In Kansas City, Missouri, Billie’s Grocery opened on June 1, 2020. Housed in a 1920s building that once housed local cosmetics and perfume company Luzier’s, Inc., the restaurant, bakery, and retail space eventually opened after several delays, including the onset of the pandemic and the lengthy process of construction progress the National Historic Register, in 2018.
In keeping with the historical roots of the building, Krause and her team restored original windows and stonework, while antique outdoor tiles have been duplicated and replaced. White color, massive green plants and handcrafted tables with wooden top complete the offer bright, clean, airy Inner of this 4,600-square-foot restaurant.
“I wanted the people, bakery boxes, and food to be a touch of color,” Krause said. “We’re working on eating the rainbow, so I wanted everything to be nice.” The space seats about 70 in-house guests, who rave about the wide range of gluten-free options and fresh flavors.
Eating the rainbow is at the heart of Krause’s vision for groceries offered at Billie’s Grocery. But it wasn’t always a big part of her restaurant model. Krause previously founded and managed Soho Bakery and four branches of Filling Station Coffee.
When she worked to the point of exhaustion and her father Bill (who gave her name to Billie’s Grocery) died of a heart attack, Krause hit the brakes and sold her existing business. She then learned about the connections between the mind and body while studying yoga, herbalism, nutrition and more while healing her own health challenges. Krause became a nutritional therapist, health coach and owner of the new Unbakery & Juicing.
Billie’s Grocery menu items often contain many organic, nutrient-dense ingredients. “But we cater to all the food and lifestyle needs of foodies,” she said. “We are a place for lunch especially from 11am to 3pm.”
Today 80-90 percent of customers are restaurant guests. Average meal tickets are around $15, including a drink, unless customers leave with a box full of baked goods — which most people do.
Vegan and gluten-free, multi-layered Caramel date bars meet gigantic ones cOkies, cupcakes and pastries in a massive baking case next to the counter where customers place their orders. “The bakery sector has developed quickly and we have moved to fast casual [service] due to staffing issues – no servers but with runners,” said Krause. “You can still care about people and reach out to anyone.”
Krause creates most of the recipes and is often inspired by dishes she has tried on national and international travels. “Everything is homemade, in-house,” she said. “The menu has grown and the Sesame Ginger Watermelon Salad is a favorite that has returned.”
Other customer favorites include sesame chicken salad with gluten-free fried chicken or a gluten- and dairy-free Thai bowl with rice noodles and no sugar in the sauce. Breakfast bowls include the Post Workout Protein Bowl and Brekki – a delicious combination of eggs, hash browns, herb butter, sourdough, bacon and spring onions. Cocktails, wines and mocktails are available at the cocktail bar and some new wraps will be appearing on the menu soon.
“Local sourcing at the moment [ingredients] was a lot simpler – meat, produce, tortillas – but then we get a few things from abroad that make us unique, like ingredients for our raw desserts or olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Italy,” Krause said. “Culinary delights.”
Across the hall, Billie’s Grocery also hosts hands-on cooking classes, such as: B. a course to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation or vegan chicken + waffles. Classes have recently restarted as pandemic concerns have eased.
After Krause’s nutrition and wellness training, she temporarily ran her own pharmacy. Apothé products included adaptogenic/healing herbs, as well as tinctures and teas said to relieve pain and induce relaxation. Still available under Billie’s Grocery retail items, Krause has also created a CBD-infused chocolate bar using locally based and nationally known Christopher Elbow Chocolates.
Though Apothé didn’t turn out to be a sustainable venture, Krause stuck with the space two doors south of the restaurant. “We are in the process of moving the bakery to the old Apothé,” she said. “There could also be a new online shop.”
Meanwhile, Billie’s Grocery continues to thrive. “I think it’s a new culinary experience for everyone,” Krause said. “It’s a healthy alternative with healthy treats. We feed the whole family – there is something here for everyone, from all walks of life.”