kansas city new restaurant hemma hemma in waldo
Hemma Hemma

Are you looking forward to an upcoming evening out and finding yourself thinking, “we should try somewhere new!”

Well, you’re right where you need to be – in this guide, us Kansas City locals are breaking down all of the best new restaurants and cafés.

Kansas City’s culinary landscape is continually evolving, and in the last year, we’ve seen innovative chefs and restaurateurs bring unique flavors to the city’s already diverse culinary offerings.

In line with the heartland’s community-centered ethos, many of them proudly source their ingredients from nearby farms and suppliers, showcasing the best of what our region has to offer.

So, let’s get into it – below are the best new restaurants in Kansas City that have opened in the last year or so!

1. Green Dirt on Oak

Neighborhood: Crossroads
Cuisine: New American
Pricing: $$
Opened: February 2024

When we heard that Green Dirt Farm, the beloved local cheese-maker with a small shop in Weston, was opening a location in downtown Kansas City, we were thrilled. And to be honest, it was even better than we expected.

Green Dirt on Oak is located in a two-story building with the first floor being more of a casual marketplace and daytime cafe. They have their signature cheese boards and small plates available.

If you’re looking for a more romantic, elevated option, head upstairs – but not without a reservation! We could not believe how beautiful the dining space was. We first took note of the velvet chairs, warm wood tones, exposed brick, and ambient lighting – it definitely felt like a swanky urban space we wanted to spend time in.

Green Dirt on Oak restaurant in Kansas City

Their menu is locally sourced, seasonal, and meant to be shared. There are numerous small plate options along with larger dishes, like the heritage pork chop with apricot chutney and hanger steak with charred spring onions and dill. And, of course, you must try the cheese and charcuterie boards. There are several different sizes and variations to choose from. Honestly, you could make a meal out of just that.

Green Dirt on Oak restaurant in Kansas City

We opted for several small plates and a medium cheese and charcuterie board. The board was a highlight – it was beautifully presented and we loved the sourdough bread and pickled veggies… and of course, their Green Dirt Farm cheeses.

It was truly exceptional, and we are looking forward to visiting again!

2. Bar Medici

Neighborhood: Crossroads
Cuisine: Italian
Pricing: $$$
Opened: December 2023

From the owners of the high-end cocktail bar Mercury Room comes this new concept housed within the same building in Crossroads Arts District.

The decor at Bar Medici is inspired by Italian Renaissance – think glitzy accents like marble and gold in an intimate setting.

Hailing from the same minds as Mercury Room, you can be assured that the cocktails offered at Bar Medici are a highlight. You’ll pay a high price for them, though. For a unique option, try the homemade limoncello.

The food is exceptional with a sectioned menu for antipasti, primi, and secondi options. This isn’t a neighborhood trattoria style menu – the dishes are elevated and beautifully presented.

Menu highlights include the crab spaghetti, meatballs, and swordfish.

3. Bacaro Primo

Neighborhood: Brookside
Cuisine: Italian
Pricing: $$$
Opened: April 2023

Bacaro Primo is a delectable addition to Kansas City’s already impressive Italian restaurant scene.

Pro tip: you’ll need a reservation in advance – possibly weeks in advance. They do set aside a few tables for walk-ins, but you’ll need to get there when they open to snag one.

This intimate establishment, a second concept from the owners of beloved Earl’s Premier, just a few blocks away, features a charming and contemporary dining room adorned with rich brown woods and brick accents. There is a welcoming air to the space, as if the restaurant has been a neighborhood staple for years.

The cocktail bar in the front room serves a selection of mostly Italian wines, beers, and cocktails, including spritzes and negronis, as well as a variety of after-dinner amaros.

Adding to the charm of Bacaro Primo are the decorative details that merge old-world inspiration with new-world art. The lighting fixtures are particularly noteworthy; inspired by old-world designs, they cast a warm, inviting glow throughout the space, enhancing the ambiance, especially in the evenings.

Bacaro Primo’s menu revolves around a rotating selection of Italian and domestic salumi, complemented by an impressive variety of Italian cured meats and cheeses from around the world. The dishes are all exceptional – flavorful and authentic.

Menu highlights include bolognese, housemade pastas, Roman-style pizza, and the roasted mushrooms.

