The Town Company, led by executive chef Johnny Leach (Town, Del Posto, Momofuku), intertwines rustic roots and refined beginnings that embody the Kansas City experience as we know it today. Leach, along with his wife, executive pastry chef Helen Jo Leach (Eleven Madison Park, Milk Bar, Del Posto), have created menus that celebrate local culinary traditions with elevated, modern renditions. Charming, yet inventive, The Town Company redefines the concept of a new Midwestern table. With an intimate menu based around the white oak burning hearth, The Town Company’s menu rotates consistently throughout the year and is fueled by a network of local farmers, ranchers, and other unique purveyors.
The wine program is a continuation of this path, with a focus on indigenous varietals, complemented by exemplary expressions of those grapes from around the winemaking world. It is a reflection on the importance of agriculture and how farmers, vineyards, and winemaking traditions have come to shape the way we learn about and enjoy wine. The Town Company General Manager, Kelsey Alt, has created a one of a kind wine list envisioned through the dynamic gradients of a wine’s body style, as we believe the dining experience is enhanced by a natural progression of temperatures, textures, and colors.
The Town Company, helmed by executive chef Johnny Leach, intertwines rustic roots and refined beginnings. Its sister bar concept, Nighthawk, is also be influenced by Leach’s direction. With both concepts, Leach will fold in his hyper-seasonal philosophy into his role. Layered and integrated, Leach’s position will also include overseeing the entire event F&B program at Hotel Kansas City. Between his Oregon beginnings, residency in New York City, and reverence for Kansas City history, Leach’s background paints a picture of a dynamic career and excitement to experiment.
Leach previously worked at esteemed New York restaurants including Town, Del Posto, and Momofuku, and collected accolades and unforgettable experiences, including an appearance on David Chang’s Netflix original series, “Ugly Delicious.” Along the way, he created lifelong friendships and partnerships, the greatest of which being with his wife, Helen Jo, who will work alongside him as pastry chef of The Town Company and other hotel outlets. Committed to giving back to his community, Leach’s involvement with No Kid Hungry and other charitable organizations connects his professional career and personal values.
Drawing from his experience in the Pacific Northwest, Leach’ s menus highlight hyper-seasonal ingredients from local farms. Leach provides a top-to-bottom hospitality experience for guests, using his food to foster a restaurant that doubles as a creative meeting place, and is punctuated by warm embraces.
At The Town Company, charming, yet inventive fare is brought to life by executive chef Johnny Leach and sous chef Jay Ferries. Ferries and Leach’s dynamic is built on balance: they complement each other through the execution of their unique menu visions. As Leach’s right-hand man, Ferries’ assistance helps center the team’s craft.
Throughout Ferries’ career, he’s taken chances and succeeded because of the rich relationships he’s built along the way. Ferries’ pivotal experiences cooking in Portland sparked his excitement for the farm-to-table experience and brought him in connection with Leach. His residency in Pacific Northwest restaurants like Clyde Common allowed Ferries to devote time and energy into his passion and inspired him to pursue it more seriously. In Portland, Ferries learned about the farm-to-table movement and its impact on the industry. He experienced the beauty and rarity of being able to request a crop to be grown exclusively for him to work with.
As the concept for The Town Company blossomed, Ferries knew that it would forever change the landscape of the city’s culture. Beyond a culinary endeavor, Ferries sees the emergence of The Town Company as a new beginning in Kansas City. From the restaurant’s origination, the role Ferries has played has been one he’s dreamt of throughout his career.
HELEN JO LEACH
HELEN JO LEACH
Executive Pastry Chef
Executive pastry chef Helen Jo Leach leads The Town Company’s dessert program, Hotel Kansas City’s Lobby Café, market, and events programs. Leach’s Midwestern-inspired approach to pastry incorporates native ingredients and experimentation with the restaurant’s centerpiece hearth, bringing her wealth of acumen, artistry, and excitement to The Town Company’s and Hotel Kansas City’s pastry programs.
Leach’s talents opened doors to work at esteemed spots like Eleven Madison Park, and Del Posto – the restaurant where she met her husband. Later on, she assisted Christina Tosi in opening and building the Momofuku Milk Bar empire. After eight lively years in New York City, Leach and her husband, The Town Company’s executive chef Johnny Leach, moved to the Pacific Northwest, where her leadership shaped the dessert program at two of Gabriel Rucker’s restaurants in Portland: Little Bird Bistro and Le Pigeon. As she mastered new facets of the craft, Leach’s passion navigated her through the intensity the industry demanded.
Entering her positions at The Town Company and Hotel Kansas City, Leach enjoys exploring Midwestern flavors with help from the space’s hearth. Oftentimes sharing ingredients in the kitchen and culinary books in their home library, she and Johnny look forward to exploring their curiosity with plants native to Kansas City and collaborating on menus.
Wine Director & General Manager
Wine director, general manager, and Kansas City native, Kelsey Alt brings her extensive hospitality knowledge and love for her hometown to Hotel Kansas City’s The Town Company and Hotel Kansas City’s Lobby Bar concept.
As a native, Alt has witnessed first hand the evolution the historic city has undergone. In approaching The Town Company’s wine curation, Alt tasked herself with epitomizing Kansas City’s spirit into a wine list. Mimicking Chef Johnny Leach’s intention of working with what Kansas City’s land, farmers, and purveyors embody, she has worked to translate those qualities into her wine curation. Although this wine list is the shortest Alt has written in her career thus far, showcasing around 60 bottles, she has used this opportunity to execute a dream lineup she has envisioned for years.
Through her fine dining service experience, Alt has honed the ability to create an atmosphere similar to a friend’s table, while simultaneously incorporating special moments that make guests feel truly celebrated. Alt revels in the opportunity to contribute to her hometown’s burgeoning culinary and social landscape through The Town Company and Hotel Kansas City’s lobby bar experiences.
Director of Restaurants, Bars & Events
Kansas City native and Director of Restaurants, Bars & Events, Scott Tipton collaborates on opening menus, develop cocktail programs, and curate events for Hotel Kansas City, The Town Company, and Nighthawk. Tipton rediscovered the well-kept secret that is Kansas City after he left his hometown for a decade to explore the coast of California. With a fresh perspective and a new chapter unfolding, Tipton’sinvolvement will help tell the city’s story of evolution. Through his diverse experiences in hospitality, entertainment, culinary, and legal industries, his jack-of-all-trades character will create dynamic and vibrant programming. Under Tipton’s direction, the various cocktail menus, between Nighthawk, The Town Company, and Hotel Kansas City’s Lobby Bar, will each have distinct personalities. An overarching inspiration for Tipton is a reverence for nature, such as the hearth, fresh herbs, and environmentally friendly products.
Throughout Tipton’s career, the programs he has managed have received countless accolades, including “Top 100 New Bars in America” – Food & Wine Magazine; “Best Craft Cocktail” – 435 South Magazine; “21 Hottest Cocktail Bars” – Eater.com; and “Best Bars in America” – Esquire Magazine. Tipton is also the Managing Partner for Paris of the Plaines Cocktail Festival and has led the apprentice program for Tales of the Cocktail. Some of Tipton’s personal achievements include being named “Top 10 Mixologists to Watch” by Beverage Media Group, in addition to driving successful results at local and regional cocktail competitions.
A secret no more, Tipton is ready to share Kansas City’s magic with the rest of the world through the thoughtful and electric Nighthawk, The Town Company , and Hotel Kansas City’s Lobby Bar experiences.