Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of KC Originals food & cocktail options is the great Happy Hour program at the Gaslight Grill in Overland Park [just east of Nall off Briar between West 135th & 137th]. It is definitely a bit of a secret, except for a very devoted and growing group of regulars; so we investigated and grilled their knowledgeable and friendly Bar Manager, Jake McLaughlin and Head Bartender, Christian Leake to get the full scoop. Between the two of them we were welcomed, treated like family, and delightfully entertained all while enjoying the warm and inviting space of Gaslight’s cocktail lounge. Even if we didn’t say more that might give you a hint as to reasons behind the growing popularity of their Happy Hour and overall beer, wine and spirits program.
Both Jake and Christian are very friendly guys who clearly enjoy their work and the family oriented culture of the Grill. Jake, a native Kansan brings plenty of bartending experience prior to his 3 years at Gaslight, despite his youthful looks, including a lengthy stint at one of my favorite surfer bars in Ocean Beach, CA. That’s another story but he exudes the relaxed, laid back West coast vibe; and not surprisingly, in his spare time likes to read door-stopper fantasy novels and brewing craft beers. Christian, gets away from work demands by spending as much time as possible with his 7 year old son; just enjoying being a Dad. He came to Gaslight 5 years ago from the corporate hospitality culture and says he “will take Gaslight’s friendly, personal touch approach of treating employees like family” over his previous bartending gig. Jake wholeheartedly agrees. “Mr. Hawke, Gaslight’s founder, modeled that with the team he built, and the management here has continued to build that family culture with both staff and guests. It’s what makes me want to come to work every day.”
We asked what sets the Gaslight beverage program apart and received almost identical answers from both Jake and Christian: “to serve a really good drink you have to put yourself [your heart] into it – really care.” That’s another lesson they learned from Mr Hawke, who came in every day and walked around to tables greeting guests and as the evening wound down, standing at the corner of the bar, thanking those guests for coming in. Of course, that has to be backed up with quality product, great ingredients, presentation, service, and a sincere desire to improve. These two guys are all about that!
Their cocktail menu is not overly large, filled with classic cocktails as well as seasonal specials and built on the guest tested and guest requested house specialties. They have a well-stocked full bar; and since they are a steak house where “wine is king” the cellar is top-notch. They offer a variety of flights for liquors, beer and wines; and if you have a special cocktail request or flavor profile; they will try and meet it with flair and creativity. Ask Christian about the sweet options; Jake specializes in the drier offerings. For our recipe feature this month Christian made for us a delightfully refreshing mixed berry infused vodka and lime concoction that is a perfect Summertime thirst quencher, We give it all thumbs up!
But both of them are expert at remembering guest preferences and so their regulars experience what some in the industry refer to as the “Cheers Effect.” The lounge at the Gaslight Grill is a place where “everybody knows your name” and your favorite beverage will be on the bar by the time you reach your stool. That neighborhood bar/hangout ambiance is what Jake, Christian, and the rest of the staff cultivate.
As with most great steakhouses, the menu can get a little pricey BUT they have delicious and filling Happy Hour appetizers and small plates [4-7 PM Sun – Fri, with late Happy Hours 9 PM – Close on Fri & Sat]. Gaslight also has lots of other great features that make them a happening place that includes live jazz music, monthly cabaret concerts, quarterly wine dinners; private dining options and event space, and of course they are famous for Sunday Brunch [an amazing spread at a reasonable price]. Mother’s And Father’s Day brunches [coming up soon] are over the top. We recommend that you check out all they have to offer at www.gaslightgrill.com and then make a reservation for dinner or just drop by for Happy Hour. Introduce yourselves to Jake and Christian. We can pretty much guarantee they will have you coming back. We know we’ll be back – and soon!