North Italia Cafe Allison McLeay

5 romantic Valentine’s dates that won’t break the bank

North Italia Cafe’s Bottle & Board Allison McLeay |
Union Station’s IMAX theater
Tannin Allison McLeay |
Brown & Loe Allison McLeay |

Let’s be honest. Our “other half” is our favorite partner in crime when it comes to exploring the city. Therefore, this significant other tends to become the other half of our paycheck.

Valentine’s Day is perhaps the worst offender. That said, celebrating your relationship always need to come with a high price tag.

Here are some ideas to keep your wallet full and love game on point this Valentine’s Day.

1. Take a day trip

About 3 hours down the road in Bentonville, Ark., sits Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.


Here’s a fun fact: it’s free.

From trails to museums to food, Crystal Bridges contains multiple days’ worth of entertainment. The museum is currently showing its newest exhibition, “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” The exhibition displays street art, sculpture, murals and more to represent black artists and the artworks that changed the face of art in America.

Looking for a meal after the museum? Stop by Eleven, Crystal Bridges’ restaurant overlooking the two spring-fed ponds.

“Soul of a Nation” exhibition: Through April 23. Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Monday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday, closed; Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

2. Cheese plates

These marvelous charcuterie plates are sure to melt the heart of your Valentine’s flame.

▪ North Italia Cafe

4579 W 119th St #101, Leawood

north italia

North Italia Cafe is is actually the furthest place out South which is pretty ironic.

The weekly happy hour has one of the best deals for shareable picks with its “Bottle and Board,” which serves up your choice of a bottle of white or red plus an assortment of meats, cheeses, bread, olives and asparagus a for just $20.

If you’re looking for more of a meal, they are also doing a four-course Valentine’s Day Special that is definitely worth investigating.

Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. & all day Sunday

▪ Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen

1526 Walnut St.


Named for the natural compounds from grape skins and seeds that give wines their dryness, Tannin elevates the classic wine and cheese bar to a new level of excellence. The staff there is no different.

After getting the inside scoop from our friendly server, one thing became clear: the front of house folks know the difference between each gouda and every Manchego on the menu.

Because they’re two of the most popular items on the menu, I tried the Honey Bee Gouda and the European Flight. The European Flight is a good choice because it comes with different examples of firmness and flavor such as manchego, brie and gruyere, so it’s great for sharing. Both boards come with homemade sesame lavosh crackers, pepper jam (that is incredible) and red grapes.

The staff says you must try the Honey Bee Gouda paired with the full-bodied merlot, Chateau de Bellevue, in order to give your tastebuds the love they deserve.

Happy hour: 4-6 p.m. daily

▪ BLVD Tavern

320 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City

BLVD Tavern sits in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District and is a place I stumbled upon prior to a dinner at Cafe Gratitude, which is across the street. This locally owned business is run by a husband-and-wife duo who are about to celebrate their 3rd year of business.

The delicious Butcher Board is an assortment of meats and cheese enhanced by the signature BLVD Original Chicken Liver Mousse and Pork Pate.

This happy hour is one you won’t to miss, especially on Wednesday’s.

Happy hour: Tuesday-Sunday, 3-5 p.m. and $20 select bottles of for Wine Wednesday

3. Don’t do dinner, do brunch

brown and loe

Set right across the street from the City Market, Brown & Loe is the perfect spot to switch up the typical Valentine’s dinner with a midday brunch.

The architecture honors its 1920s roots and the restaurant’s unique “the American South meets French bistro” provides a striking experience for the taste buds. As if the brunch menu even needed a bonus, they also have one or two specials each weekend. For instance, on a recent weekend the special was breakfast nachos, which puts a spin on the classic by adding eggs and white gravy.

What’s the most popular brunch item? The Loco Moco. One of the managing chefs has a background in Hawaiian cuisine so this combination of ginger coconut rice, burger patty, curried gravy and a fried egg is a play on his culinary past.

Brown & Loe also spices up its hollandaise sauce, making it with chilli and espresso. And we can’t forget to mention the loaded avocado toast and famous potato pancakes.

For food inspo and weekend specials, follow their chef-run Instagram account. Personally, I posted up at the bar with a cup of coffee and enjoyed chatting with the barista.

4. Share a show

Here is a list of must-see concert and movies going on in Kansas City the week of Valentine’s Day.



If you have country fever, then we’ve got you covered this week.

Alan Jackson will be at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. $69.99- $99.99

Walker McGuire will be at PBR Big Sky Bar on Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. $12-$15

Check out Brad Paisley on Feb. 16, 7 p.m. at the Sprint Center. $29.99-$129.99

More into techno? Check out Adult, Wednesday, Feb. 14,, 8 p.m. at the RecordBar. $15 + tax



If visuals are more your thing, head over to Union Station and check out the Dream Big: Engineering Our World in IMAX. This documentary takes the engineering masterpieces of our planet and brings to light the creative wonders that keep our world moving. $15

50 Shades Freed: Need we say more? Make it a dinner date night with all the wine and food you could desire while in sweats and a comfy chair at Cinetopia.

5. Be a Homebody

Sometimes you just gotta stay at home. If you’re looking to impress your date with your cooking skills, this bright dish will keep you feeling sophisticated and full. And for dessert, treat your love with a cake pop.

Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail

5 romantic Valentine’s dates that won’t break the bank