Chow Town

August 20, 2014

More restaurants for the River Market

The owner of Harry’s Country Club is in negotiations to open another restaurant in the area. Nguyen Pho + Grill plans to open next week. Other food operations are in the planning stages.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Nearly 11 years after opening his namesake Harry’s Country Club, Harry Murphy is getting close to opening another River Market restaurant.

He first negotiated for the former Hickok’s Bar & Grill spot at 528 Walnut St., but that deal fell through.

Now he’s negotiating for a 2,941-square-foot City Market space at 429 Walnut St. If the deal is completed, Murphy would open a restaurant there in early 2015. The restaurant and bar would have a menu that would take advantage of its proximity to the market’s fresh produce and feature a patio on the northwest side, facing the market square.

“It’s a great old building. Kind of classic, and that has always appealed to me,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of growth, and the more it grows, the more charming and walkable it becomes.”

But he said he wouldn’t do the deal without his daughter, Kate McGlaughlin, general manager of Harry’s Country Club.

Justin Cottrell, principal with KC Commercial Realty Group, the broker and property manager for the City Market, said the city owns the former bank building and has renovated it over the last few years. It still has some original marble floors and walls, and plaster molding on the ceiling.

If the lease is signed, it will bring City Market occupancy to 97 percent.

Just down the block, Jack and Kim Nguyen plan to open Nguyen Pho + Grill at 500 Grand Blvd. on Tuesday.

They had owned an area nail salon before selling the business and returning to their native Vietnam to take cooking lessons for several months from Jack’s uncle, who owns a restaurant in Saigon.

“My wife has loved to cook since she was a young girl and always wanted to open a restaurant,” Jack Nguyen said.

They signed a lease for the River Market spot in November and have been renovating it for the last few months.

The menu will include appetizers, Vietnamese sandwiches, specialty dishes like steamed rice with shaken beef cubes and roasted pork fried rice.

Roots & Branches hair salon also recently opened on the block, adding to the foot traffic.

LaBruzzo’s Sweet Oven is taking part of the Hickok’s space for an Italian bakery scheduled to open this fall.

Anton Kotar also is in negotiations to open Emory’s, a restaurant specializing in burgers and bourbon, in the River Market. Emory’s will be named after Kotar’s 18-week-old son.

Kotar is a co-founder and former partner at Grinders and the current owner/operator of Anton’s Taproom in the Crossroads Arts District.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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