Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: Chris Conatser

Conatser tops PoPFest Bartending Competition—again

In the weeks leading up to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition, much was made of the fact that Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore placed every time he entered what was formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. And last night he kept the streak alive, taking first place with his Manhattan (in)Verse.

PoPFest Bartending Competition winners lookin’ pretty happy. From left, Berto Santoro (3rd), Matt Seiter (Fan Favorite), Jenn Tosatto (2nd) and Chris Conatser (1st).
That bring’s Conatser’s tally to two first-place wins (2008 & 2012), one second (2010) and a third (2009). Not that he was the only one to reaffirm his track record.
Second-place winner Jenn Tosatto, bar manager of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, is a five-time finalist who placed third in 2008. Berto Santoro, Extra Virgin’s bar manager, and Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria, St. Louis were both onstage last year. Santoro took third in 2012; Seiter was voted Fan Favorite.
Theirs weren’t the only familiar faces.  Kansas City’s Travis Stewart of Port Fonda, Paige Unger of Michael Smith Restaurant and Arturo Vera-Felicie of The Farmhouse were all returning competitors. Other finalists included Chris Burmeister, The Goose and Bramble & Hare, Boulder, Colo.; Carol Donovan, Hearty Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.; Phoebe Esmon, Kennett South 2nd, Philadelphia, Pa.; Giovanni Ferlaino, Ludivine, Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Liz Pearce, The Drawing Room, Chicago, Ill.
Did they put on a good show? Absolutely. Continue Reading

PoPFest Bartending Competition goes big

There’s nothing like strolling into your favorite bar, takin’ a seat and watching a great bartender go to work. Unless you go to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition on Sunday night, where you can see a dozen of the country’s best mix it up on Sunday night as they vie for the $1,750… Continue Reading

Paris of the Plains pops in Kansas City

In 2007, Ryan Maybee and Doug Frost started a little thing called the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. Well, little in comparison to what that event’s grown into—the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival. The week-long event’s already underway, and I wrote about it in today’s Kansas City Star (KC’s cocktail culture births Paris of… Continue Reading

Botanical bartending

There’s nothing new about bartenders using herbs. But no one does it quite like Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore. That’s why a handful of Kansas City’s bartenders—many of them members of the KC Bartenders’ Guild, a newly formed chapter of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild—trekked up to Paradise, Mo., earlier this week for Conatser’s take on… Continue Reading

Kansas City: a great place to drink

Kansas City’s a great place to get a drink. I know that. You know that. Now, thanks to the lovely editors at Imbibe! who gave me a chance to write about it all, everyone else does, too. Articles like that give me a perfect excuse to be nosy, asking endless questions about cocktails, beer, coffee,… Continue Reading

At the bar: Justus Drugstore

Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore is many things: botanist, wildcrafter, bartender. He’s even been called a mad scientist, thanks to regular usage of words like terpene and diacetyl. I say he’s just good at what he does. I’ve been up to Smithville, Mo., a couple times recently to see Conatser—the first was in September to… Continue Reading

Quote: the start of a good cocktail

“Anything that smells good and doesn’t poison us can be the start of a cocktail.” This from Chris Conatser, the botanist bartender at Justus Drugstore in Smithville. During a recent interview about cocktail trends, Conatser told me that he draws inspiration from everywhere—daisies along the road, corn tassling out, aromas from the kitchen. If it… Continue Reading