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Michael and Nancy Smith to Open Farina, a Modern Italian Restaurant, in Kansas City in Early 2019

December 13, 2018
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As seen in Feast, by Jenny Vergara. (Nov 15, 2018) 

The new year will bring big changes for chef Michael and Nancy Smith and their growing hospitality empire.

The James Beard Award-winning chef and his wife, wine director and managing partner, have announced that their new modern Italian restaurant concept, Farina, will open in its new home in January 2019.

Currently under construction at the corner of 19th and Baltimore, Farina will open in the building just west of the couple's popular tapas restaurant, Extra Virgin, which will continue to remain open both during and after the move.

Smith's original restaurant, Michael Smith Restaurant at 1900 Main, will also remain open, but only through Kansas City Restaurant Week 2019 (January 11 through 20). After that, the space will be transformed into Michael Smith Events, a private dining and event space. 

The interior of the chic 90-seat restaurant is being designed by Helix Architecture + Design, which is drawing on elements that invoke the Italian region of Tuscany and Umbria. The Farina space will integrate plentiful natural light, stone, warm woods and wide-planked floors for an ambience Smith describes as “rustic elegance with a distinctive vibe we cherish in Italy.”

“It’s thrilling to see Farina take shape in an area of Kansas City where our creative heart and soul is,” Smith says. “Nancy, the team and I can’t wait to welcome guests to Farina where they’ll experience our interpretation of modern Italian in an environment perfect for lingering.”

Farina, the Italian word for flour, was chosen to highlight Smith’s now-signature handcrafted Italian pastas that he and his culinary team first rolled out in July 2017. The new menu at Farina will continue to highlight Smith’s love affair with Italian cuisine, which will include antipasti, fish, steaks, seasonal sides and desserts.

At the intimate cocktail bar, guest will enjoy cocktails created by Alberto “Berto” Santoro, who is the bar manager for both Michael Smith Restaurant and Extra Virgin. Santoro will spearhead Farina’s new bar program and continue to oversee the Extra Virgin beverage program after the move.

New to this restaurant group, and the Crossroads, will be a fresh oyster bar where guests can stop in anytime to enjoy a dozen fresh oysters on the half shell along with a glass of wine. For slightly larger groups, there will be a separate 25-seat private party room in the space. 

Views of the Kansas City Crossroads will be on full display from every seat in the dining room, celebrating the neighborhood that they will continue to call their culinary home for some time to come.

And with Farina on track for a late January opening, it sounds like Kansas City diners will have a perfect new spot to celebrate Valentine's Day next year.

Farina by Michael Smith, 1901 Baltimore Ave., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri

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