Third Street Social, Lee's Summit

By all accounts, Third Street Social has made a name for itself in just over a year—not only in the community but among Kansas City’s restaurant owners and chefs. Recently honored as “Restaurateurs of the Year” by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, owners Domhnall Molloy and Andy Lock’s track record includes five popular restaurants with Third Street’s all-scratch, chef-driven kitchen as their latest success.

Diners enter historic Arnold Hall on the steps where former President Harry Truman announced the start of his political career. Built in 1946 by Sherwood Manufacturing, it was eventually donated to Lee’s Summit for a community center. Years later, the brick building stood vacant before Lock and Molloy purchased it at auction.

Restored to its former glory and listed on the National Historic Register, original trusses support the barreled wood ceiling. Modern touches define the chic bar: marble tile, a gleaming copper countertop and wood burning fireplace. Seating options range from cozy circular booths, high tops, the 18-seat Truman table and three-season patio.

“We worked on the menu for about a year and took research trips to Chicago,” says Chef Molloy, who trained at Portland’s Western Culinary Institute.

According to Molloy, the bar program remains integral to the restaurant. The scratch bar serves a rotating cocktail menu, a large selection of bourbons including an exclusive “American Prairie Bourbon” that’s aged an extra three months in rye barrels, 24 beers on tap, 16 wines by the glass and 60 labels.

My husband and I opted for the popular Sunday brunch. Starters include the bestselling crispy fried Brussels + cauliflower, paired with jalapeno aioli and a tangier malt vinegar aioli, flavorful Korean steak tacos and creamy deviled eggs topped with a spear of Nueske’s thick bacon. Some tables simply order three or four appetizers and call it a day. But the enticing entrees called for more.

Fresh walleye fingers are lightly battered to perfection, as is the buttermilk-brined fried chicken; its crispy coating didn’t hint of oil. Biscuits and gravy feature a slightly spicy, chorizo verde gravy (worth throwing calorie-counting out the window) over tender drop biscuits. Covered in flaky pastry, chicken pot pie, baked in a cast iron cassoulet with red wine-braised chicken, is reminiscent of Coq au Vin. Savory-sweet Korean steak and noodle salad intermingles crispy and boiled noodles with the same bulgogi marinated flank steak as the tacos. Other highlights include fish flown in four times weekly, house smoked and cured pastrami and, for dinner, bone-in ribeye for two.

Pastry chef, Nikki Foster, makes dessert impossible to ignore. Granny Smith apple pie layers salted caramel and cinnamon accompanied by house-made salted caramel ice cream, oatmeal cream pie (actually soft cookies baked daily) comes filled with sweet buttercream frosting, and chocolate peanut butter mousse cake layers dark chocolate ganache topped with Heath bar crumbles. All a definite hit and generous enough share.

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