KC Hopps took over the 6,270-square-foot former El Maguey Mexican Restaurant in late 2014. It remodeled the freestanding building, at 19700 E. Valley View Parkway, for a May 2015 opening for Stroud’s.
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KC Hopps had partnered with Stroud’s owner, Mike Donegan, in 2013 to open more locations, promising not to mess with his famous pan-fried chicken recipe. Donegan still owns the Northland location and is a partner in the other locations, including one that opened in Overland Park in mid-2014 and an Omaha, Neb., restaurant that opened in late 2016. He would also be a partner in any new locations.
Vic Allred, founder of Jazz, said he will take over the Independence lease in a partnership with KC Hopps under a new entity. Allred hopes to keep most of the Stroud’s employees when Jazz opens there in early July. He will make some improvements, including fresh paint and a decorative wrought-iron to give it that New Orleans style.
“KC Hopps approached me three or four months ago about teaming up, and they will be a partner in that location,” Allred said. “There’s not a lot of seafood over there, so I think it will be a big complement.”
Allred opened the first Jazz in 1986 in Lubbock, Texas. He added a Kansas City location in 1994 on 39th Street’s restaurant row, and later opened locations in Kansas City, Kan.; Columbia; and Omaha, Neb., with partners.
He opened a Lawrence location in October 2015, but closed it in late 2016. In mid-2016, he also rebranded Jimmy’s Jigger, next to his 39th Street Jazz, as Papa Vic’s The Jigger, with its own menu, but customers also can order off the Jazz menu.
Jazz menu items include charbroiled oysters, Chicken A La Mer, blackened chicken and blackened steak, shrimp étouffée, fried catfish, soups and salads, as well as daily specials. Entrees average about $10 to $12.
The Independence location also will have live entertainment several days a week.
“Stroud’s put in about $800,000 in the remodel, it is just top-notch, first class, so we are very excited,” Allred said. “It is two Kansas City restaurant groups that have come together. So if it works out well, who knows?”
Ed Nelson with KC Hopps said he was thrilled to be partnering with Allred to bring a Jazz to Independence.
“We think Jazz is going to kill it out there. It should be one of the only Cajun seafood places, one of the best places for live music out in that area,” Nelson said. “We’ve been wanting to partner up to do something with Vic, who is the restaurant legend, for as long as I can remember.”
After 40 years with Stroud’s, Donegan said he was sorry to see a Stroud’s location close.
“I think that location will be very well-suited for Jazz, and I personally like their food,” he said. “I think we opened too many Stroud’s, too quick. But I will welcome some of my Independence and Lee’s Summit customers back up to Stroud’s North.”