French me. No, not that way. I’m talking about a French 75. A French Fry. A Crepe. I’m a Francophile and I’m proud of it. If you’re looking for an intimate date spot, look no further than ÇaVa in Westport. Located at the very end of the block, past Port Fonda and across from Atomic Cowboy is a tiny oasis full of champagne and fromage.
This place and I go way back. I had a third date there with a guy I was seeing a few years ago. We ordered bubbles and mussels and pommes frites and sat in that cozy corner for hours. The melting white candle wax, dim lighting and French classics filling the space made the evening as romantic as it could get. The guy didn’t last but I’d rather keep this place. I’ve sat there with friends, been on double-dates, caught up with my girlfriends, had brunch with my guy friends, a cocktail with an old pal and even alone when I was craving just a bit of peace, just a bit of France. My life in Kansas City is dotted with memories at this place. Every corner, a moment in time that was made all the better by the ambience. In the B.C days (before Covid) they would have live music inside. A raspy jazz singer, maybe a pianist, turning their sexy vibe way up. They’ve started up again with music and you can check out their calendar here. I’m all about romantic cozy corners and this place has them in spades. Impress your date by bringing them here. Thank me later.
The menu is small and not fussy. They have beautiful little dishes and strong drinks, what more is there to make-up a good life of food and wine?
Start out with the Pommes Frites ($6) served with aïoli, they are SPOT ON delicious. They definitely are a contender for best fries in Kansas City. And what are fries without Mussels? The French equivalent of Peanut Butter and Jelly, they go together so well. Order the Moules ($16) roasted squash, leek, chive, white wine reduction, Ibis baguette and you’ve made yourself a nice little tasting.
Feeling something more hearty? Go for the Croque Madame ou Monsieur ($12) Fantasma’s Finest pit ham, comtè, dijon, sunny egg or sauce mornay; a traditional French sandwich that will have you craving it at home on a lazy Sunday, likely while hungover.
Fear not if you can’t because Sunday Brunch is perfect at ÇaVa if you’re looking to not over-indulge on food but perhaps splurge on more drinks. Order a Mimosa – classic or with Grapefruit/ Cranberry ($9/$30) pair with a pastry, Everything Bagel Croissants, Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, Fig Kouign Amann ($4) or try my favorite dish, Fried Green Tomatoes ($14) with roasted eggplant puree, sunny egg and an herb salad. It’s especially picturesque on their patio. Covered for shade, with tiny French flags, grey metal chairs, twinkle lights at night and you would think you were far away from a place called Westport.
What drives me to drink, ahem, I mean, go to ÇaVa is their wine list and their wine descriptions. Wine Pun Manager (and GM) Sarah Hogan will guide you in the right direction if you’re in need but here are a few favorites:
Lise et Bertrand Jousset ‘Exilé’ Rosé . . . 13 – btl 50 glou-glou Gamay, raspberries, summer gossip
Can Sumoi ‘Ancestral Montònega’ 2017 . . . 12 – btl 44 crisp pear, petals blowing in the wind, sea spray
Or try their cocktail, the KC 75 London Dry gin, sugar, lemon – a favorite of mine and soon a favorite of yours.
Howard Hannah’s owner and chef (owner of The Riegar) reminds patrons that “Champagne is for the masses” and there is no need to wait for a special occasion to pop a bottle and I agree. Life itself is a special occasion, especially during these times. Their “jewelbox of a bar” is the perfect place to celebrate the little things with little bubbles. And Howard knows France. He spent years in the Burgundy region where he worked at the Louis Jadot Winery (try their Chardonnay as soon as you can!) and the Michelin-starred Hostellerie de Levernois.
As Howard says, you need not to be a oenophile to explore the world of sparkling wine, just the desire to try something new. They source sparkling wine from small producers who tend to their grapes with loving care just as local farmers tend to their produce. ÇaVa is tiny homage to France in the Midwest and I am always grateful to be a part of the experience. If you don’t make a point to stop by ÇaVa, as they French would say, triste comme un repas sans fromage. It would be sad like a meal without cheese and who want’s that? Support local, eat local and while we can’t travel, ‘visit’ France by way of Champagne.
Sunday 11am -4pm
Monday-Wednesday – Closed
4149 PENNSYLVANIA KCMO | 816-255-3934