Butterfield's: Inspired by family and cozy food

Butterfield's: Inspired by family and cozy food
Posted on 12/03/2020
Butterfield’s Bakery If you’ve ever made bread, you know each element of the process is key to a good loaf: the right amount of time to rise, to rest, to bake. The right amount of heat for your oven and your proofing yeast. The right ingredients. All these pieces have to be just right to form the perfect pillowy loaf of carbs and comfort.

So it’s fitting that Butterfield’s Bakery & Market, the Lenexa Public Market’s newest anchor restaurant, came about with precisely the right timing, atmosphere and ingredients to bring us cozy, quintessential comfort foods for brunch, lunch and dinner starting this Friday.

Starting from scratch

Patience is key to baking and starting a restaurant. Here’s how it happened, in owner/chef Kate Smith’s own words:

“Moving to Kansas was difficult for me. I worked incredibly hard in college to graduate top 10 in my hospitality management program and top 46 out of Oklahoma State University, but when I got married and moved to Kansas for my husband’s job, I felt like I was starting all over from scratch.

“I was unemployed for over a year after moving to Kansas until I finally got a part-time position with the City of Lenexa as venue coordinator at Thompson Barn. I began making French macarons as gifts to the couples on their wedding day. Soon after I starting doing that, the couples started to reach out to me after their wedding: ‘How do I purchase more of them?’ ‘My friends want some for their wedding.’ ‘Where is your bakery located?’

“That became the pilot light to Kate Smith Soirée. I created the little LLC business in October 2018 and started booking booths at holiday shopping expos to get my name out there. In December 2018, I was doing one of my first-ever pop-ups and thought I severely over-prepped by making 3,000 macarons, but I sold out in the first two hours of the show.
“The venue owner convinced me that I should do this for weddings and offered to introduce me to other vendors in the community and help me get my business off the ground. Leaving the event, I called my husband and said “I think this might be something.”

Kate Smith standing behind her first daycart in the Public Market.
Growing a business in the Market

Kate initially applied to become a vendor at the Lenexa Farmers Market in February 2019, but they suggested she look into opportunities at the Lenexa Public Market.

“Back then, I was devastated,” she said. “But now I feel like it was a blessing.”
She had her first day-cart pop-up on March 8, 2019, and started doing pop-ups two weekends a month. Two months into this venture, the Public Market had a little 100-square-foot stall open up for short-term rental.

“This was a huge step for our business, to have a ‘brick & mortar’ physical address to call ours, but it was a huge risk at the same time,” Kate said. “I trusted my gut that this was an opportunity I would regret for the rest of my life if I didn't take it.”

Kate Smith Soirée opened its storefront at the Market on June 22, 2019, with a variety of macarons, pastries and other specialty confections. Kate said it has “honestly been a blur how fast everything has progressed,” and her business continued to take off with a new opportunity.

Less than a year later, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the restaurant industry upside down. But when Madman’s KC BBQ decided not to reopen in the Market after the stay-at-home order was lifted, Kate saw an opportunity to expand her business and bring some missing flavors to the Market.

“We could have stayed in our little stall and kept serving desserts, but I’ve always felt like the Public Market was lacking a great sandwich and brunch option,” Kate said. “I’ve wanted to expand our current stall to offer fresh breads and ice cream as well, but our 100 square feet only gives us so much room to do so.”

“Then with the closing of Madman’s, the Market’s need for a new restaurant outweighed any fears I may have had. With the amount of families that come to the Market, comfort food, desserts and ice cream are a must. Again, I had to trust my gut feeling, and I knew I would always regret it if I let the opportunity pass me by.“

Kate Smith's late grandmother, Jo Ann (Butterfield) Fath.
Fresh family recipes 

The new restaurant space has transformed to complement the fresh flavors that await guests, with warm woods and a verdant topiary wall topped with a cheerful gold “Butterfield’s." It’s named in honor of Kate's late grandmother, Jo Ann (Butterfield) Fath, who also inspired the restaurant’s ambiance.

“My parents were hardworking small business owners and ran the family restaurant for 33 years, so I was home with my grandmother if I wasn’t at the restaurant,” Kate said. “She was the type of person who if you didn’t know where she was, you could almost always find her cooking or baking in the kitchen.

“I wanted that to come through in the concept, so our new space is the perfect location: it has a unique front-of-house bakery that is on display behind large glass walls. So as we make our breads and pastries, French macarons, cakes and all, guests can come up and watch our team – or, as I like to call them, ‘extended family’ - in action, just like I would watch my grandma in the kitchen at home.”

Butterfield’s menu is filled with homecooked flavors, including soups, salads and sandwiches featuring house-made breads for lunch and dinner. Hearty weekend brunch dishes include many of Kate’s family favorites.

Fans of Kate Smith Soirée will find an expanded selection of the beautiful handcrafted sweets and pastries, along with ice cream shakes and floats in playful flavor combinations.

With the timing, the space and menu all cooked to perfection, Butterfield’s is ready to serve hungry guests starting at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4, 2020.

Published Dec. 3, 2020