In a few weeks, people will be paying to be “locked” in a River Market room and then using their wits to try escaping within 60 minutes.
Breakout KC is the brainchild of partners Matt Baysinger, Lucas Thompson and Ryan Henrich.
The three men, all 29 years old, said they were on a mission to open home-grown, fun and family friendly venues.
Live action escape room games are based on the popular online games. About five years ago, real life versions began popping up in Asia and then Europe and the U.S. One corporation already has 20 locations in the U.S. and Europe.
“This isn’t new, but we knew we could take the concept and make it way better,” Baysinger said. “It’s about shared experiences that will bring people closer.”
The three Breakout KC partners have long loved creative problem solving.
Baysinger and Henrich were in a small math class at Blue Valley West High School in which their teacher would let them mathematically solve such questions as ‘How many licks does it take to get to the center of a giant Popsicle?’ Part of the fun was coming up with ever more “ridiculous” questions.
Over at Louisburg High School, Lucas Thompson, an acquaintance of Baysinger and Henrich, also was fond of brain teasers.
When all three men attended the University of Kansas they focused on recreational activities that were “spontaneous and ridiculous” — going out for Pie Night in suits and ties, “lawn-chairing” (taking lawn chairs to public places to people watch), or traveling extensively on a whim.
“More than the typical college student, we wanted to create our own adventures,” Baysinger said.
In April 2014, Baysinger and Thompson founded Mass Street Soda in downtown Lawrence, offering more than 1,300 varieties of premium craft sodas — including bottles of Dang Butterscotch Root Beer from Wisconsin, Filbert’s Lime Green Old Time Chicago Soda, and Olde Brooklyn Birch Beer — and drawing soda fans from up to 200 miles away. They also ship their sodas to online customers across the country.
Now they are in final negotiations to lease space for a metro soda shop, Kansas City Soda Co., and plan to launch their own line of sodas later this year.
With Henrich as a partner in Breakout KC, they plan a mid-April opening for the 1,600-square-foot entertainment facility at 114 W. Third St., Suite 102.
Players will have 60 minutes to “break out” of one of its four themed escape rooms by using clues, codes, ciphers, puzzles and riddles. The owners promise their customers will feel like Jason Bourne of “The Bourne Identity” or a member of the Mission Impossible crew.
The rooms will be the Truman Room (with a 1940s political theme), Room 13 (hotel room theme), Szechuan Secret (Chinatown market) and River Quay Casino (a crooked casino boss needs to be taken down). The cost will be $28 per person.
Henrich, a Lenexa firefighter, also is a partner in Second Life Studios, a Kansas City-based commercial and residential architectural design/build company. So he’ll help change out the rooms every six to eight months to keep them fresh.
The partners said the escape room games also are popular for corporate team building events and with tourists. So they plan to have it open long hours, from 8 a.m. to midnight daily.
“We want people to walk away and say, ‘That was really cool. I hope we can do it again,’” Baysinger said.
New brewery for part of Golden Ox space
Three months after the renown Golden Ox restaurant shut down in the West Bottoms, a new brewery plans to open in its former bar area.
Greg Bland, a native of Montana, said the stockyards area just reminds him of home. He plans to open Stockyards Brewing Co. in October with a silent partner — his former college roommate at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
He’ll keep the serpentine-shaped bar and hopes to incorporate the wagon wheel chandeliers. But he’ll rip out the burgundy carpet with its branding iron patterns and replace it with a wood floor.
Stockyards Brewing Co. will have a 15-barrel, three-vessel system in the cavern-like former dining room in the back of the space. Bland plans to put in garage doors to the parking lot to let in more light.
The goal is to produce about 500 barrels the first year of operations, mostly ales and stouts. Stockyards Brewing Co. also will serve some small plates.
“We don’t have a kitchen, but it will be more than just pretzels,” Bland said.
Bland also is director of environmental services at his family’s business, Travois Environmental Services, a consulting firm focused on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. He began home brewing about eight years ago but will hire a head brewer for the Stockyards Brewing Co., as well as a bartender.
“My parents are entrepreneurs, and they always told me to do what I love,” Bland said. “I love the ability to make a tangible product.”
A 5,000-square-foot space formerly housing the main dining room, lobby and kitchen of the Golden Ox is still available.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.