Healthy Dine Finds
Harry’s Country Club and Brown & Loe
PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRY’S COUNTRY CLUB
If you haven’t been to the Kansas City’s River Market area lately, you really need to go. Not only does it have an awesome Farmer’s Market, a couple of cool Asian Markets, and, of course, the Steamboat Arabia Museum, but The River Market has one of the metro’s best collection of restaurants. Just off the top of my head there’s The Farmhouse, a terrific farm to table establishment. Il Lazzarone, my personal favorite pizza place, and everybody’s favorite hangout, Happy Gillis. And, I’ve not even scratched the surface. Here, I bring you insights into two other River Market eateries, Harry’s Country Club and Brown & Loe. Both establishments are owned by longtime Kansas City bartender, Harry Murphy. Murphy’s daughter Kate is the General Manager at Brown & Loe, and Murphy himself still runs things over at Harry’s, which is where I’ll start.
Harry’s has had a long run, opening in October of 2003 as a take on a 1940’s honky-tonk roadhouse. From the beginning, Harry’s focused on live music, a comfortable, casual atmosphere, a terrific bar program, and upscale pub food. I’d say Harry’s has nailed all four elements while building a loyal and large local following. “There are some old-school diner elements that you don’t see all the time, like fried green tomatoes, and there are a lot of sandwich options. But then we’ll also mix it up with our salads and plenty of specials during the week,” Harry’s Bar Manager Jake Barnett told me.
Barnett oversees Harry’s beverage program with features an impressive array of Single Malt Scotches and Bourbons and a selection of 200 beers! But I came for the food and the possibility of healthy menu options. You wouldn’t really expect that of “pub grub,” upscale or otherwise, but Harry’s menu holds some healthy surprises. “The chipotle black bean burger is a great option, and I really love our Greek salad. Then there’s the grilled salmon, which is a huge seller, especially at lunch. We have customers who come in and order that every week,” Barnett shared. “We have a lot of items that are on the healthier side, but if you want chicken fried steak, fried chicken, corned beef hash, or fried bologna, well we’ve got that too.” Harry’s Country Club – come for the music, the ambiance, the booze, or the food and you can’t go wrong. In fact, you can make some tasty healthier dining choices too. It’s all up to you.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BROWN & LOE
Within walking distance of Harry’s, you’ll find Murphy’s second City Market dining concept, Brown & Loe. Described as a “blend of a big city bistro and a local neighborhood favorite,” Brown & Loe makes the most of its location, a former bank constructed in 1920.
“The vaulted ceilings are a big part of the room, and there’s the actual bank vaults which we’ve incorporated into the design of the restaurant. A lot of what you see in the room is original architecture, which our architect worked to protect,” Aaron Salinas, Brown & Loe’s Sous Chef told me.
With the high ceilings and an open floor plan, Brown & Loe feels bigger than it is. It’s also rather loud, which can be both an attraction in the energy it generates and a distraction if you’re trying to have a quiet dinner with some conversation. One thing that doesn’t distract is the menu. With starters like a sharp cheddar, apple butter, crispy shallot, and sour cream pierogi and grilled chorizo shrimp and mains such as the grilled salmon and spaghetti squash, there’s something for everyone. More upscale in both cuisine and ambiance that its older brother, Brown & Loe is making its mark by serving upscale cuisine at fair prices in a warm and inviting atmosphere. “We wanted a balance of a very modern space, but Harry really wanted to provide value. He wanted to make sure that a family of four coming in for dinner wouldn’t think the restaurant was too pricy for them,” Salinas shared.
As for the restaurants healthy dine finds, there are plenty. In fact, Salinas says he thinks in terms of putting a percentage of healthier vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free items on the menu before the menu is crafted. Four salad options certainly give diners healthier choices as do the aforementioned grilled salmon and spaghetti squash. And for a sandwich, how about a veggie banh mi with grilled portobello mushrooms, house-made kimchi, carrots, cilantro, and red chili aioli?
Brown & Loe – a great space providing delicious dishes at value prices with plenty of healthy options. Now, how can you beat that?