Bluestem, Kansas City, MO (New American)

Chef: Colby Garrelts

Chef Colby Garrelts opened Bluestem in 2004 with his wife, Megan. Bluestem allows Colby to showcase his progressive American cuisine, and Megan as Pastry Chef to create new varieties of American desserts. Growing up in the Midwest, the Garrelts is inspired by the cuisine they grew up enjoying and now serve in their restaurant. Bluestem is Garrelts interpretation of fine dining where every dish is meant to be an experience.

Established in 2004, Bluestem has a quiet ambiance. Although a smaller restaurant, they still manage to make each table feel private. With an open kitchen and impeccable service that is not rushed or invasive, dining at Bluestem is truly a remarkable experience. Bluestem offers a Prix Fixe Menu where guests can choose between a three, five, or seven-course meal. While the menu is subject to change seasonally in order to take full advantage of the freshest ingredients and flavors, some dishes are considered Bluestem regulars and can be found on the menu during most seasons. Currently, on the fall menu, guests can choose to indulge in the Butternut Squash Sweet Cream Bisque with Apple and Brown Butter Pecans; a true tribute to the season and a delicious way to begin the meal. Next, you can elect to have the Carbonara with Braised Pork Crumble and Egg Yolk which is truly savory and the perfect combination of texture. The Sautéed Sea Scallops with Carrot Bisque and Glazed Pork Belly with Mascarpone Polenta are two fantastic options for your main course that will please any palate before ending the evening with one of Bluestems delicious signature desserts. The Caramel Cremeaux with Pumpkin Ice Cream and Butternut Puree tastes just as delightful as it looks. Plated beautifully and adorned with a variety of brightly colored flowers, this dessert will leave you wanting to return to Bluestem again and again. For those that desire, Bluestem offers a wine pairing, a vast wine list, and a signature cocktail menu. Handmade and creatively titled, the cocktail menu features options such as the Shrimp and Grits which contain gin, lemon, and pea flower, the 1738 with rum, honey lavender, and peach foam, and a wide variety of beers, scotches, and bourbons. No matter what you are craving, Bluestem is sure to have something that will appeal to you.

  • James Beard Semi-Finalist, Best Restaurant (2015-2017)
  • James Beard Award, Best Chef Midwest (2013)


Phone: (816) 561-1101

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Tony Lagana

Chef Tony is a 42-year veteran of the food industry and is often known by his peers as “The New Product Guru.” Throughout his illustrious culinary career, he’s earned several notable titles and positions including Acquisition International’s “Most Influential Product Development Expert, U.S.” in 2019.

In 1997, Tony also founded Culinary Systems Inc., a group of culinary consultants that assist with culinary training, restaurant start-ups, concept development, and more. Since then, Tony and his team have generated over two billion dollars in sales for their clients in restaurants, retail, and manufacturing.

The strategic, technical, and culinary skills of Tony and his team can be seen on the menus of national chains, in the portfolio of national food manufacturers, and on the grocery shelves of products produced by major retail companies.