Charles Ferruzza

Fine dining is all about the details.

Once upon a time, there were strict rules: nice white tablecloths, crystal glassware, servers in tuxedos, coat-and-tie dress code.

A year and a half after a natural gas explosion destroyed an iconic off-Plaza restaurant, the business is reopening. Its noteworthy wine collection remains a draw, and the old-world ambiance has been recreated. The menu will change little, if at all. Meanwhile, the server killed by the explosion leaves behind a powerful absence. The re-opening is a milestone for regulars who considered JJ's a home away from home.


Premshree Pillai / Flickr--CC

On a beautiful summer night, stopping by a neighborhood pizzeria for a quick slice (or five) can really hit the spot.

With a handful of exciting new pizza places opening up, Charles Ferruzza and the food critics put out a call for the best pizza in the Kansas City area. 

KCUR's food critics recommend:

Wikipedia -- CC

It may not be football season, but chicken wings are still a popular appetizer at many restaurants and bars.

The Central Standard Food critics stopped by KCUR to give us their Kansas City favorites from traditional Buffalo wings to exotic preparations.

Here are their recommendations:

Food Critics: Kansas City's Best Lunch Spots

Apr 18, 2014
Stacy Spensley / Flickr -- Creative Commons

It's not uncommon for Americans to work through lunch, thoughtlessly scarfing down sustenance at a desk or —worse — in a car.

But at its best, lunch can be a time to unwind and savor the moment, getting out in the city while nourishing body and soul.

Some Kansas Citians are keeping the mid-day meal alive in all its glory. Hosted by Charles Ferruzza, KCUR's food critics led a search for exquisite lunch experiences in Kansas City on Friday. 

Here are some of their recommendations:

Food Critics: Chilled Dishes

Jul 26, 2013
Lindsey Turner / Flikr - CC

When the thermometer soars past 90 degrees, the idea of a hot meal sounds a lot less alluring than a bowl of cool fruit salad. They say that spicy food can actually cool you down, and if you’re sweating before you even pick up a fork – perhaps you’re willing to try anything?

On today’s edition of Central Standard, we beat the summer heat by taking a culinary tour into Coolsville: icy salads, chilled soups, glacial goodies, Siberian sandwiches, and frozen desserts.

Food Critics: Vegan & Vegetarian Food

Jul 12, 2013
Dan McKay / Flikr - CC

No eggs? No dairy? No meat? No problem!

Friday on Central Standard, food critics Charles Ferruzza, Chris Becicka, Mary Bloch, and Gloria Gale discussed the best vegan and vegetarian food in Cowtown.

Where are your favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants? Let us know in the comments!

New and noteworthy

Kirti Podder / Flickr--Creative Commons

Summer in Kansas City is a unique time each year when the sun becomes relentless and the humidity makes it impossible to breathe. Sure, we've got air conditioning, but what if we need to go outdoors as well?

The Food Critics return to discuss the best way to beat the summer heat: frozen treats!

Host Charles Ferruzza talked with critics Gloria Gale, Mary Bloch, and Emily Farris to discuss the best ice cream, popsicles, frozen yogurt, and frozen novelties (FroYo and FroNo for the uninitiated) in Kansas City.

Hinnerk R / WikiCommons

Food is a social activity, and where there are people entertainment follows.  On the Friday, June 14 the Central Standard food critics explore the best places to dine while catching a song, a game of trivia and more. 

Here is a list of some of the restaurants talked about on the show:

The New Places

The Red Door Grill - 11851 Roe Ave, Camelot Court Shopping Center, Leawood, KS 66211

Spilltojill/Flickr -- CC

It's springtime. The time when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of grilling, barbecuing, and eating delicious, fat, juicy hamburgers.

From the big honkin' beef burger with the works to the basic meat + bread and even to the veggie burger, there are lots of options for Kansas Citians.

But how do you decide which ones are the best?

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

In Kansas City it's expected that the weather will jump from snowy, to balmy, to sultry in a matter of weeks.

But now that we're firmly into spring, and summer is just around the corner, restaurants are opening their outdoor patios, decks, balconies, rooftops and sidewalk seating.

Many diners love the opportunity to dine al fresco, surrounded by the beauty of nature – or asphalt parking lots. Other Kansas City diners see outdoor dining as a nightmare of bugs, noise, cigarette smoke and gawking strangers.

In her book The Soul of Southern Cooking, Kathy Starr calls soul food "generous and earthy, like the people who created it. I'm not talking about small slivers of skinned chicken breasts surrounded by miniature carrots and radishes cut like roses. I'm talking about something to eat!" In Kansas City you'll never walk out hungry from one of this town's soul food restaurants or buffets. Classic southern cuisine like fried chicken, greens, macaroni and cheese, and peach cobbler are soul-soothing dishes. They may not be so good for your waistline, but they're nirvana for your spirit. Food Critic Charles Ferruzza, Emily Farris, Gloria Gale and Mary Bloch explore the best soul food of the city.

