This article was edited on 9/11/21 to remove content deemed offensive.
If you are still eating breakfast out of a box or from a drive-through, point your car east to learn where KC breakfasts are more delicious.
I recently visited five Troost coffee shops and restaurants between 25th and 55th. I can honestly say my lens on life, inclusion, and more immersive breakfast spots has changed for the better.
Thanks to visionary, ballsy culinary entrepreneurs like Susan Dees, Nika Cotton, Mike Hasting, Chris Goode, and Justin Clark, Troost is transforming into hip coffee shops, eateries, fresh food sources as well as hair salons, gyms, and the home of nonprofits such as Operation Breakthrough and a Penn Valley College’s satellite campus.
Vested Beacon Hill Coffee
2501 Troost I www.vested.com
After drooling over the black patio furniture at Vested Beacon Hill Coffee, I went inside to meet my friend Lorraine. She had picked the perfect seats next to the open garage doors so we could enjoy a breeze while sipping steaming hot coffee.
If you haven’t experienced the swank confines of Vested Beacon Hill Coffee, you’re missing out on a dark brown and orange interior worthy of being featured in DWELL magazine. The centerpiece of the coffee shop is a spotlessly polished 1957 converted Airstream. Pineapple-shaped string lights decorate the Airstream for summer. I’ll revisit during pumpkin latte season to see if the Airstream gets a fall makeover.
The serving window was lined with irresistible muffins and purple-iced pop tarts. I ordered a drip coffee sourced from ONYX and a strawberry cheesecake muffin. It was served to me by the careful hands of Vested barista Ian, who had the charm and demeanor of a Rastaman.
Vested has a smaller location in the garment district with a totally different vibe – warm and cozy vs. upscale urban. I recommend its Beacon Hill location for your next journaling session, coffee club meeting, or deal signing. The owners Susan and Nolan Dees, formerly from Texas, don’t play small with the ambiance they’ve created in both locations.
Anchor Island Coffee
4101 Troost I www.anchorislandcoffee.com
Owners Armando Vasquez and Mike Hastings (married for 5 years) founded this island in the sun in 2020. They survived the first year of the pandemic almost entirely by its robust latte orders. Vasquez and Hastings sold 1,013 lattes, 524 breakfast burritos and 259 mochas during nine months of operations in 2020.
If you haven’t yet visited Anchor Island Coffee on Troost, the interior is bright and decorated with local art, boogie boards, tropical plants, and pithy beach signs that declare…
“Currently pretending I’m at the Beach, Never Stop Beachin’, and Just a Drip Away,” which is Anchor Island Coffee’s tagline.
The best-selling latte at Anchor Coffee hands down is the Blueberry Latte and the best-selling breakfast item is the egg burrito with chorizo. If chorizo isn’t your thing, ask for steak or chicken, or the second-most ordered item, the vegan burrito.
Anchor Island Coffee is the only coffee shop in Kansas City selling a green espresso. The espresso looks like a grainy green tea, tastes like mother earth, and fortifies your daily constitution. It’s made from organic Honduras Coffee, whole milk, and a splash of vanilla. Have it hot or cold. I met a customer who loves the taste and can’t go a day without her green espresso.
Anchor Island sources its other beans from Messenger, Broadway Coffee, Sway, and Hammerhand.
1106 E. 30th St. I wwwsoulcentricitea.com
Need a soulful retreat where you can refuel your spirit with an herbal coffee, bubble tea or a tea smoothie while recharging your creative purpose and God-given magic? Get your tired-ass and weary soul to Soulcentricitea.
You’ll leave a better person after drinking an herbal elixir made with love and served by the Goddess of Goodness Nika Cotton, Soulcentricitea owner.
Slow down and appreciate the architectural and business transformations happening at the corner of 30th and Troost. Read and believe the affirmations posted everywhere inside the tea shop because part of Cotton’s mission is empowering women and healing communities.
You are creative. I Believe in You. You Are Brave. Good Vibes. Magic. Be the change you wish to see.
Cotton is the epitome of black girl magic. She exudes positivity, purpose, and the feminine divine desperately needed in our world today. You’ll feel the cosmic shift the moment you open the door. There’s music, giant oil canvases of black women, natural light, and 54 jars of tea leaves that read, “You are welcome to come inside and be who you are meant to be.”
