Three first-to-market chain restaurants will kick off the new $16 million Restaurant Pavilion at Ward Parkway Center next month.
▪ Smitty’s Garage plans an Oct. 9 opening. Described as a fast-casual burger joint, Smitty’s Garage will open in a 5,000-square-foot space at 8811 State Line Road. The restaurants specialize in burgers —specialty, classic and build-your-own — in addition to fresh-cut fries, fork-and-knife hotdogs, fish and chips, sandwiches, tacos and more. They have a retro, automotive-themed atmosphere with a full-service bar, arcade games and TVs.
Smitty’s Garage currently has 17 locations in four states. It is owned by Norman, Okla.-based Hal Smith Restaurant Group, which also owns Redrock Canyon Grill. It opened a Redrock in Overland Park in late 2016.
▪ Charleston’s plans an Oct. 23 opening. Another Hal Smith Restaurant Group concept, it took a 7,000-square-foot space at 8817 State Line Road. It is described as an upbeat, full-service restaurant offering a modestly priced menu of traditional American classics, made-from-scratch with high quality ingredients — burgers and sandwiches, steaks and prime rib, salads, chicken and specialty dishes. It currently has 18 locations in six states.
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▪ MidiCi, The Neapolitan Pizza Co. plans a mid-October opening. The California-based pizza chain took a 3,500-square-foot space at 8815 State Line in the Restaurant Pavilion. It employs certified pizzaiolos (pizza makers) in an open, center-staged kitchen that it refers to as “the heart” of its restaurant. Its pizzas have a “chewy and crisp dough topped with all-natural, fresh ingredients.” The pizzas bake for 90 seconds at 900 degrees in wood-fired ovens imported from Italy. MidiCi currently has 12 locations.
Ward Parkway Center also will hold a job fair from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, and Oct. 7, seeking more than 150 new restaurant employees for such positions as prep cooks, line cooks, dishwashers, managers, servers, hosts and bartenders. Interested candidates can apply in the carpeted area near the AMC Ward Parkway 14 box office at Ward Parkway Center.
The new Restaurant Pavilion is a 31,000-square-foot district on the site of the former Dillard’s department store and parking garage, north of 89th Street between Ward Parkway and State Line Road. It also includes a 22,235-square-foot pedestrian plaza.
No updates were available for a previously announced tenant, Ted’s Escondido Cafe. Another restaurant company, to be announced later, will take a two-story space.