didn't know that when he was enrolled at Wichita State University, studying to get his MFA in creative writing. He knew something wasn't right, but he just couldn't put his finger on it.
A window has just been taken out of the space that will become Story Restaurant (3931 W. 69th Terrace, in Prairie Village) to create an entrance to the patio. Contractors are preparing to set tile in anticipation of the kitchen equipment that will finally leave Thorne-Thomsen's garage and make its way to the restaurant this week. Story is expected to open by the end of this month.
And the chef who is eager to get into his kitchen can't help but think about why he's not holed up at a desk writing short stories.
"With writing, I didn't know how to fix it," Thorne-Thomsen says. "But with food, I found this thing that I understood I could make better. I didn't know how to cook a chicken when I started, but I was willing to work at it and pursue it and make it better."
When he left the MFA program, Thorne-Thomsen went to Wichita's With a Twist -- a gourmet grocer with a small espresso bar. He thought he might be able to convince them that they should sell his baked goods. Instead, he ended up running their lunch counter and kitchen.
"We made everything from scratch. The amount of time I put into that lunch didn't make sense," Thorne-Thomsen says.
But it wasn't just lunch. He was also evolving as a chef. After three years, he could whip up everything from soup to puff pastry. The kitchen had been his classroom. He had also fallen in love with one of the owners, Susan.
The couple decided to move to Kansas City because Susan has family in the area. Thanks to then-general manager Ryan Sciarra's recommendation, Thorne-Thomsen was hired at 40 Sardines. He started at the salad station progressing to the saute line over a period of three years.
"They did crazy things like seat a 20-top at 7 p.m. on Saturday night," Thorne-Thomsen says. "You could see the servers pushing tables together from the open kitchen, and it would be like, oh, man, here we go."
He learned quickly that it's not fun to cook when a restaurant is slow. Over time, the number of entrees at his station rose from eight to 10 to 14 a night. When Michael Smith Restaurant opened in 2007, Thorne-Thomsen was the chef du cuisine. He worked on the menu with Smith and later oversaw the kitchen at Extra Virgin when it launched next door the following year. Thorne-Thomsen was cultivating many of the skills he would need as a restaurateur: ordering food, tracking inventory and managing the staff.
The concept for his own kitchen began to take shape in December 2009. He had put together a business plan, only it wasn't for a restaurant in Kansas City. Thorne-Thomsen had settled on Santa Barbara. His grandparents still lived there. He and Susan had been married in the California city.
"I'm an ingredient person. I don't want to fly fish in if I don't have to," Thorne-Thomsen says.
But the challenge of finding a space in another city and a series of stalled negotations convinced him that maybe he was trying too hard to find something that he already had in Kansas City. Susan discovered an empty retail space in Prairie Village, and the restaurant build-out began at the start of this year. Now he's just waiting to show off his vision for what he hopes will be a neighborhood staple.
"With writing, I could work on something forever. But with food, it has to go out of the kitchen, and you have to let it go," Thorne-Thomsen says.
And now, more than a decade later, he's finally working on a new Story.
Tue, Feb. 15, 2011 - New Story restaurant plans May intro in Prairie Village - Kansas City Business Journal, Krista Klaus
A new contemporary American restaurant concept, Story, will open in May in Prairie Village's The Village Shopping Center, co-owner and local chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen said.
The "casual yet elegant" neighborhood restaurant at 3931 W. 69th Terrace will be in the space formerly occupied by Natural Wear. Story will seat more than 100 people in its dining, bar and patio areas.
Thorne-Thomsen said that opening the 3,000-square-foot restaurant is the culmination of a years-long dream.
"I started cooking about 10 years ago," he said. "It's always been a passion, a joy."
Thorne-Thomsen, who grew up in Connecticut but moved to the Midwest for graduate school, will open the full-service restaurant with his wife, Susan Thorne-Thomsen, who previously operated a gourmet food store and café, With A Twist, in Wichita.
Carl Thorne-Thomsen most recently served as Chef de Cuisine at Crossroads Arts District restaurants Michael Smith and Extra Virgin.
Story will serve American fare "inspired by the cuisines of France, Italy and Spain." Dinner entrées will average about $25; lunch will be priced between $6 and $12. Brunch will be served on the weekends.
BlueBike architects has been hired to design the space. John Green of Zimmer Real Estate Services LC represented Story in the lease; Trip Ross of Lane4 Property Group Inc. represented the landlord.
Read more: New Story restaurant plans May intro in Prairie Village | Kansas City Business Journal
Mon, Jan. 24, 2011 - 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 email@example.com. Follow her at twitter.com/joycekc.