Modern eats in a historical hotel setting
Since the late 1800s, Sedalia has been known as the home to the state fair, railroads, cattle drives, the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival and the beautiful Daum Museum of Contemporary Art. But when it comes to dining worth the drive, one of Sedalia’s best-kept secrets can be found in the historical Hotel Bothwell on the downtown square.
The hotel, built in 1927 by Sedalia lawyer and politician John Homer Bothwell, is now owned by the Furnell Co. The 48-room hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and maintains classical revival architectural detailing from the ’20s.
White tablecloths and hand-laid mosaic tile floors in a classy setting make Ivory Grille a popular spot for many celebrations, but don’t let that prevent you from stopping by for a nosh or cocktail — you don’t need to be dressed up to eat here. It’s simply the attention to every small detail that makes Ivory Grille a great fit for anyone to enjoy.
“It’s a unique experience,” says restaurant Manager Maddelaine Waibel. “You don’t have to come here and spend a lot of money, there’s really good food for a great value. There’s something for everyone.”
Ivory Grille Executive Chef Chris Paszkiewicz brings his love of unique twists to menu favorites. A native of Kansas City, Chris began his culinary career in Florida and went on to work at several top hotels in Arkansas and Kansas City. The Ivory Grille is the third historical hotel restaurant he’s served in as executive chef.
The chef’s love of locally grown food works well with the hundreds of dishes he creates for the restaurant. He also updates the menu seasonally, keeping things fresh for both him and the patrons. Being from the Midwest and having worked in Florida has given him exposure to culinary influences which make their way into the menu he offers guests today.
When you ask Chris what differentiates Ivory Grille’s experience from most chain restaurants, he smiles.
“It’s more about loving the food and giving people the best we can give them,” the chef says. “We have a good mix of fresh fish flown in. We utilize Missouri beef as much as we can and cut all of our steaks in-house.”
Meal starters include the Ivory Grille’s popular Fried Artichokes marinated in Italian seasonings, lightly fried and served with a housemade basil pesto aioli dipping sauce.
Other favorites include a plate of fresh grapes tossed in olive oil and roasted to bring out the grape’s juiciness, served with warm brie cheese and toasted baguette bread; Pimento Cheese Fritters fried to perfection and served with red pepper coulis (puree) or the popular Chef’s Charcuterie Board, packed with cuts of hard salami, cured ham, pickled vegetables, assorted cheeses, caperberries, mustard, crostini and housemade chips. It’s a great shareable selection.
If you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, more than 100 local and international wines are available to enhance your dining experience. Should you want more beverage than meal, head to The Oak Room Lounge. Its beautiful custom-built bar made from decoratively carved oak with a marble counter offer a serene setting to enjoy a glass of wine or specialty cocktail. Stop in for a French Paloma, a favorite cocktail enjoyed by actress Bette Davis when she dined at the hotel while on a war bond drive in 1942. The Stephens and Company was a favorite of both President Harry S. Truman and Clint Eastwood when they passed through town.
“The Furnells let us have a lot of creative control over things,” says Maddelaine, adding when it comes to the menu or cocktails the Ivory Grille offers, “We can do what we’re passionate about and that’s neat.”
While there are plenty of salads available on the menu, it’s the Pear and Spicy Walnut Salad that draws the most attention — with a juicy sliced pear, spicy toasted walnuts, blue cheese and dried cranberries tossed in mixed greens and served with a housemade pear dressing.
“I’m going to turn into a Pear and Spicy Walnut Salad, I eat it so much,” Maddelaine says. Another favorite is the Ivory Grille House Salad comprised of greens topped with strawberries, mandarin oranges, apples, fried onions and blue cheese, served with Chef’s raspberry vinaigrette.
Soup fans won’t find them listed on the menu but there are daily offerings, all made in-house.
Fans of a true Cuban sandwich should try Chef’s Cubano, a pressed sandwich filled with roasted pork, ham, mustard, pickle and Swiss cheese on fresh-baked Cuban bread. Chef’s training in a Cuban restaurant in Florida taught him how to make an authentic sandwich.
Other hearty entrees include steaks, hand-cut pork chops, pasta and seasonal items which allow the local sources to shine. Steak fans will enjoy the 8-ounce filet mignon, 12-ounce rib-eye, KC Strip au poivre and the weekend special, succulent prime rib.
“Our most popular steak is the filet,” Chef says. “We hand cut the steaks every day and serve them two ways — our traditional way with truffle salt, or with a coffee and ancho chili rub with a whiskey sauce on top.”
Anyone who’s tried truffles knows what a delicious flavor they bring to any dish. Chris has taken things a step further, creating his own truffle salt which takes about 20 days to age, by mixing truffles, oil and kosher salt.
Seafood lovers can’t get enough of the Shrimp Scampi, a generous portion of shrimp, sauteed and tossed with garlic and linguine in a wine butter sauce. Another favorite is the Cedar Plank Smoked Rainbow Trout, flown in from Idaho, and served with creamy herbed risotto and a carrot puree.
For an Italian favorite, go no further than the gnocchi — small dumplings made from potatoes and flour. Chris puts his spin on it by adding chicken into the dumplings, then tossing them in a fresh basil and pesto mix. The scent of warm gnocchi with fresh herbs is mouthwatering.
Other choices include Fried Scallop Tacos, with hand-battered scallops fried to a light golden brown and served in warm flour tortillas with Mexican street corn, salsa and crema with parsley rice. Crabcakes, lasagna rolls and salmon are other delectable options.
At the end of the meal the Ivory Grille offers a dessert tray with many options, most made by local bakers, although the creme brulee is Chef’s creation.
From the first crafted cocktail to the last bite of decadent dessert, a trip to the Ivory Grille is much more than a meal — it’s a savory trip for the tastebuds which you’re sure to enjoy in a beautiful, elegant setting.
Specialties: Appetizers including Fried Artichokes or Pimento Cheese Fritters, Pear and Spicy Walnut Salad and Chef’s Charcuterie Board. Sandwiches including the Cubano or German-Style Chicken. Entrees including filet mignon, pork chop and Cedar Smoked Rainbow Trout. Prime Rib on Friday and Saturday.
Price: Appetizers from $9 to $24. Soups and salads from $6 to $12. Entrees from $15 to $40.
Details: Open Tuesday through Saturday, 4:30 to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Free Wi-Fi. Kid’s menu available. No smoking. Cash and major credit cards accepted. Located at 317 S. Ohio St. in Sedalia. Contact at 660-829-0060; theivorygrille.com or follow them on Facebook.