Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blanc Burgers and Bottles

Ernesto, originally from Mexico City, came to Kansas City via Arizona. Even though he is not a native Kansas Citian, he has become a diehard Kansas Citian through and through. He found his way to KC during some trying times in his personal life, but determined to make the best hand out of the cards he was dealt, Ernesto poured himself into his work.

After moving to KC, Ernesto became a bartender at The Capital Grille. It makes perfect sense that he had woked as a bartender, as he comes off as the guy that just wants to see everyone having a good time. Ernesto worked every shift that he could pick up at The Capital Grille, then spent Sundays with his ninos. Eventually he saved up enough money that he and a partner were able to open up The Drop in Martini Corner. After finding the space to open the original Blanc in Westport, he divested his interest in The Drop and devoted all of his time to Blanc. His wife (a former waitress at The Granfalloon) did all of the interior design and helped develop the concept.

The concept behind Blanc is to bring together a collection of the most incredible burgers and bottles that Ernesto had found in his travels and give them his own twist, all in a restaurant that is bright and inviting (thus the name Blanc). An integral part of the concept is to buy everything local that he can. Everything is local, even down to the bank that they use. The buns are made by Farm to Market Bread and are never more than 24 hours old. The only bread you will find in Blanc that is older than 24 hours old is the croutons. The milk  is Shatto. The custard that is mixed with the Shatto milk to make the incredible Blanc milkshakes (that my wife and I split) is made just down the street at Foo's Custard.

The idea for the bottle service stem from his days as a bartender; you cannot serve both fountain Coke and fountain Pepsi. Not being the type of person to tell you what you have to have, Ernesto wanted to serve both, the only way to do that was to have bottle service. After deciding to have bottle service, he began to see how many different bottled soft drinks and bottled beer he could serve. There are now over 150 bottles available at blanc, including soft drinks, craft beer, and half bottles of wine. I noticed my favorite grapefruit Jarritos on the wall when I walked in. They even have Shatto milk in bottles. (Blanc now has fountain soft drink and tapped beer options as well.)

The burgers are incredible and anyone that has tried them will agree. My wife and I had the Inside Out Burger and the Salmon Burger. Both were incredible; the fresh bun and blue cheese on the inside out burger and the sesame vinaigrette on the salmon burger set off their respective burgers. They offer burgers made of bison, Kobe beef, mahi mahi, and black bean, just to name a few. Bobby Flay (the king of the grill) has taken notice and named Blanc's Inside Out Burger the best burger in the MO. Rachael Ray made Blanc a stop on her national book tour for her new book, The Book of Burger. Blanc's ketchup and chipotle aioli are both made in house and will soon be available in what else... bottles!

The fries are made fresh in house and served in cool miniature grocery carts. Ernesto brought out some fries for us that aren't even on the menu yet, he called them Fire Fries. They were Blanc fries that had been fried and then drizzled with a vegetable oil that had been infused with habanero, chili powder, and garlic. They were amazing!

Blanc is always changing, evolving, and staying fresh. As part of this, Blanc has begun offering tacos on their happy hour menu. Being from Mexico City originally, Ernesto knows how to do tacos right. The new offerings include: Buffalo Chicken, Fried Avocado, Mahi Mahi, and Carnitas tacos. My favorite was a tie between the Fried Avocado and Mahi Mahi. My reasoning: I am in the minority of gringos and prefer corn tortillas to flour tortillas, but when I do enjoy flour tortillas, I like them to have fish on them. That and the fact that the Fried Avocado tacos were unlike anything I had ever had, they were incredible! My wife's favorite was the Buffalo Chicken taco. That being said, the Carnitas taco is no slouch. This taco review alone should speak volumes to Blanc hitting the mark with having something for everyone. Ernesto prides himself on having something for: men, women, kids, families, single people, and anyone else that may walk through his door.

I cannot say enough about Blanc Burgers and Bottles. I urge everyone to go experience the awesomeness!

You can also find Ernesto and Blanc at Livestrong Sporting Park for every home Sporting game.
Blanc Burgers + Bottles (Country Club Plaza) on Urbanspoon

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