As a young adult, her love of southern food continued to be influenced by New Orleans celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and John Besh, who cooked like her grandmother, low and slow with plenty of soul.
Now, she is looking forward to bringing all of those culinary influences to roost with her first restaurant, a New Orleans-inspired bistro called Soriée, opening in mid-April in Smithville, Missouri.
The 2,800 square-foot restaurant space will seat 80 people, and was formerly home to a Pizza Shoppe for over 9 years before they relocated.
They left behind a restaurant space with great bones that already had the look of a classic New Orleans restaurant with exposed brick walls, formal dark wood and light fixtures that look like they are straight out of the French Quarter.
The kitchen was a complete re-do, since the pizza oven that originally was in the space, didn’t require the size of oven hood that Moore needs to run a full-service restaurant.
“I had been looking all over the Kansas City for the right location for my first restaurant, but I circled back to this location twice, before I knew that this was the right place,” says Moore. “It really was a blessing because the landlord cut me a great deal, and I want to provide the people who live up North a great new restaurant to enjoy.”
Moore, who has been cooking professionally since 2006, lives in Raytown with her husband and four daughters, and is used to driving to get to and from work.
She was formerly at 99 Hops House, the new beer bar and restaurant, located inside the Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa, and before that she worked for their upscale steakhouse concept. She also has spent time in kitchens at The Westin Crown Center and was on the backstage catering staff at The Midland.
No matter where she has worked, her love of contemporary creole cuisine is always something she comes back to, and is the inspiration for her scratch kitchen, serving lunch, dinner and a full brunch buffet. A separate kid’s menu is also in the works.
“I am also pricing my menu so that it is accessible to everyone,” she says. “For example, I am going to offer a po’boy sandwich special with chips and a drink for $10 at lunch, and at dinner nothing will be over $22, which is my top steak entree.”
The lunch menu at Soriée will offer some of the casual NOLA-inspired corner store sandwiches like a selection of po’boys, including shrimp, oyster and catfish and she plans to make her own sausage with meat from local farms. She will start with a Cajun boudin sausage and andouille that she plans to use in and served with several of her dishes.
For appetizers, she’ll offer items like a fried green tomato stack, smoked chicken wings tossed in a 5-spice Bourbon sauce and deep fried southern deviled eggs with a pimento cheese filling, topped with pulled pork, candied jalapeno and pickled red onion.
Her dinner entrees offer accessible southern staples with seasoning and spice that honors the famous dishes of the Big Easy.
She will make her own gumbo, jambalaya and crawfish etoufee from scratch, and offer other entrees like steak and a “brick hen” featuring a smoked, sweet tea-brined Cornish hen served with Boudin dirty rice and braised greens.
For dessert, beignets covered in powdered sugar will be made hot and fresh all day. A sweet potato bourbon cheesecake with apple cider caramel sauce topped with bourbon whipped cream will tempt, and a dish that blends her family’s favorite, banana pudding, and the more formal bananas fosters.
“This is my dream parfait, I braise fresh bananas in brown butter and add them to a creamy housemade banana pudding then layer it with caramel rum sauce and vanilla wafers and fresh whipped cream,” she says.
To compliment the food menu, Moore plans to have a full bar that will offer a small cocktail list that will lean heavy on the bourbon and whiskey, along with several local beers from Boulevard and KC Bier Co, and several wines by the glass or bottle.
She is looking forward to inviting her new neighbors and local businesses in for her soft opening sometime in early April.
“I missed being open for Fat Tuesday this year, but you can count on me being here and celebrating when it rolls around next year,” she says.
Soirée New Orleans Bistro, 14121 Earthworks Drive, Smithville, Missouri, 913.952.8986, facebook.com/soireeneworleansbistro