From Grains to Grandeur: Local Spirits Take Center Stage on Founders’ Lounge Menu

With seven artisan cocktails crafted with 11 Kansas City-based spirits, the Founders’ Lounge at the Kauffman Center redefines the cocktail experience by featuring the finest creations from local distilleries. Formerly known as The Dining Experience, the Founders’ Lounge is located just within the south doors and serves as the on-site restaurant at the Kauffman Center.

A cocktail sitting on a table with the Kauffman Center's interior in the background.

Photo by Don Ipock

The Kauffman Center is proud to partner with Tom’s Town Distilling Co., J. Rieger & Co. and Restless Spirits Distilling Company.  These distilleries represent Kansas City’s spirited history with beginnings dating back as early as 1853 and as recent as 2016.  

“Five or six years ago, I started taking note of the distilleries here in Kansas City. I noticed a uniqueness from each distiller,” said Founders’ Lounge Dining Manager Kevin Fossland. “Fast forward to joining the Kauffman Center team, I had the desire to build relationships with local products. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a Kansas City landmark, so it seems more than natural for it to be a platform for Kansas City endeavors.” 

The Founders’ Lounge menu uses these three distilleries in five of its seven perfectly crafted cocktails: Welcome to Kauffman and Bee’s Knees (with your choice of Kansas City gin), Kansas City Old Fashioned (with your choice of Kansas City whiskey), Missouri Mule (with your choice of Kansas City vodka) and the Negroni (with Tom’s Town Garden Party).

Restless Spirits Distilling Company  

Although a newcomer to Kansas City’s distilling scene in 2014, Restless Spirits is the realization of a dream that has been brewing for over 150 years. Its founders, the Shannon Family, were some of Kansas City’s earliest Irish settlers in 1853. Today, the Kauffman Center offers these Restless Spirits products: Builders Barrel Finished (gin), Builders (gin), Stone Breaker (whiskey), Gully Town Single Malt (whiskey) and Duffy’s Run (vodka). 

Bar of the Founders' Lounge

Photo by Anna Petrow

J. Rieger & Co.

Founded in 1887, J. Rieger & Co. has been a Kansas City staple from the days of pre-Prohibition to the revival of craft spirits in the modern age. With over a century of craftmanship, its continued relevance mirrors the innovative spirit of Kansas City. The Kauffman Center offers these J. Rieger & Co. products: Midwestern (gin), Kansas City (whiskey) and Premium Wheat (vodka).  

Tom’s Town Distilling Co. 

Recognized as downtown Kansas City’s first legal distillery since Prohibition, Tom’s Town pays homage to an era of speakeasies and jazz with a name that references Prohibition-era boss, Tom Pendergast. Tom’s Town opened in 2016 and continues to satisfy Kansas City locals. The Kauffman Center offers these Tom’s Town classics: Garden Party (gin), Botanical (gin), Royal Gold Bourbon (whiskey) and Double Grain (vodka).  

Other Local Spirits

At the Kauffman Center, patrons may also enjoy select products from any of the following Kansas City-based spirits: ANNX Spirits Co., Boozy Botanicals, Holladay Distillery, Lifted Spirits Distillery, Of The Earth Farm Distillery, Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, Union Horse Distilling Co. and West Bottoms Whiskey Co.

Interested in sampling these local concoctions? Book your reservation today at