Nicholas Goellner & LESLIE NEWSAM GOELLNER
After receiving his degree from the University of Kansas in Political Science, Nick Goellner was a congressional aide in Topeka. Quickly realizing that this was not the path he was interested in pursuing, Nick took the advice from his sister Tasha to attend culinary school. In 2006, Nick got accepted to the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Once finished with school, he completed his first externship on The World cruise ship. After travelling, working and learning throughout the Mediterranean for four months, Nick went back to NYC to work for French chef Alain Allegretti. At his eponymous restaurant, Nick worked both lunch and dinner six days a week.
After a year, he got called by a friend from culinary school to help him run the historic restaurant, Robert Morris Inn on the Chesapeake Bay. After the season was finished, Nick was curious as to what was happening in the culinary scene in Kansas City.
Leslie Newsam Goellner began her career in restaurants nearly 20 years ago as a server with Rudy’s Mexican Restaurant in Kansas City. As her passion grew she took a position with Room 39 in Midtown, falling in love with the local food and service style advocated by Ted Habiger. At the direction of Ted and Howard Hanna, in 2006 Leslie sought to further her food and beverage acumen in New York.
After a stint with Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant Jo Jo, Leslie accepted a position under Danny Meyer at The Modern as a server, bartender, and private event server. This opportunity deeply enriched her knowledge, passion, and commitment to food, wine, and exceptional customer experience.
Following four years in New York, Leslie returned home to Kansas City to assist Howard Hanna and Ryan Maybee in opening The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange. Grateful for the opportunity as an assistant manager, Leslie soon earned a promotion to general manager overseeing all front-end operations. It was during this time she met Nick Goellner, a gifted chef with a similar commitment and passion for the industry. After becoming engaged, they chose San Francisco as the next step forward in their lives and careers.
While in San Francisco, Leslie served as general manager at one of the premier restaurant groups in the area, and was deeply impacted by the sense of ownership and camaraderie found within the local industry. Falling in love with the food and produce, Nick went to work for one Michelin star restaurant Boulevard. He moved from lunch to dinner services with ease and earned a spot on management in this very successful and competitive environment. While watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, they discussed the prospects of Nick doing an internship at Noma in Copenhagen.
Several months of applications went by and he was accepted to the internship program at the highest rated restaurant in the world. The couple traveled to Denmark in April 2015. While Leslie was traveling the world and formulating a business plan for their future restaurant, Nick was experiencing and learning more than he ever thought possible. Working impossible hours and being pushed to the limits, he moved through every section in the restaurant, finally reaching his goal of test kitchen intern. He made close connections with highly trained chefs from all over the world. They left Europe wide eyed and ready to take on their next adventure together.
Owning a restaurant in Kansas City was the final step in the long progression. They are excited to be back in their home town near friends and family and enjoy creating some of the finest and most unique offerings available in Kansas City.
As time allows Leslie and Nick enjoy spending time with their families and cats, traveling, and of course tracking down the best food and beverages along the way.