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From small-town drugstore to gourmet restaurant

Chef Jonathan Justus apprenticed, “between stints as a bike messenger,” as a butcher in San Francisco and a cook in the South of France before converting his family's drugstore into a restaurant.

Justus Drugstore: A Restaurant, in Smithville, Mo., is the fulfillment of a 15-year dream, said Christine Muhlke in The New York Times. Chef Jonathan Justus apprenticed, “between stints as a bike messenger,” as a butcher in San Francisco and a cook in the South of France. Then, two years ago, he and his wife, Camille Eklof, “transformed his family’s 1950s drugstore into a bit of the big city.” The old soda fountain of the drugstore, located 20 minutes from Kansas City, is now the bar. Justus makes his own charcuterie, bacon, and ham, while Eklof bakes the bread, waits on tables, and serves as general manager.

The house specialty is an Akaushi brisket “braised in homemade root beer.” Other popular dishes are grilled pork porterhouse with apple-maple-ginger sauce, and freshwater striped bass with egg-white gratin, persimmon paint, maple-sherry-ginger foam, and caramel-mint dust. Customers sitting at the former soda fountain can wait for their tables while sipping date-infused bourbon and nibbling turkey fries (aka testicles). 106 W. Main St., (816) 532-2300

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