Howard Hanna is the Chef/Owner of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in the Crossroads and Ca Va in historic Westport. Hanna is a 2003 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York City, and opened his first restaurant in the 99-year-old former headquarters of the J. Rieger& Company Whiskey Distributorship at 1924 Main. In the spirit of a true preservationist, Hanna kept the name as well as many of the original bathroom fixtures and tile flooring. Since moving to Kansas City, he has lived in five buildings, four of which are over 100 years old.
Q: What drew you to your building in the first place?
A: At the Reiger, the location and physical space influenced every decision we made about developing our brand. The tile floor, the name, the brick, the bathroom fixtures, and the mural outside are all things that we consciously and deliberately incorporated into our image and identity. The building is gorgeous and gives our restaurant a soul that couldn’t exist in a newer space.