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Chef Michael Smith gives a sneak peek of new concept

January 30, 2019
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As seen in the Kansas City Business Journal, by Leslie Collins (Jan 29, 2019). 

Michael Smith's newest restaurant concept, Farina, opens Feb. 5 in Kansas City and capitalizes on his love for Italian food. 

His passion for the cuisine is rooted in his work overseas in the '80s and really ramped up about seven years ago, when he bought a pasta extruder for his Michael Smith Restaurant at 1901 Baltimore Ave., he said. It features 26 dies for making fresh pasta, and he became obsessed. He slowly started adding more pasta dishes to the menu, and soon Michael Smith became more of an Italian restaurant. Launching a new concept instead of keeping Michael Smith, however, gives him more flexibility. 

"It's never easy to craft a first menu because people judge it, but sometimes it's freeing because you can put anything on it you want, and it helps you break out of a box," Smith said. 

Farina, which means flour in Italian, is at 19 W. 19th St., just down the street from Michael Smith, which has been transformed into an event space. Farina features earthy tones, wood accents and Italian-inspired rugs to add warmth. Forget the white table cloths — Smith is going for casual elegance, he said. Kansas City-based Helix Architecture + Design designed the space, and Kansas City-based McCownGordon Construction was the general contractor.

One of Farina's staples is an oyster bar that will feature at least four to six oyster varieties at a time. Other menu offerings include grilled octopus, grilled veal chops, sirloin steak and a variety of pasta dishes. One of Smith's favorites is the bucatini carbonara because it's simple, yet offers tons of flavor, he said. 

Its wine selection includes about 185 labels, which will be expanded to about 250 labels in the next several months. 


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