Do you get excited when you discover a new place that has been right under your nose for years? We do, and this is exactly what happened when we stopped in Happy Gillis at 549 Gillis St. in Kansas City, Mo. A day of exploring required a good breakfast, so we were scouting for a location along our day’s route. Heading from KCK toward Independence, we discovered this eatery just on the east side of the City Market in the Columbus Park neighborhood.
The diner looks to have started life as a corner grocery store. Parking is on the street, and we were fortunate to arrive just as a vehicle was departing near the entrance. A few tables and chairs set up outside offer overflow seating for this popular restaurant. Inside we found the ordering style to be similar to a diner we visited in Joplin, Missouri. (Check out the Bruncheonette here>) We joined a short line that was waiting in front of the counter. This gave us a few moments to scan the menu board and get a layout of the place. The menu consists of regular and seasonal items, and we decided to sample both types.
Once our order was placed, we made our choice of seating options. The place was hopping by now, so we were glad we arrived by 9:00. Of course, we noticed that the outdoor seating was still pretty open, and that the inside tables would open up in time for the new diners. The whole operation seemed to be well timed, which makes sense with Happy Gillis being in business since 2014.
If you order coffee, the process is self serve with bottomless cups. I went to grab us a couple and discovered that they were hand made by a local artist. This was certainly a nice touch which we could tell was noticed by many of the other diners, as well. We spoke with one of the owners, and they told us that the same person also made the bowls used at the Ramen shop next door. (It is owned by the same people, so we will have to make a stop there for lunch some day.)
Before I was able to finish my first cup of coffee, our food was delivered. Crystal had ordered the Breakfast Sandwich, which is one of the staple menu items. Cheesy scrambled eggs are combined with crispy bacon on a multigrain toasted bread. The sandwich includes a smear of bacon aioli for added flavor. The serving included some deliciously fresh fruit. We split our dishes, so we could each get a taste. The sandwich is extremely filling and packed with protein that will stay with you for a while. Perfect fuel for a morning of exploring.
I chose to order from the seasonal menu. The Greens & Eggs looked inviting with an interesting combination of flavors. A slice of toasted country bread is topped with a healthy serving of sauteed greens. Toss in some garlic, goat cheese, and a soft cooked egg for some protein. Then sprinkle the dish with dukkah, an Egyptian mix of spices, herbs, and nuts for some extra zest. The flavor combination would keep me coming back for more. The serving of fresh fruit helped cleanse the palette after my main dish. During our conversation with the owner, we discussed the changing menu. She informed us that it usually rotates four times a year to follow the ingredients that are available locally. She also informed us that we needed to come back and test out their Biscuits and Gravy. She promised we wouldn’t be disappointed. Sounds like an offer we won’t be able to pass up. Have any of you tried that dish at Happy Gillis? Tell us about your experience.