Walt Bodine, legendary Kansas City broadcaster and icon of the city, died Sunday at the age of 92. To celebrate the life and career of Bodine, Central Standard invites his fans, friends and colleagues to call in and share their memories of former Walt Bodine Show host both on and off the air.

Kansas City has always been a great place for baked goods. Cakes, pies, cream puffs and breads have all been important to the growth of this town as a cosmopolitan and corpulent community. On this episode of Central Standard Friday Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch, Emily Farris, and Gloria Gale extend their forks to all parts of the metro to uncover the best bakeries offering the most decadent doughnuts, the crustiest baguettes, and the flakiest cinnamon rolls.

Buffets: you either love them or hate them. And in a tough economy, the idea of an all-you-can-eat meal can sound alluring, even if the choices can be more about quantity than quality.

On today's Central Standard Friday, we'll fill our plates up with suggestions for the best, the cheapest and the most unusual buffets in Kansas City. Today's food critics are host Charles Ferruzza, Chris Becicka, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Local and federal officials are trying to piece together exactly what happened last Tuesday evening, when a natural gas leak led to an explosion just west of the Country Club Plaza. The explosion and resulting fire at JJ’s restaurant killed one woman, and injured 15.

The victim is presumed to be 46-year-old Megan Cramer, a native of Springfield, and a longtime resident of the Plaza. Staff and regulars of JJ’s are not only mourning her loss, but the loss of a community that had formed around drinks and meals at the restaurant. 

There are a number of social land mines that can be tripped in restaurants.  How is the best way to handle a declined credit card, or when do you send something back to the kitchen?  On Central Standard Friday food critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch, Emily Farris and Gloria Gale tackle this subject and all the new restaurants of KC.

Meal time is almost always a social time. However, there are instances when a meal alone can be just as relaxing and refreshing as it would be with friends and family. 

But, where can you go and eat alone without feeling on display or actually feeling alone? Where can you eat surrounded by strangers, but feel as if you're in the comfort of your home? 

The Food Critics will show you the best places to eat out alone.  This week's panel includes host Charles Ferruzza of  The Pitch and Fat City Blog, Mary Bloch of Around the Block, Emily Farris of Feed Me KC and Chris Becicka of Ingram's Magazine.

Eating Healthy In The New Year

Jan 11, 2013

We're 11 days into the new year.  How's that resolution to eat better going?

Dining Rooms Of Days Gone By

Dec 31, 2012

Do you remember the Wishbone, Earl's Hamburgers, Po' Folks, Piccadilly Cafeteria, and the Athena on Broadway?  Well, we do.

Food Critics: Fabulous Fish

Nov 29, 2012

We're up to the gills in grouper, trout, and tuna on this week's Central Standard Friday.

Food Critics: Super Soups

Nov 15, 2012

Ludwig Van Beethoven once theorized: "Only the pure in heart can make a good soup."

Food Critics: Best Meals Under $10

Oct 19, 2012

You're staring at an empty refrigerator realizing if you want to eat you're going to have to go out.  A quick check of the wallet shows it not much fuller than the fridge. So where can you find a decent meal for less than $10?

Highlight Reel

Oct 5, 2012
flickr / Ronan_C

We've got a rare treat for you.

Tune in this week when Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, of The Pitch and Fat City Blog, and Emily Farris, of Feed Me KC, join forces with history host Monroe Dodd to bring you a very special edition of Central Standard Friday.

Food Critics: Non-Traditional Dining

Sep 21, 2012
flickr / toastforbrekkie

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics discuss the best non-traditional places for delicious eats.

Food Critics: Eating Out In Lawrence

Sep 7, 2012
flickr / Kansas Poetry (Patrick)

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics share their favorite spots in Lawrence. We're talking the best coffee shops, bars and even fine dining in that fun college town west of KC.

Food Critics: Sweet!

Aug 24, 2012
Angela C. Bond / The Pitch

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics share their favorite spots for a sweet treat in town. From ice cream to macaroons to a slice of coconut cake – we’re coming by with the dessert tray.

Food Critics: Brunch

Aug 10, 2012
Librarian Avenger / Flickr

This is not the most recent version of the best brunch offerings in Kansas City. Look at the most recent version here.

Food Critics: Restaurant Etiquette

Jul 12, 2012
rwphotobug / flickr

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics offer up a lesson in dining etiquette – from what to do with your cell phone, to how to eat BBQ with your boss.

This topic was inspired an e-mail we received from listener Mak (thanks!) who wrote us with this question:

Food Critics: Lunch Time

Jun 29, 2012
David LaCrone / KC Lunch Spots

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics share their favorite spots for a midday meal -- whether you're in the mood for a food truck taco, pork tenderloin sandwich, burger, or bento box.