Acre has 3,500 sq. ft., 80 seats, 30-seat patio
Andrew Longres’ love of food started when, at 10 years old, he checked out a copy of Gourmet magazine during a trip to the school library. Twenty-five years later — after working at some of the country’s finest restaurants, including The French Laundry, Bluestem and The American Restaurant — Longres returns to his Northland roots to open Acre, a 3,500-square-foot, 80-seat restaurant in Parkville Commons Shopping Center, 6325 Lewis Street.
The restaurant opened to the public at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Designed by the Kansas City-based architectural firm Herron + Partners, with construction managed by ARC General Contracting, the renovated space is formerly occupied by a pub and has been transformed to a dining room of casual elegance.
Natural materials were used to create bright, clean lines, a backdrop for a striking custom painting by famed local fine artist Jennifer Janesko. Other interior noteworthy design features include a wrought iron wine tree sculpture, tweed banquettes, marble counter tops, pendant dome lights and etched acoustic ceiling tiles. In addition to the main dining room, the restaurant includes a full bar, a 10-seat private dining room, a chef’s table, a 30-seat patio with pergola and free parking.
The open kitchen revolves around a brasero-style, wood-fired hearth forged by a Missouri craftsman. The hearth allows the kitchen staff to roast or grill signature entrees such as pickled chicken thighs and tenderloins served with hot sauce, kosher pickles, fresh dill, honey, and garlic fries, or infuse smoke into a 35-day 12-ounce in-house dry-aged Kansas City strip loin, a 21-day dry-aged 40-0unce bone-in ribeye for two, or a 45-day dry-aged 16-ounce ribeye.
“The most primitive way to cook is with an open fire. It’s challenging to work with a living thing and there is a push and pull with fire, getting the mix of fuel and oxygen just right,” Longres says. “But the flavor is second to none.”
Smoke-kissed steaks are served with a choice of sauce, including smoked horseradish crème fraiche, hay béarnaise and rustic chimichurri. Diners also can add a la carte sides: pickled sweet corn with butter and herbs, charred; broccoli with garlic chili, lemon, and spicy breadcrumbs; pommes puree; and Parmesan garlic French fries.
Diners can also order composed entrees, including dry-aged grilled D uroc pork chops, Black Angus tenderloin, slow-roasted Idaho ruby trout, or house-made ricotta cappelletti with braised rabbit, Parmesan mousseline, parsley crumbs and nasturtiums rounds the offerings.
Appetizers include American bison tartare with pickled cabbage, dark rye and mustard and caraway lavash; whipped ricotta with spring peas, pink peppercorns, sweet and sour, and crostini; crispy Wisconsin cheese curds with pimento cheese mousse and pickled peppers; and house-made Parker House rolls with sorghum-smoked chili butter.
Seasonal salad and soup options currently include marinated heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese, saffron, basil and broken tomato basil vinaigrette; baby romaine salad with fried saltine crackers, pickled onions, Parmesan cheese, garden herbs, pickled peppers, and smoked Caesar dressing; spring green salad with toasted almond, dried cranberry, feta, applewood smoked bacon and red wine vinaigrette; and smoked, slow-roasted tomato soup with Hooks-aged cheddar, torn bread croutons and basil.
Acre dessert offerings include Maxine’s lemon cake, inspired by Longres’s grandmother’s signature dessert, lavender cheesecake with almond, crème fraiche and honey caramel and dark chocolate crémeux with graham cracker ice cream, smoked caramel and toasted meringue.
Accessible and approachable wines at affordable price points are designed to complement the food. Local beers, craft cocktails on tap, including Missouri Wildfire (La Gritona Reposado, La Luna Mezcal, grilled peach, smoked chili, cinnamon, orange) and Parkville Punch (Koval 4 Grain Whiskey, Jamaican rum, Barbados rum, raspberry, huckleberry, ruby port, lime, aromatic bitters) and a custom coffee blend roasted by Parkville Coffeehouse round out the list.
The restaurant’s name refers to Rolling Acres, Longres’s grandparents’ farm in Liberty, Mo., where he learned to ride horses, as well as how to hunt, fish, garden and prepare food over a campfire. Longres used his knowledge of the outdoors as a Boy Scout, eventually earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
Longres received a scholarship to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Science and Restaurant Management. His coursework included an externship at The Breakers in West Palm Beach, where he received his first exposure to fine dining.
After winning a Chaine des Rotisseurs competition, Longres received a scholarship to study abroad for three months, allowing him to work in three of Europe’s top kitchens: Le Epicure at The Bristol Hotel in Paris, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel in London, and Mugaritz in Errenteria, Spain.
When he returned home, Longres spent time working under the late John McClure at Starker’s Restaurant and Debbie Gold when she was at 40 Sardines and The American Restaurant. As a young cook, Longres frequently spent vacations working for free at such famed restaurants as Alinea, 120, Acadia, Blackbird and Avec in Chicago and Daniel, Per Se, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernadin in New York City.
Acre’s opening team includes General Manager Kyle Bennett (formerly The Monarch), Sous Chef Alex Swall (formerly The Carriage Club) and Pastry Chef Brooke Davis (formerly McLain’s Bakery).
Longres’ early research into Parkville demographics indicated the conditions conducive to building a robust restaurant business. But ultimately there is another reason to choose Parkville as the site of his new restaurant: Longres, his high school-sweetheart-now-wife Megan and their two young children happily call the city home.
“I set a goal to have my own restaurant by the time I was in my 30s. I am thrilled to be opening my restaurant-home in Parkville, a community that has been so welcoming to my family and the Acre concept,” he says.
Follow Acre Restaurant @acre_kc on Instagram. For more information or to make reservations, visit https://www.acrekc.com