about bluestem

Their dream became a reality when chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts opened bluestem in March of 2004. With Chef Colby’s Progressive American Cuisine and Chef Megan’s new varieties of American desserts, bluestem is dedicated to providing not only a meal, but a truly memorable experience. The restaurant’s unadorned elegance, staff dedication and attention to detail allow you to simply settle in and enjoy your stay.


bluestem has received local and national accolades including being named as a 2015 James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant” for an invigorating marriage of cuisine and hospitality . Chefs Colby and Megan invite you to experience all that bluestem has to offer, from cocktails and snacks in the bar, to a tasting menu in the dining room, or even Sunday brunch.


For employment opportunities please direct resumes to the following:

Dining Room & Bar – General Manager Jeff Cambiano: jeff@bluestemkc.com

Kitchen – Chef Andrew Longres: andrew@bluestemkc.com


Media inquiries or charitable requests please contact:

Tammie Franck / Publicist, Estes Public Relations



Corie Rast / Social Media


Donation Request Form Click Here



bluestem the cookbook

Cookbook available for purchase at bluestem restaurant for $45.00+ tax


Made in America cookbook

Debuting April 2015 / Pre-sale begins December 1st, 2014. Cookbook available for purchase at bluestem restaurant for $21.99+ tax


Colby and Megan Garrelts

Owners / Executive Chef & Executive Pastry Chef

Megan and Colby Garrelts are the chef-owners of bluestem Restaurant in Kansas City and rye Restaurant in Leawood, Kansas. Chef Colby is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest award winner, 2005 Food & Wine Top 10 Best New Chef and recently had his cuisine showcased in the Wall Street Journal and on the August 2013 cover of Saveur Magazine. Chef Megan is a James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef and her recipes have been featured in numerous national publications including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal and Saveur.


Andrew Longres


Andrew Longres is the chef at bluestem Restaurant in Kansas City. Growing up in a small town north of the city, Andrew Longres knew at an early age that he had a passion for food. At 14 years old, he started his first job at a local doughnut shop and decided at that point to pursue a career in the restaurant industry. By the time he graduated from high school, his drive and determination had propelled him from bussing tables and washing dishes at a local establishment to running the kitchen line.


Jessica Armstrong

Pastry Chef

Jessica Armstrong is the pastry chef at Bluestem in Kansas City, MO. While still in high school, she got an early and self-sufficient start in the pastry field, making cakes for friends and family out of her home. She continued to do this while she worked in the restaurant industry, beginning at Stephenson’s Apple Farm and Restaurant in her hometown of Independence, MO. She continued her education by enrolling in the pastry program at Johnson County Community College.


Jeff Cambiano

General Manager / Sommelier

Jeff Cambiano is the general manager at Bluestem. He joined the restaurant after holding the position of assistant general manager and wine director at sister restaurant rye. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and spent two and a half years in Seville, Prague and Rome teaching English as a second language after college. While in Europe, Cambiano took advantage of sampling the local cuisine in all three cities and expanded his knowledge of wine.


Van Zarr

Bar Manager

Van Zarr is the bar manager and lead mixologist for Bluestem and Rye restaurants. He is a native of Missouri, growing up in Belton, and he began his career in the restaurant industry at the iconic Kansas City establishment, The Golden Ox. Van was voted “Best Bartender” by KC Magazine and The Pitch Magazine in 2011 and 2013. He currently runs the bar programs at Bluestem in Kansas City, MO and rye, in Leawood, KS, dividing his time between the two restaurants.


Kelsey Alt

Assistant Sommelier

Kelsey Alt is the assistant sommelier at Bluestem. She started early in the hospitality field, beginning when she was 15. In the years since then she will tell you, “I have done every possible job in restaurants!” Her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Missouri – Columbia was in hospitality management with an emphasis in food and beverage with a minor in business.


Andrew Olsen

Bar Manager / Lead Mixologist

Andrew Olsen is the bar manager and lead mixologist at Bluestem. He is a Missouri native who grew up on a small farm south of Belton. After the United States Marine Corps, he started his first restaurant job at Houston’s on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Here he focused on the art of making the perfect cocktail.