Cotton’s tea shop feels like a blessed and safe haven. I felt renewed, welcome, and capable of anything upon drinking my Orange Flame Turmeric Ginger lemonade. The first sip awakened my taste buds and the last sip made me want to be part of the fabric being rewoven in the Troost community, including the redevelopment of the Wonder Bread building where Cotton’s tea shop is located.
While Cotton is spiritually and intellectually deep, the food she serves is light. Enjoy a fruit salad, avocado toast, bagel, and cranberry oatmeal guilt-free and baked good from Spicy Moon Foods.
Ruby Jean’s Juicery
3000 Troost Ave. Kansas City, MO 64109 I www.rubyjeansjuicery.com
Greasy spoons and fast-food restaurants like Go Chicken Go were once the only food choices along Troost. Entrepreneur Chris Goode saw the opportunity to bring life, love, and healthy food options to his childhood neighborhood inspired by the positive effects of a 10-day juice cleanse.
Goode wished his late grandmother, Ruby Jean, would have made better food choices to extend her life. Ruby Jean suffered and died from complications from type 2 diabetes, which African Americans are more at risk for.
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Ruby Jean’s menu includes salads, gluten-free pancakes, sweet potato bowls, rice cake sliders, and a healthy spin on kale and collard greens.
The most popular juice on the menu is the Vine Street Greens (7.50). The Vine Street Greens ingredients are cucumber, apple, kale, and a splash of lime. I love the Kale Yeah! juice ($7.99), which contains kale, cashews, dates, ginger, banana, almond milk, and sea salt.
The most popular entree at Ruby Jean’s is the Keto Salmon Wraps ($9). Enjoy pineapple, Brussel slaw, avocados, green onions, and blackened salmon in a glorious wrap.
Urban Café KC
5500 Troost Ave. I www.urbancafekc.com
Chef Justin Clark launched his healthy, vegan-friendly restaurant in 2017 at a smaller Troost location. Despite skeptics, his brunch, lunch, and cocktail menu created such a following Clark and his wife expanded to accommodate demand.
One of the most popular breakfast items is the T.S.B for $9.75 — a turkey sausage bagel sandwich with turkey sourced from local Missouri farmers. I enjoyed a smoothie bowl for $9, which got my day started light and right with Chia seed pudding, quinoa, berries, cashews, and bananas.
I can’t wait to bring my husband to try the sourdough French Toast and for me to sample the Truffled Mushroom and Spinach Omelet with provolone cheese.
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Chef Clark formerly was the banquet chef at Truman Medical Centers and prior to that worked in luxury hotel kitchens. I thank him for trusting his culinary mastery and site selection along Troost.
Troostapoloza IV is scheduled for Oct. 2, 2021, from noon to 8 p.m. Come one, come all to celebrate the new Troost as a kind and inclusive community — no longer a road marking racial divide.
The event was started by the Troost Market Collective, an organization that aims to create equitable opportunities for creative entrepreneurs.
The first Troostapoloza in 2018 attracted approximately 2,000 people, according to Troost Market Collective Co-Founder Katie Mabry van Dieren. In 2019, the second annual Troostapoloza was interrupted by 40-mile an hour headwinds and moved inside. Troostapoloza 2020 was held virtually because of the pandemic.
Your Next Breakfast in KC
The next time you hunger for a pastry, smoothie, herbal tea, or a bagel, get off Main Street USA and give a Kansas City chef out of your neighborhood a try. I’m thrilled that I did. I’ve never felt more welcomed and enlightened than I did going to these lovely breakfast and coffee shops. I’ll be back!
Urban Renewal Cliff Notes
In case you didn’t know, Troost is undergoing a facelift. Milhaus developers put around $24 million into the Wonder building. Another $40 million was invested to build the Beacon Hill apartments at 2501 Troost. These new developments and urban living spaces are bringing people together for 24/7 living, communing, and supporting one another’s new ventures.
Troost Midtown is a $162 million redevelopment near Troost and Linwood being constructed by Midtown Development Partners. It will consist of an amphitheater, apartments, and retail.
‘We See Troost Not As A Dividing Line, But A Meeting Place.’
Tim Bowman, Midtown Development Partners.
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