4. Barbacoa

Neighborhood: Troostwood
Cuisine: Mexican Barbecue
Pricing: $$
Opened: April 2023

This innovative restaurant is the brainchild of Mexican American brothers and partners, who grew up savoring both traditional Mexican dishes and the flavors of Kansas City barbecue.

Their vision for Barbacoa is to blend these two culinary worlds, offering a distinctive dining experience that goes beyond the conventional barbecue definition of “sauce” and into the realm of slow cooking with smoke and real flames. The menu at Barbacoa is a celebration of this fusion.

Dishes like the brisket and carnitas are prepared using a blend of smoking and traditional preparation techniques. It’s a truly unique concept. And we love that their tortillas are from James Beard Award Winning Yoli Tortilleria.

Upon entering Barbacoa, guests are welcomed into a space that reflects a blend of modern flair and cultural warmth. Ambient lighting complements the vibrant colors and textures of the interior, which includes rustic wooden tables and leather couches and armchairs.

When we dined in, we had a later reservation and a few of the dished were sold out, so an earlier reservation is recommended. The menu is on the smaller side, with about five appetizer and five entree options. The craft cocktails are a highlight!

Menu highlights include ceviche, brisket tacos, taquitos, smoked carnitas, and arroz con leche.

5. Chingu

Neighborhood: Westport
Cuisine: Korean
Pricing: $$
Opened: January 2023

Chingu, meaning ‘friend’ in Korean, marks a significant step in bringing traditional Korean flavors to the forefront of Kansas City’s diverse food scene. Unlike many contemporary restaurants that often blend Asian cuisines, Chingu stands out for its commitment to purely Korean offerings.

We have visited several times and consistently have a great experience.

The offerings are a range of dishes that showcase the depth and variety of flavors inherent in Korean cooking. From classic comfort foods to contemporary interpretations, the menu – although on the smaller side with about fifteen items – is designed to cater to both Korean food aficionados and newcomers alike.

The food is truly exceptional – like us, you may find yourself reminiscing on the delectable flavors for several days after dining with them.

You’ll start with complimentary banchan, which is a variety of pickled and fermented vegetables alongside steamed rice. The menu is meant to be experienced family style where you’re encouraged to choose a handful from the smaller and larger plate options.

The dishes come out as they are ready, and the portion sizes are very generous. If the server tells you that you are ordering too many dishes, trust them. We were glad we did!

The restaurant sports a modern and stylish décor, with subtle nods to Korean culture. The ambiance strikes a balance between contemporary chic and traditional warmth, creating a space that is both trendy and comfortable.

The bar seating side, with a large neon of their logo casting a pink glow, is a bit more lively while the dining room space is dimmed and intimate.

Adding to the allure of Chingu is its selection of soju, a popular Korean alcoholic beverage. The restaurant offers a variety of soju flavors, allowing guests to pair their meals with this quintessential Korean drink.

Menu highlights include the bi bim bap with short ribs, savory pancakes, and Korean fried chicken.

kansas city korean restaurant chingu is one of kansas citys new restaurants

6. Kata Nori

Neighborhood: Crossroads Arts District
Cuisine: Hand Roll Sushi
Pricing: $$$
Opened: September 2023

Kansas City has several excellent options for sushi, but Kata Nori Hand Roll Bar is redefines the sushi dining experience with its focus on the chef-driven artistry of sushi hand rolls and crudos.

This establishment is the city’s first to concentrate solely on the craft of temaki sushi, offering a fresh and distinctive culinary venture.

kata nori sushi restaurant in kansas city is a new restaurant
Kata Nori

The design of Kata Nori Hand Roll Bar is sleek and modern. It features an intimate wrap-around counter seating arrangement, which limits the number of patrons, making it feel like an exclusive experience.

This layout not only fosters a social atmosphere but also allows diners to witness the skillful preparation of each roll by the sushi chefs.

There’s a lounge area for waiting guests, adding to the bar’s social environment. Along the walls are painted murals of the Kansas City skyline with Japanese accents, such as cherry blossom trees, added in.

kata nori sushi restaurant in kansas city is a new restaurant
Kata Nori

Kata Nori stands out in its approach to sushi.

Unlike the typical maki rolls served in bite-sized pieces, Kata Nori specializes in temaki – hand-rolled cones of seaweed filled with sushi rice, and a variety of raw and cooked fish, seafood, and fresh vegetables. These rolls are meant to be eaten by hand, offering an immersive dining experience.

kata nori sushi restaurant in kansas city is a new restaurant
Kata Nori

You’re encouraged to eat the hand rolls as soon as they are individually delivered to you, resulting in a fresh bite with crisp, crunchy nori. You can order them a la carte, or opt for the three, four, or five roll set, which lowers the price of each handroll.

