Anyone still out there? I am, in fact, still alive (I know, you were dying of suspense wondering).
Obviously unnecessary to state, but it has been A YEAR (or two? What is time anymore?) Everything has been a little topsy-turvy for everyone since about 2019, I think, and between public spaces being closed and life just plain being crazy, I’ve completed neglected my little corner of the web over here. In all honesty, the past couple of years have been very rocky in my personal life — I’m not going to go into detail, because that’s not really the aim of this blog, but suffice it to say, I’ve been out of the loop, and for anyone who has been feeling lost and/or hopeless lately (or ever): I feel you. With that said, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, and it has been way too long since I’ve done some wandering.
So: I have new coffee shops to check out, new places to explore, yada yada. A lot of life/the world is a chaotic mess, but there’s still coffee and getting lost in colorful city streets and discovering hidden gems of art and humanity. I, for one, could use some of all that. Let’s see if anyone is still around to read about my shenanigans, eh? (If not, at least I have an excuse to drink lots of coffee).
First up: a cheery spot in Leawood to grab a java (or cocktail).
5291 W. 116th Place, Leawood, KS
Despite the fact that I’m currently bemoaning the hot, sticky weather and longing for fall, I have to admit that I love the beach (who doesn’t?). Of course, there are no (ocean) beaches in Kansas, but I’m all for places that let me pretend I’m in a tropical cabana. Outta the Blue dubs itself “KC’s Lil’ Oasis,” and really, the flip-flop fits. There’s (sadly) no ocean and (probably thankfully) no sand, but they do have palm trees, rattan furniture, and colorful surfboards on the wall. With plenty of windows, light colors, and modernistic furniture, the entire place is hip and cheerful. Did I mention there are swings? Probably not conducive to sipping coffee, but they sure are fun.
A recent addition to Leawood’s Park Place shopping center, Outta the Blue is a Made in KC outpost (though interestingly, I didn’t see anything that said Made in KC in the actual café). It’s usually quietly bustling, busy with everyone from people tapping away on laptops to friends catching up to families corralling kids. While I’ve been there, the soundtrack has ranged from mid-2000s nostalgia (think Hillary Duff) to 1960s-80s oldies. It’s a friendly, fun atmosphere, calm enough to get work done yet active enough for good people-watching and a welcome dose of gaiety. A little bit granola-crunchy, quite a bit hip, the café fits into the clean-cut environment of suburban Leawood, but it also adds a touch of style — and a laid-back beachy vibe — in an area mostly filled with a lot of chain restaurants and shops.
If you’re hungry, they have snacks and breakfast sandwiches from Parisi Coffee, pastries from local Scratch Bakery, and vegan breakfast sandwiches from Mattie’s Foods. (Major points, in my humble opinion, for having almond croissants, which are annoyingly difficult to find and obviously the best.) For sips, there’s the usual lineup of espresso beverages and (quite tasty) drip coffee, as well as a selection of teas and cold-pressed juices. And if you need something a bit stronger — or feel like really leaning into the tropical cabana spirit — they have a full bar menu of cocktails, beer, and natural/organic wine.
All in all, it’s not actually the beach, but Outta the Blue is a fun place to work or hang out. As much as I like offbeat, slightly shabby coffee shops, it’s hard not to fall in love with this bright little café. After all, who doesn’t love palm trees and swings?