Nica’s has found a new home.
Owner Bryan Merker opened Nica’s Cafe in LionsGate Marketplace, 14319 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, in early 2010.
He closed it in late 2010 to relocate.
He’s since looked at several locations, including the former Corner Restaurant spot in Westport (which he said needed many infrastructure improvements), and the former Shiraz space (but an investor dropped out due to a family illness).
A customer reading about the frustrations on Nica’s Café’s Facebook page then stepped up with some funds.
So the restaurant, which will now be known just as Nica’s, is scheduled to open Aug. 1 in the former Shiraz spot at 320 Southwest Blvd.
Merker is remodeling the location and "embracing its history," including two old blacksmith chimneys that he’ll use as part of the décor in a back room.
He’ll build a stage in the room for live music on weekends, and maybe add a movie screen for 'dinner and movie' nights. The space also will be used for watching sports events or for holding corporate meetings.
The front room will be refreshed with an "artsy theme" featuring illuminating metal and glass, and also serve as a showcase for area glass and metal artists.
"We did fine out south but we were kind of outgrowing the space," Merker said. "We were getting the neighborhood business but we found, with time, most of our customers were coming from Midtown, Downtown, the Plaza area."
Nica’s menu is a fusion of different cuisines – pan fried lasagna noodles, bruschetta-style pizzas, and bourbon bread pudding, along with crepes, steaks, seafood, sandwiches, salads, and bubble tea.
"I think that (Crossroads) neighborhood is very focused on one kind of cuisine - you’re a Thai restaurant or Italian or Spanish tapas," Merket said. "We deal with eight different kinds of cuisines but in the form that everyone can relate to – sandwiches, pizzas. We’ll have a.gourmet mac-n-cheese with 19 different toppings – candied jalapenos, mango carmelized onions, smoked bacon. You’ll be able to order a steak prepared Cajun, Carribean, French, Italian."
Nica’s hopes to have its website up with new menu later next week at www.nicas320.com
Shiraz closed in late 2008 after more than 14 years of operation.
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