A classy anchor in Kansas City's beautiful Spanish-styled Country Club Plaza, Classic Cup Cafe offers a perfect balance of atmosphere and food. First, there's the popular covered patio on West 12th Street, ideal for people-watching as you peruse the lengthy menu of seasonally inspired dishes. A patio out back doesn't have the view, but it still satisfies patrons eager for alfresco dining. The long, narrow dining room offers white-tablecloth-covered tables; you'll find impeccable service inside and out.
We visited for lunch on a late summer day, and our option included dozens of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and entrees, as well as daily specials. Appetizers include baked Brie bathed in brown sugar and served with lavosh, grapes and apples ($9); sandwiches like the Crabbie Caesar combine two lunchtime favorites: crab cakes and Caesar salad ($14). We were particularly hungry and skipped a salad in favor of the chicken-spinach-cheese calzone baked in a whole wheat crust and topped with chunky marinara sauce ($10). The flavors tasted reliably good, though we were surprised a bit by the filling. The chefs had taken the rotisserie chicken, fresh spinach and four kinds of cheeses and pureed them into a mixture that frankly seemed a bit like baby food; the calzone rested on a bed of the thick puree as well. It tasted fine, but the presentation and the look wasn't as appetizing as we'd hoped. Everything else we saw flying out of the kitchen looked appealing.
We're hankering to return for breakfast, though. Classic Cup makes its own pancake mix. Two griddle cakes and smoked bacon costs $8.95; patrons can add walnuts, chocolate chips or fresh fruit. The cafe also serves a killer bread pudding for breakfast, with raisin and pecan bread topped with caramel and whipped cream for $7.95. How can you pass up an option for that kind of dessert for breakfast?