After a devastating fire destroyed the original location, Plate will reopen in a bigger space in its original East Brookside neighborhood in the spring of 2019.

Owners Christian and Andrea Joseph have announced that their popular and formerly pint-sized modern Italian restaurant, will reopen in a new home on April 12, 2019 – two years to the day the fire destroyed the original location.

It seems a fitting date to honor for the couple, who spent a lot of time soul-searching after the fire and trying to decide if they would reopen Plate. The fire not only gutted their original building, but their hopes and dreams for the future of that restaurant. Still, they began imagining what could have been, and thinking about how they would do it differently. Eventually, they decided to start slowly looking for a new location.

“You can’t imagine how hard the decision was; we wrestled with it for a long time,” Christian says. “But eventually we realized we could take all of things we wish we would have known, the things we would have done differently and have a proper do-over for Plate, a restaurant that we felt had been stopped short of reaching its full potential because of the fire.”

One of those do-overs is a bigger restaurant space. “With our new restaurant, we knew we didn’t want to be in the position of having to cram folks in; we never liked making people wait for a table,” says Christian. “We realized quickly we needed seating for both large groups, and smaller 2- and 4-top tables, and we needed room between these tables to allow for proper food and beverage service and for guest privacy. We want to make changes to dampen the noise in the restaurant, switch up the bar and menu offerings and rethink the bathrooms.”

They have solved all of these issues with their new space, which at 7,500 square feet is more than five times as big as the original location. The new Plate will have room for 200 people, compared to the 85 seats at the original. The restaurant will be located on the lower level of a three-story building that was formerly home to the Cleveland Chiropractic College Health Center. Plate will also have access to use the two-story parking garage next door with plenty of room for their restaurant patrons.

The building is currently being remodeled and updated based on Christian’s own design plans. He describes the new Plate as upscale, luxurious and comfortable. The building is owned by local real estate developer Butch Rigby, who was instrumental in getting the couple to come and look at the space even when they weren't sure they would reopen the restaurant.

“We had made the decision not to reopen Plate, and were moving on with our lives,” Christian says. “But over time, we slowly started talking about what it would take to reopen, locations we could consider, and that is when Butch reached out, not knowing we had been talking about reopening, and encouraged us to just come and look at this space he had on 63rd Street that he thought would be perfect home for Plate. He was right – it was – and that was it.”

The building is currently being fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows that will face 63rd Street, with five large round booths that will ring the inside of the restaurant. Intimate tables and chairs will fill in the rest of the seating area. An outdoor patio will wrap around the building and be used as a three-season space. A large bar will anchor the middle of the restaurant with a private dining room on one side for larger parties and events that will feature a wall of wine that will be on display.

In the kitchen, the couple welcomes back culinary veteran Brian Mehl, who was Plate's original executive chef. At the new location, Mehl will be preparing the same delicious Italian dishes using fresh, simple and locally sourced ingredients. “We have matured in our thinking about our food and our menu. We plan to add more pasta offerings to the menu, and will move away from shared small plates to more entrée-sized portions for the price point,” Christian says.

A new late-night lounge called Fiamma (or “flame” in Italian), will also open inside Plate. “One of the things we noticed at our original location was that some people wanted to linger after their meal was over, or stop in late night, after a show, and we want to create a place where people don’t have to be rushed off into the night,” Christian says. “Fiamma will be a separate lounge located near the bar in the middle of the restaurant that will be open from 10pm to 1am, serving a separate menu of lighter, late-night fare along with a special cocktail menu.”

As the remodeling of their new restaurant progresses through the winter, the Josephs will no doubt have their plates full. Yet by the time spring has sprung in Kansas City, diners can look forward to seeing what’s new at Plate.

Plate will be open seven days a week for dinner starting at 5pm. Lunch will be served Friday, Saturday and Sunday only from 11am to 4pm. Happy hour will be offered from 4 to 6pm daily.

Plate, 701 E. 63rd St., East Brookside, in Kansas City, Missouri, 816.492.5551, platekc.com

Jenny is Feast's contributing editor for Kansas City. She brakes for chef's coats.

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