In addition to the sushi menu and a few small plates, Kata Nori boasts a full bar program, including unique cold sake selections.

Menu highlights include hamachi crudo, wagyu hand roll, and furikake rice.

7. Noka

Neighborhood: Martini Corner, Midtown
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Pricing: $$$$
Opened: April 2023

Noka, a Japanese farmhouse-style restaurant, means “farmer” in Japanese. The concept by the chef-owner is a fine dining experience that specializes in Asian fusion cuisine.

Noka’s inventive dishes and focus on quality, despite its high price point, have made it a sought after destination. If splurging on dining doesn’t appeal to you, try visiting during the weekday. They frequently have specials, like 50% sushi and sake they do on Thursdays.

Its interior design, inspired by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi creates an understated and contemporary ambiance. From the outside, the building doesn’t look like much, but walking in through the large wooden door, you’ll find yourself impressed.

The restaurant’s design includes views of food being cooked over binchotan charcoal grills and a west wall adorned with antique Japanese pottery on shelves made from wood from the owner’s 150-year-old family barn.

The restaurant’s ambiance is serene and communal, featuring a bar and large community tables seating up to twenty, designed to bring people together.

The menu features creative small plates, with a focus on fresh seafood. The restaurant’s commitment to delivering Asian fusion without overtly spelling it out for the customer is evident in subtle touches like kimchi sourdough and sake-glazed bok choy.

We loved the sushi and wide variety of creative vegetable side dishes.

Menu highlights include seared scallops with sweet potatoes, octopus tostada, and szechuan chicken wings.

sushi bar at noka

8. Hemma Hemma

Neighborhood: Waldo
Cuisine: Cafeteria-Style
Pricing: $$
Opened: September 2023

Hemma Hemma, a culinary venture by a local chef, has transformed from a meal delivery service into a multifaceted brick-and-mortar establishment, and we can’t get enough of it.

It serves as a culinary hub, comprised of a bodega with a coffee bar and marketplace and a unique dine-in cafeteria-style restaurant.

This eclectic mix is designed to cater to various customer needs, from casual dining to culinary education and convenient shopping for gourmet and local items.

kansas city new restaurant hemma hemma in waldo
Hemma Hemma

The interior of Hemma Hemma is super cozy. It’s designed to evoke the comfort and warmth of a home, living up to its Swedish name meaning “at home.” Think soft seating, thrifted artwork, throw blankets, and pillows – all creating an inviting atmosphere.

The restaurant’s cafeteria-style dining has a refined retro vibe. The menu is seasonally driven and features approachable dishes that are both inventive and exemplify global culinary influences.

You can curate your meal from a variety of offerings, including inventive salads, rice dishes, sandwiches, and hearty sides. We love that you have the option to get smaller portion sizes of several items. Our approach is to try a little of everything.

Hemma Hemma also provides a “Fill Your Fridge” weekly meal service, managing to combine the convenience of prepared foods with the charm and sociability of a neighborhood bistro

Menu highlights include tomato thai basil soup, hot honey chicken and biscuit, cauliflower lentil salad, and miso chicken meatballs.

kansas city new restaurant hemma hemma in waldo
Hemma Hemma

9. Barrio Taqueria

Neighborhood: Martini Corner, Midtown
Cuisine: Mexican
Pricing: $
Opened: July 2023

Barrio Taqueria is the latest addition to the local Barrio brand, which is known for its vibrant Mexican cuisine, but the taqueria is a new concept that focuses on a more relaxed menu.

When they opened they stated that unlike the other Barrio restaurants, Barrio Taqueria will not offer traditional entrees. Instead, the menu caters to a more casual, quick-service style. However, when we visited, we found that there were still a good amount of entree-style options in addition to the street taco selection.

The space is bright with a standout feature being the addition of an expansive, trendy rooftop patio.

Menu highlights include a creative taco selection, brisket quesadilla, and excellent selection of margaritas.


And there you have it – the best new restaurants in the City of Fountains!

We hope that the next time you are planning an evening out, you choose to support local, whether it be your favorite standby or one of these new, innovative options!

In need of more suggestions? Read our take on the best hidden gem restaurants in Kansas City.