Howard Hanna is a born-and-bred Midwesterner, a native of Manhattan, Kansas who cut his teeth in the Kansas City restaurant scene during his high school years. But there’s something in the way he organizes his plates and combines his flavors that suggests an inner Francophile, too.
In 2010, Howard opened The Rieger in the Crossroads Arts District. This restaurant has become a figurehead of Kansas City dining, where Midwestern ingredients and traditional tastes are elevated beyond their humble origins. “Beautiful food for the people,” Howard likes to say, underlining those central ideas about the intersection of elegance and simplicity. Four years later, he opened Ça Va with the same theme in mind.
At Ça Va, Howard’s vision pays homage to the early inspiration he found in Burgundy and simultaneously breathes fresh life into the timeworn French salon. This is a place where beautiful food — decadent croque madames, addictive frites with garlic aioli — is offered alongside Champagne for the people, so they, too, may find some joy in the everyday.
Jim Coley understands wine. The proof is in the pudding — or, rather, in Ça Va’s masterfully curated wine list.
A veteran of the industry since 1998, Jim has long held a special place in his heart for sparkling wine — in particular, grower Champagne, made by the vineyard owners on the estate. (You’ll find a portion of Ça Va’s extensive wine list dedicated specifically to this exceptional style.) Jim has been an anchor in the wine department at Gomer’s Midtown since the early aughts, and has served as the wine director there since 2011.
As Ça Va was preparing to open, his longtime friend Howard Hanna asked Jim to help bolster the sparkling wine program. The offerings at Ça Va echo one of Jim’s long-held beliefs: If it’s worth drinking, it’s worth drinking well. When you peruse through the glass and bottle options, you’ll discover winemakers large and small, each chosen on their own merits.