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My Kansas City: Celina Tio, live music

Celina Tio


1020 Westport Road

Tio digs the live sound here. Still, “some of these venues are as much about the great people owning them and working there, such as Steve (Tulipana) and Shawn (Sherrill) of RecordBar. It’s just like a neighborhood joint where you know everyone, and that makes seeing bands and listening to music all the better.”

Riot Room

4048 Broadway

A few blocks away in Westport, Tio likes the diversity of artists at the Riot Room. “Estelle was there. She’s as big as they come in R&B. Sometimes Tio just goes to Riot to drink beer. “Dallas (one of the owners) loves beer and we have similar tastes, so I know he has some specialty things that aren’t everywhere.”

Crossroads KC at Grinders

417 E. 18th St.

Tio likes the array of music at the outdoor spot in the Crossroads Arts District. Under the stars you can listen to rock, reggae, bluegrass and hip-hop in a backyard party-style environment. “It’s a good-sized venue and a pretty cool place to hang out.”


737 New Hampshire, Lawrence

Tio doesn’t mind the 40-minute trek from KC to Larrytown, because national acts and local bands play at the Bottleneck, a former roller rink and paper warehouse. “The sound is really great there,” Tio says.

Uptown Theater

3700 Broadway

“Acoustically, it’s meant to be a theater,” Tio says of the colorful Midtown landmark, which opened in 1928. “But the music here sounds great. It’s a nice-size venue, so it feels intimate there.”

Special to Ink

James Beard Award-winning chef Celina Tio is definitely known for all things food. She owns the Kansas City restaurant Julian, 6227 Brookside Plaza, and competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef.” But Tio also is way into rock ’n’ roll, especially the local music scene. We caught up with Tio at RecordBar in Westport.

“Kansas City has tons and tons of talented bands,” Tio says. “I cannot sing their praises enough.”

The ones that top her chart are Soft Reeds, Hearts of Darkness, American Catastrophe, Making Movies, Barclay Martin Ensemble, Capybara, She’s a Keeper, Beautiful Bodies.

“The list is long,” she says. “I admire them. Like me, they’re doing what they love to do.”

But Tio has a short list of venues she frequents. After she has worked full days in the dining room at Julian, you’ll find her swigging a cold craft beer and swaying to the beat at one of these places.


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