Cover Photo: Southern Kitchen, an authentic Cajun food restaurant at 131st and State Line, officially opened Monday, June 21. Photo by Kathy Feist
Dealing with the coronovirus, new restaurants prepare to open
By Kathy Feist
On March 6, Torchy’s Tacos announced its April 1st grand opening party at Ward Parkway Shopping Center. But it wasn’t long before the COVID-19 shutdown changed those plans, to the disappointment of many of the fans of the Tex-Mex franchise.
Several new restaurants that were planning spring openings have had to put plans on hold as they held out for less restrictive reopening guidelines, return of laid-off contractors, and the ever hopeful flattening of the curve.
With promise of Phase II’s 50 percent occupancy regulation, some restaurants are ready to crack out of their shell.
Southern Kitchen – New Orleans natives Mark and Robin Drouin are ready to turn their popular Cajun Cabin food truck into a casual service restaurant at 13135 State Line Rd (formerly Empanada Madness). They plan to officially open June 22 (a soft opening precedes it). Drouin says their Covid-19 challenge has been finding employees. The restaurant will feature home-style Southern comfort food in addition to Cajun specialties.
Torchy’s Tacos – Anticipating fans of Kansas City’s first Torchy’s Tacos will be happy to know that the franchise will open July 1st at its Ward Parkway Shopping Center location. According to manager Andrew Sprouse, most of the newly hired employees had to find other jobs due to the shutdown but have returned.
El Maguey – Francis Jaime plans to open his Mexican eatery El Maguey, at 13612 Washington Ave., by the end of the month. He reports the restaurant, formerly Pizza Shoppe, has been remodeled and is now waiting for an inspection. Covid-19 measures slowed down the reconstruction process as certain contractors chose to stay home. Jaime, a relative to the popular franchise owners, has restaurants in Harrisonville and Maryville.
Martin City JackStack – JackStack BBQ in Martin City is currently only open for carry-out as the local franchise updates its original location. “The pandemic has slowed down progress a bit because some of the sub contractors were not working consistently through all of this,” says spokesman Travis Carpenter. “We are tracking to finish sometime in July but it is very fluid right now.”
The Chive Cafe/Transparent Brewing Co. – The construction completion date was expected for the first part of June for the 4,200 sq ft Grandview cafe and brewery. But co-owner Michelle Brown says the weather, more so than the coronavirus, slowed that down. The farm-to-table cafe is being built off 71 Hwy and 150 Hwy, near Gail’s Harley Davidson. They expect to make an opening announcement soon.
The Peanut – The popular franchise was rumored to open at the former Luther’s BBQ off 129th and State Line. But due to the shutdown those plans will not evolve, according to Pat Murray, owner of Luther’s and formerly Murray’s.
Duck Donuts – The build-your-own hot donut franchise has closed at its Ranch Mart location, 95th and Mission, and is waiting to open at the former Peachwave Yogurt space at 121st and State Line. Owner Ryan McNeil says reopening has not been affected by the coronavirus. They are waiting for permits at the new location in order to get started on remodeling. McNeil is unsure of an open date, but does say he can’t wait to sink his teeth into a French Toast hot donut when it does.