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Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen Narrate their Art at Story.

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Once upon a time, Carl, an aspiring chef, began working in the kitchen of a charming café and gourmet food store in Wichita, Kansas. He was a writer with a passion for food and this was his first cooking job. Carl became acquainted with the café’s beautiful and accomplished proprietor, Susan, who soon noticed that Carl had a gift for making culinary art. Carl and Susan shared a mutual appreciation for fine food and world travel, and so a story began to unfold. The talented pair married and traveled the world together, eating their way around the globe and taking notes. Carl became a sought-after chef in Kansas City, toiling in the kitchens of some of the hottest restaurants in town and working his way up through the ranks, from line cook to executive chef.

Eventually, the couple began to dream of opening their own restaurant. As their concept took shape, Susan began the search for the perfect location in which to begin the next chapter of their lives. Her search led her to Prairie Village and a vacant retail space that offered an idyllic setting for their fine dining venture. Pages turned and just over five years ago, Story. opened its doors for the first time.

Carl and Susan have been gaining momentum ever since. With Carl’s expertise in the kitchen and Susan’s business savvy, they have achieved numerous industry awards and recognition. In 2014, Carl won national recognition from FOOD & WINE Magazine with the People’s Best New Chef award and he was also a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest. Earlier this year, Carl and Susan were recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine with the Best of Award of Excellence for having one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world. They have a collection of approximately 1,500 bottles, with about 500 wines available at any time in the restaurant. They also just received two stars from the World of Fine Wine Magazine, an impressive international distinction.

“We are always thinking about food with wine, how they go together,” said Carl. “And then we ask: what’s the best we can get?” Carl uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, working closely with Campo Lindo Farms for chicken, Greengate Farm for eggs, Rare Hare Barn for rabbit, and Cultivate KC for a variety of ingredients. He also shops farmers’ markets for seasonal produce whenever possible. The menu constantly changes based on what is available and in season to ensure the finest quality food.

Carl and Susan strive to make each guest experience a story to remember with fine food and wine, superior service and elegant surroundings. Reservations are strongly encouraged on weekends, since seats at these tables are in high demand. “We envisioned Story to be a neighborhood restaurant; we knew this area would support a fine dining restaurant. But we have been a little bit surprised that we have also become a destination restaurant,” said Susan.

It was not a surprise to me. As soon as I walked through the doors for the first time, I knew I was in a very special place. It’s an intimate space, decorated with understated sophistication. Clean, simple lines are the rule, with tastefully selected pieces from local artists William Rainey and Lisa Lala adorning the walls.

Since this was my first visit, I was treated to a gourmet buffet of guest favorites. Carl filled my table with crisp white plates that served as canvases for his halibut, ribeye, ravioli and a light dessert of shortbread, peaches, raspberries and whipped cream. All pasta and pastries are crafted in house by the staff pastry chef. This is food that tastes as beautiful as it looks, and one can’t help but appreciate the artistry behind the entire dining experience.

Story. offers a variety of dining experiences; join the email list on the website and you’ll be notified of these special events. They host monthly wine dinners, typically a five- or six-course meal with pairings and a guest speaker. By popular demand, Wednesday night is fried chicken night. Carl serves four pieces of Campo Lindo chicken, savory bread pudding with parmesan gravy and seasonal vegetables for $19. They suggest a glass of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine to complement the meal, on special that night for $8 per glass. And every Sunday, there is a Chef’s Choice dinner entree special for only $10; the full menu is also available. Story. is also available for private events. They host everything from business luncheons to rehearsal dinners, comfortably accommodating parties of up to 80 guests.

The local, national, and international success of their first restaurant is not the end of the road for Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen. There is much more to come in their story, as they plan to open a second restaurant sometime next year. They are nearly ready to embark on the adventure of writing a new chapter in their lives. I cannot wait to taste what they have in mind. HLM

Visit Story. at 3931 W. 69th Terrace, Prairie Village, Kansas; call 913-236-9955 or visit to learn more.