KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sense of pride on the East Side. That's Chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant's goal for her new culinary facility.
It's through her enterprise, The Prospect KC improving food access and nutrition on the city's East side.
The new place is called The Spot.
The 1,200 square foot space will will include a café, coffee shop and a fresh grocery section that'll accept SNAP benefits.
"It's priced and designed for people who live in this neighborhood," McAfee-Bryant said. "Of course we want everybody to come but we really are focusing on the residents and the people around us. I want them to come in and instantly visualize the long term impact that we want this space to have on the community."
She says this place will highlight two things: the neighborhood's history, located near 18th and Vine, and her own background.
"It's just a continuation of a family legacy — and dad's office was right there," McAfee-Bryant said. "That's where our first catering kitchen was so I remember sitting here in the middle to late 90s and looking at these dilapidated buildings and the run down castle and thinking, 'man there's so much this could be.' So it's a full circle moment that I get to participate in the realization of his dream."
McAfee-Bryant is working on making this a place for people to not only eat, but also learn.
She'll work with what she calls 'Prospects'; providing hands-on training for people who are interested in the culinary industry.
I wanted it to feel like a partnership where they're enhancing my experience and I'm enhancing their experience, and we're working through this thing together," McAfee-Bryant said.
Clive Siegert, who trained and connected with Chef Shanita the organization, BoysGrow, will soon be the kitchen manager at The Spot.
"I'm definitely looking forward to working in this kitchen, all this equipment is brand new, it looks amazing and I'm super excited to just start working in here," Siegert said. "Cooking is my passion so being able to work with these things and learn new skills. And other than that, it would probably be forming relationships with employees."
Siegert, who enjoys making pasta and homemade sauces, says he's ready to work in a managerial position in the community he grew up in, while also helping others learn what Chef Shanita and others have taught him.
"It's just so cool being able to teach somebody a skill or something that they'll take with them for the rest of their lives and they'll be able to profit and prosper from it," Siegert said. "It means a lot knowing that this restaurant and this business that I'm apart of is going to help my community, the community that I've been around for so long to avoid a lot of the challenges that come with poverty and all these hard topics."
McAfee-Bryant says it's critical food access is not only available, but also nutritional.
"I think that we learned in COVID that people's ability to access food, healthy and nutritious food affects everything right," McAfee-Bryant said. "It affects your mental health, it affects your physical health, it affects children's behavior in school and these are conversations that we've been having with every political person and every government entity years and years and years, but no one's really doing anything about it. I want to be a doer."
She wants to create more access to healthy living, by using her talents in the kitchen.
"My grandfather was a minister — he used to tell us, 'too much is given, much is required,'" McAfee-Bryant said. "While I've had challenges and difficulties through my life and my career, I've always still lived a long life full of blessings...and I feel like it's good to let me blessings overflow and to spill into other people lives."
The Prospect KC will have a 'neighborhood account,' According to Prospect KC's website, "it'll be funded through community donations and grants, allowing community members in need to enroll for grocery funds. The funds may be used to purchase groceries and prepared family meals, ensuring each person has access to food regardless of income."
A specific date for The Spot's grand opening has not been officially announced. McAfee-Bryant states it will be opening soon.
It'll share a space with Vine St. Brewing Co., located at 2000 Vine St.