The Kansas City area has plenty of options for getting your shopping, dining and merry-ing done this holiday season! Approximately 20 miles from Downtown Kansas City sits Downtown Overland Park with many interesting spots to enjoy! Guest blogger Lisa Waterman Gray shares a few of her favorites.
If you prefer holiday shopping in quaint neighborhoods with broad sidewalks and hand-decorated trees, then check out Downtown Overland Park – especially for food lovers on your gifting list. Whether you’re seeking taste bud-tantalizing stocking stuffers or larger food-focused holiday gifts, you’ll find four great shops with options that will delight the most finicky foodie.
When you’re ready for a shopping break there’s a tasty smorgasbord of locally owned neighborhood restaurants to choose from. Add several bakeries offering sweet goodness for snacking or entertaining and you’ve got the ultimate food destination.
The Tasteful Olive (full disclosure: I work here part-time)
At any time of year you’ll find 60+ premium olive oils, specialty oils and balsamic and wine vinegars in a warm and inviting environment. Sip samples to find your favorites and then purchase several freshly filled bottles. During the holiday season the shop also offers gift sets priced from under $10. Gourmet pasta, bruschetta toppings, bread dipping dishes and cookbooks are just a few additional possibilities for food loving friends and family.
When Penzey’s opened in Downtown Overland Park in 2002 the city gained a rare retail outpost of the spice company. Today their stores operate across the nation. From filled glass jars to empty jars and labels paired with large bags of spices, there are plenty of flavor options available. Whether you purchase Vietnamese cinnamon or American-grown basil, Penzey’s is a wonderful playground for cooks who want to add just the right seasoning to every dish.
The Culinary Center of Kansas City
Though best known for the hundreds of cooking classes they offer each year, this downtown landmark also operates Kitchenology, a small retail space with all manner of kitchen gadgetry and whimsy, including vintage-style aprons, cookbooks by local authors and microplanes. You may savor a food or beverage sample and be sure to check out their homemade, fresh-frozen ‘Dinners on Demand’ entrees and sides. Monthly Staff Lunches are also a gourmet bargain.
Ten Thousand Villages
With a Fair Trade focus, this lovely store offers hundreds of home décor, personal accessories and even children’s toys sold by a largely volunteer staff. But Ten Thousand Villages also stocks a limited supply of food items including organic Fair Trade coffee, jams and chutneys from Swaziland, tea from India and hot chocolate mix that includes Dominican Republic chocolate. International gifts from this store do good as they delight recipients.
It’s amazing how many restaurants operate in this little neighborhood and how many cultures they represent. Family-owned, bright and cheerful, El Salvadoreno offers terrific homemade Salvadoran food at breakfast, lunch and dinner with frequent drink specials and great prices.
Authentic cuisine is lovingly prepared in the tiny and quiet Elsa’s Ethiopian Restaurant where traditional injera (bread) serves as a primary utensil.
For stellar margaritas plus nicely crafted enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas and much more check out Mi Ranchito on 80th Street. Downtown Overland Park’s oldest restaurant, Dragon Inn, offers flavorful, authentic Chinese food made by the Tsui family since 1975 and served in a dining room replete with Chinese art and decor. Papa Keno’s personalized pizza begins with unadorned pie and ends with dozens of extra toppings, from anchovy and salami to blue or feta cheese and almonds or artichoke hearts. Read more