Leawood’s festive Park Place Village kicked off its summer season just a few weeks ago. Shop and restaurant owners are thrilled to greet their returning guests. Patrons, meanwhile, are excited to enjoy the venue’s many outdoor spaces and patios.
After the pandemic-forced upheaval, many of the locally owned businesses implemented e-commerce and curbside/delivery, while being even more dependent in the digital space. Going through this experience brought the local businesses together and now shopkeepers and restaurateurs are eager to bring people back to enjoy all the shopping district has to offer. Here are five reasons to check it out:
5) So many patios, so little time.
Now that many of the restaurants have reopened to socially distanced guests, there are so many alfresco dining options that are available. RA Sushi remains a crowd favorite with their open-air bar and well-spaced indoor/outdoor high-top tables. Directly across the street is the family-friendly BurgerFi, with plenty of picnic tables where both big and little kids can chow down on gourmet burgers and hand-cut fries.
The spacious Pig & Finch patio is always buzzing with servers zipping in and out to deliver delectable appetizers and entrees. And The Ainsworth’s low-key but upscale fare is perfectly complemented by their lovely outdoor dining space—one that’s spot-on for people watching. Depending on your mood, outfit, and company—there’s an outdoor eatery for everyone. Feel free to carry your food out from any restaurant and eat on the lush Barkley Square lawn. (Did someone say picnic?) “My family enjoys the green space and water fountains at Park Place in the summer,” says influencer and shop-goer, Karlie Stroup. “Park Place is a great destination for summer fun!”
4) Drink and be merry!
When everything shut down this spring, many Park Place Village restaurants and bars got creative with their adult beverages to go. Think of it as cocktails a-go-go. Take the glam, posh new bar, Verdigris. Originally slated to launch on April 1st, they delayed the opening, but found a slew of customers by offering grab-and-go cocktails to pandemic-weary patrons.
With delectable small plates, it’s the perfect place to nosh and nibble—and, of course, get your drink on. It’s the perfect place to start and end your date night.
Looking for something different? Try Verdigris’ Polynesian Punch. It’s by far their top-selling cocktail, says general manager Stephen Montez. “The flavor profile resonates with summertime. It is boozy, tropical and sweet; if that doesn’t make people feel like they are on vacation, I don’t know what will.”
3) And speaking of date night.
Turns out couples yearning for a respite from the coronavirus culture are heading to Park Place Village—especially now that the Aloft Hotel is back open for business. Want to dazzle your better half? May we suggest a lovely meal at 801 Chophouse, a meandering stroll through the shops and stores and a quick jaunt to Panache Chocolatier—a must-visit destination if for no other reason than to try their homemade ice cream. “We have enjoyed reconnecting with our customers and sharing our amazing chocolates and new flavors,” says owner Julie House. “Our ice cream is amazing—and difficult to pick a favorite between our Double Dark Chocolate and Coffee Fudge!”
Want to top off the evening with a nightcap? Hello, Verdigris! (See also #4.)
2) Movies for a month, concerts for a month—and wellness, too!
After being homebound for the last few months, chances are you’re eager to simply get out and about and mingle (safely) outdoors. Park Place Village is the perfect venue for that. Not only are there acoustic concerts on the square every Friday night this summer, you’ll also find some bigger name performers or family-friendly movies on Saturdays evenings. Park Place wants people to have a safe outlet—because it’s been a looong year, outdoors is where it’s at.
Every Saturday, Barkley Square will offer plenty of free guest experiences throughout the summer—toggling between local bands (in August) or free movies (in both July and September.) Bring a lawn chair or blanket—or snag one of the comfy Adirondack chairs scattered around and settle in to watch classic films like E.T., The Goonies, and Spaceballs, just to name a few. “One of my favorite things about Park Place is the everchanging Barkley Square. The summer allows for running around and playing—and the vibe is very relaxed with an uptown feel,” says mom-fluencer, Kelly Walters.
And starting next month, two of the area’s local fitness meccas—OrangeTheory Fitness and The Bar Method—will begin offering complimentary outdoor workouts on the lawn. (Don’t worry—they are in the morning before the heat becomes stifling.) If you’re interested in getting your fit on, see what those two studios have to offer. Newbies are welcome. And current members? Well, you’re encouraged get back in the (outdoor) gym and reconnect with your workout buddies.
1) Bring the Kiddos!
If your children need an escape, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities as well. You can cool off next to the fountains while the kids duke it out with the various games on the lawn. (Ladder Toss! Giant Jenga! Cornhole!) All games are conveniently spaced out so that you’re able to socially distance and still have a ball on Fridays during Guitars & Games.
And as we mentioned, Movies in the Square on Saturdays offers families a night of free, safe outdoor entertainment—with flicks like Mary Poppins Returns and Back to the Future. Pick-up a cotton candy or snow cone right next to the big screen as you’ve likely been missing out on your fair share this summer.
Need a little collective—or perhaps competitive—family bonding? Check out the escape rooms at Breakout KC. Bring family and friends as they offer both private rooms and virtual escapes.