I love to eat. I once ate a pound of cooked bacon in less than 12 minutes because I thought it would be funny. Most days, however, I try to eat as healthy as possible. That’s where Unity Village Banquet and Dining comes into play with good food made from scratch with fresh ingredients.
This facility, originally called Unity Inn, has been feeding people in the Kansas City, Missouri, metro area since 1906, when Unity World Headquarters was still at its original downtown location on the corner of Ninth Street and Tracy Avenue. The Inn was Kansas City’s first vegetarian restaurant (inspired by the fact that Unity founders Charles Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore were strict vegetarians). During the 1920s, Unity Inn grew into one of the largest vegetarian cafeterias in the country, serving 10,000 meals per week.
In 1924 the Inn moved to a new building on the same block, where the elaborate interior included latticework, wicker light fixtures, a marble drinking fountain, and a soda and ice cream fountain. It was here that meat made its debut on the menu in 1966.
The restaurant moved one final time in 1975 to its current home at Unity Village, where it’s now housed in a stucco building with a red-tile roof. Large arched windows let in ample natural light and high ceilings make the dining room feel spacious.
These days, four full-time chefs and two part-time sous chefs work lunch each weekday, serving anywhere from about 4,000 to 6,500 lunches a month. Recent menus have included French dips, BLT ranch wraps, pinto bean stew, pecan-crusted tilapia, squash or zucchini cakes, and beef or sweet potato tacos, to give you just a taste. As a soup and salad guy, I can personally recommend the extensive salad bar. Lunch is served Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Meals typically cost $12.
Don’t think of Banquet and Dining as merely a cafeteria for Unity employees and Village visitors, though. It also provides at least some level of catering for nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,600 events Unity Village hosts each year. The full dining room seats up to 300, but the facility can be reconfigured into up to four smaller spaces, as well. For more information about catering an event at Unity Village, contact the events staff at 816-251-3511 or visit unityvillage.org (click on the weddings/receptions tab and choose “catering” from the pull-down menu).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a bowl of seafood chowder. Bon appetit!