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A Stellar Wine List and More at Louie’s Wine Dive and Kitchen

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Whether you’re a wine lover, wine curious or a beer drinker, Louie’s Wine Dive and Kitchen has something for you. Yes, they do wine here, but that’s not all. Above all else, Louie’s is about conversation, about friendships, about fun and food and shared experiences.

Louie’s is the kind of place that brings people together and creates a community around the table. The term “dive” is a charming misnomer; it’s actually quite stylish with its exposed brick, signature wallpaper and industrial finishes. Stylish, but approachable; they keep it real by making the atmosphere eclectic and light-hearted. The prices aren’t “dive” prices but they also won’t break the bank, and with some pretty amazing specials, you can eat and drink very well within an affordable range.

It’s a common misconception that Louie’s is a wine joint or even a liquor store, which is why they added “and Kitchen” to the name. The kitchen, in fact, should not be overlooked. They are turning out a mouth-watering array of contemporary American fare. The enticing, chef-driven menu is thoughtfully curated to enhance not only the wine but also the overall experience. Regional Executive Chef Phil Peters doesn’t want his guests to get bored. While the core menu of favorites is always available and consistent among locations, there are seasonal additions to the menu that incorporates fresh local offerings. There are also location-specific selections, allowing them to cater to the nuances of each market. Guest satisfaction is paramount, and so there is a wide selection of items that are either gluten free or can be made gluten free. Other dietary preferences are also easily and gracefully accommodated.

I love a prix fixe menu, and I was thrilled to see that Louie’s offered one, with pairings, of course. The prix fixe is available Thursday through Saturday; it’s guaranteed to be creative, playful and delicious. Chef Peters claims to have never duplicated a prix fixe menu. “It’s never boring,” he said. “There are always fresh, seasonal ingredients to play with.”

A new menu was released this month, and it includes some hearty, comfort-style selections to keep us all warm and insulated this winter. I recently enjoyed a decadent seven-ounce filet served with arugula puree, turmeric honey and charred leeks, paired with a heady glass of cabernet, and soon the day’s woes melted away. My dining partner had the Street Noodle, which is spaghetti, kohlrabi slaw, black sesame, toasted coconut, coconut-lime and sriracha broth and local micro-greens. A modest-looking entree but with a beautiful combination of flavors, it was delicious. Other popular items include the Four Pork Gnocchi and the Champagne Fish and Chips, and my happy hour crew swears by the charcuterie.

The staff members at Louie’s are intent on providing an excellent experience from beginning to end, and they are trained rigorously on an ongoing basis in the art of all aspects of service. Most have a passion for wine, and many are sommeliers at various levels of certification. “We want our staff to grow with us,” said Jeff Thrall, general manager. “We encourage them to pursue education and certification, and hopefully they’ll want to stay and share their knowledge with our guests.”

The superb staff will help you select the perfect wine in your price point, and make sure the glass is only empty if you want it to be. If cocktails are more your style, the expert bartenders have some mind-bending signature creations to try. Louie’s “Infamous” Happy Hour is daily from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., offering $5 glasses of select wines; $6 bellinis, Moscow mules and grapefruit martinis; and $4 local brews. They also offer 25 percent off bottles on the core wine list.

What I love most about Louie’s is The Chalkboard. On the board are the featured bottles for the night, as well as by-the-glass options. Louie’s will open any bottle of wine you want, as long as you commit to purchasing two glasses. If, after your two glasses, you want to try something else, they will put the remaining two glasses on the chalkboard for anyone in the restaurant to purchase. It’s a fun and ingenious way of encouraging people to try new wine, because here that’s what it is all about. You don’t have to know the language, and you won’t get a snooty look if you ask about the difference between pinot noir and cabernet.

But wait, there’s more! Louie’s brunch service, Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sundays from 9:00 am to 2:00 p.m., is wildly popular, and here’s why. Menu items such as the Mac Daddy Omelet, Champagne Praline French Toast and Crab Cake Benedicts, and the Almost Never Ending Carafe of mimosas for $14 plus $1 refills per glass, make it brunch like you’ve never seen it before, and it is good. They don’t take reservations for brunch, so be prepared to wait; it’s definitely worth it.

Like any successful restaurant, online ordering is available through the Louie’s Wine Dive website, as well as private event catering for off-site destinations with large party and buy-out options available. For more details please contact their Creative Marketing Director, Katherine Scofield to discuss your holiday parties and events:

Ladies, gather your tribe or your honey and get to Louie’s Wine Dive and Kitchen. There are two locations in Kansas City to choose from, Waldo and Overland Park with their Liberty location opening soon! This is a place where happy hour memories are made, and before you know it, it’s midnight and you’re still having a blast. ■

Visit for menu previews, hours and reservations.