The Past, Present, and Future of Restaurants in KC

Arvelisha Woods, India Pernell, Lucy Rieger, Austin Suedmeyer, Liz Cook
Restaurant Week
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
12:00 pm

More than three dozen Kansas City restaurants, from burger joints to fine food establishments, have permanently closed over the past 10 months, part of the heavy toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many more places have hung on, however … if barely. 

How heavy is their challenge, from reassuring and winning back customers to safeguarding staff? Where have they had to adapt? How confident are they of coming out on the other end of our city’s and country’s worst health crisis in more than a century? 

In the second of a three-part lunchtime series coinciding with KC Restaurant Week – itself a signal of the resilience of the city’s dining scene – Mattie's Foods owners Arvelisha Woods and India Pernell, J. Rieger & Co.'s Lucy Rieger, and Observation Pizza's Austin Suedmeyer join ­restaurant critic Liz Cook of The Pitch in assessing the state of the local dining industry today.

Woods and Pernell opened Mattie's Foods at 63rd and Holmes last September, expanding on the vegetarian/vegan food truck they had operated since 2019. Rieger is the brand manager for her family's East Bottoms distillery, and Suedmeyer was a cook at Plate, Affãre, and The Savoy at 21C before moving to Observation Pizza in the Crossroads. Cook was runner-up in 2020 for the Association of Food Journalists' Best Restaurant Criticism award.

The series’ final installment on Friday, January 15, will look at restaurants’ likely modified future. 

Watch the noon presentations live online at

The Past, Present, and Future of Restaurants in KC  (Past)
Monday, January 11
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The Past, Present, and Future of Restaurants in KC  (Future)
Friday, January 15
Details  |  RSVP