‘My heart just broke’: After 17 years, this Kansas City restaurant closes. Sort of

You Say Tomato, a midtown breakfast and lunch staple since 2007, is closing — sort of.

Owner Anne Clark said the operation will continue as a catering business based out of its building at 2801 Holmes St. But the dining room will no longer be open for regular business.

“For us, focusing on growing the catering will, I think, allow us a better quality of life,” said Clark, who owns You Say Tomato with her husband, George Rousis. “Staffing the restaurant was hard, not being home and available to our kids has been hard. With catering, we can plan our weeks a little easier.”

The restaurant had kept somewhat irregular hours since the pandemic. It closed for more than a year, then reopened in July 2021, but only for a few days per week. Most recently, it had only been open on Fridays and Saturdays.

You Say Tomato owner Anne Clark stops by a table to talk with customers Sandy Mills, left, and her parents, Tom and Nancy Mills. Clark calls her customers VIPs.

“We’ve kind of had to find a new way of doing things since COVID,” Clark said. “The rest of the world changed, and we’ve stumbled around a little on when it makes sense to be open.”

Clark said they plan to keep the dining room available for certain dinners and events. You Say Tomato will continue its pizza night every other Wednesday, when customers can dine in or carry out build-your-own pizzas. On the alternating Wednesdays, the restaurant will continue to offer a “Wednesday Dinner” for carryout only. (This week’s special: pierogies, beef or mushroom stroganoff, a house salad, bread, and vegan pumpkin cake for $50.)

Clark said she also hopes to do some special-event Sunday brunches and possibly Sunday suppers, “which are like pizza night but on Sundays,” she said.

The savory breakfast casserole at You Say Tomato includes cubed bread, mushrooms, cheese and custard baked and a choice of gravy. “It’s very similar to what you would find in most Midwestern homes,” says owner Anne Clark.

The best way to stay up to date on You Say Tomato’s various special events is to follow its Facebook page, Clark said. You can also order through the website, yousaytomatokc.com.

Fans and followers were lamenting the loss of a longtime favorite Monday.

“My heart just broke,” one wrote.

“There goes my top reason for moving back to KC,” said another.

Michael Pouncil, Randy Parks and Mark Wingard opened You Say Tomato in July 2007. The building had been home to Weneck Brothers grocery store from 1928 to 1958, then the Anello Brothers market from 1958 to 1988.

You Say Tomato, 2801 Holmes St., is located in a building that housed the Weneck Brothers grocery from 1928 to 1958 and the Anello Brothers Market from 1958 to 1988.

Clark was the first employee outside of the original owners and has been with the restaurant for its entire run. She and Rousis purchased the business in 2019.

The restaurant will continue to be open on Fridays and Saturdays until the end of September. Its last day of service is Sept. 30.