Heather White is turning this corner of midtown Kansas City into a restaurant hotspot
The restaurant Tailleur, cocktail bar Cheval and bakery Enchanté have come to define this constantly-under-construction intersection of Main Street and Westport Road, located right on the KC Streetcar line.
Some conversations are too special to end with a simple “goodbye,” said Heather White.
“Say you’re in France with a group of friends, and you’re having one of those amazing conversations that is just so delightful — when it’s time to leave, you want to say more than goodbye. It’s enchanté!” shared White, the founder and owner of Tailleur, Cheval and her latest culinary concept, Enchanté.
Whether someone is looking for a space to dive deep into conversations or romanticize their life, Enchanté is the bakery for them, White said. The bakery, located in Midtown, opened its doors in January and already has a steady stream of pastry lovers and regulars.
“People are very excited to have a new bakery, and we come up with new recipes every week with our pastry team,” White continued. “We are right across the street from Tailleur and a few doors down from Cheval, but each space has its own character.”
The triad on Main
White is no stranger to the restaurant business. When she moved from Vancouver, Canada, to Kansas City eight years ago, she met her former business partner, Amante Domingo.
The duo opened The Russell — a restaurant and catering company — in 2017 and later opened a second restaurant, Tailleur, in 2021.
“I started to naturally be [at Tailleur], and Amante was naturally at The Russell,” White recalled. “About a year into opening Tailleur, we decided to go our separate ways, and it was totally amicable. My partnership with Amante has been one of the best things I’ve ever gone through — but it was also one of the best things to end. Because I really needed to blossom into something on my own, and he has grown as well.”
When Tailleur originally opened its doors, it was intended to be a bakery and lunch spot, but customers decided differently, White said.
“You have to listen to your guests if you want your business to be successful and grow,” she said. “Tailleur turned into a dinner place, instantly. We turned the upstairs into our dining room, and then people started coming in 30, 45 minutes before their reservation. We didn’t have a bar to seat them at while they waited, so we were sending them down the street to The Canary.”
Wanting to give her customers the bar experience, White took over a storefront across the street from Tailleur and opened Cheval in 2022. Cheval specializes in cocktails, wine and small plates.
“It’s the perfect place to go before dinner or grab a drink after work or to meet up with some friends over a glass of wine,” White said.
Shortly after securing the space for Cheval, White inquired about an open spot just a few doors down. A couple months later, she moved her bakery team into what is now Enchanté.
“The bakery, the bar, the restaurant, they are all sister concepts to each other because they complement each other in one way, shape or form — that’s what I love about it,” White shared.
“I love this area, and I think it has a lot of potential,” she continued, noting that the expansion of the KC Streetcar will have a stop right in front of her bakery and bar. “… There’s an old history to this part of the city and these buildings that bring such a depth to it.”
Creating spaces with antiques
Although Tailleur, Cheval and Enchanté are sister concepts, each spot has a distinct look and feel, White noted.
Tailleur’s walls are navy blue with brassy accents, and the restaurant pulls inspiration from White’s personal past in the equestrian world, she shared. Cheval has a Great Gatsby atmosphere with several chandeliers and grand artwork. Enchanté is an intimate space filled with storybooks and flowers and allows the imagination to run wild.
“Each space has its own character,” White said. “I wait for it to speak to me. You start by hanging one chandelier, and it all just comes together. What you’ll see in each of these spaces is a celebration of old pieces.”
A vast majority of the furniture and decorations within White’s spaces are antiques, she said, noting that she frequents the antique stores in the West Bottoms.
“I remember building the counter over at The Russell, and it was estimated to cost me $70,000,” White said. “So I went down to the West Bottoms and found three matching showcases that were something like $225 a case — I was like, ‘There’s my front counter!’”
Reusing older pieces is not only cost effective, but it adds a one-of-a-kind spark to a space, White continued.
“I love the character in old pieces,” she said. “They tell the story of the past.”
For those stopping by Enchanté for their daily fill of pastries and coffee, White recommends trying a little bit of everything.
“Every week our menu changes because our bakery is evolving with each season,” White said. “There’s something for everyone, but I personally love our French macarons. They are unbelievable. They are a little bit bigger and stuffed with flavor. I’m a big fan of the carrot cake. It comes with all these delicious ingredients; it’s not overly sweet; and it’s a recipe I’ve developed for years.”
Along with providing her guests with flavorful food and drinks, White sets out to create memorable experiences, she shared. Earlier this year, Tailleur hosted a six-course dinner and wine pairings with Louis Latour, a winemaker from France.
“We’re planning on doing a cocktail pairing experience over at Cheval soon,” White teased.
White also has plans to take over the space next door to Enchanté that she hopes to transform into a tea room with high tea service.
“I met with a local graffiti artist who is going to do an old-style, French mural on the side of the building,” White said. “And then we’re going to redo the [outside] area in front so that way people can sit outside and enjoy.”
This story was originally published on Startland News, a fellow member of the KC Media Collective.