KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 2018 marks 20 years in Kansas City for Lidia Bastianich’s restaurant in the Crossroads, Lidia’s Kansas City.
This time on Chew Diligence, she tells co-hosts Lindsay Shively and Jill Silva about how she decided on the location, her Italian roots and passion for genuinely good food.
Lidia said her journey to Kansas City began when her son saw a need for their brand to expand beyond New York City.
As they explored locations, Kansas City’s central placement and easy access to product made it a prime location.
Lidia said when they bought the freight house restaurant, there was a lot of work to be done, including getting rid of a giant mud puddle occupying what would become the dining room.
Despite its outward flaws, Lidia said the place felt special to her. With Union Station just across the way and trains blowing past, she said she saw the potential for a “little Italy” to spring up right in the middle of America.
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We've come a long way over the last 20 years & we have been lucky enough to have such loyal customers. Tomorrow, we celebrate 20 years in the historic Freight House building, and we're feeling quite grateful. #LidiasTurns20 . . . #lidiaskc #kc #kansascity #kcmo #igkc #instakc
But before even buying the new location, Lidia had to make sure she had access to quality products from which she could make her regional Italian cuisine.
She said she talked to the people who actually grow the product, the farmers, which was easier to do in KC than NYC since the fields are much more accessible.
Lidia’s passion for finding truly great food came from the time she lived a on farm with her grandmother, where she cared for her own animals and plants and eventually used them to help her grandma make signature family recipes.
The same flavor profiles she loved as a little girl still make it into her cooking today and onto the plates of guests at all of her restaurants.