The East Crossroads boom continues.
The area — from roughly Grand Boulevard east to Campbell Street and from Truman Road south to 20th Street — in recent months has added a coffee shop, breweries, a tapcade (craft beers and arcade) and movie theater, among other draws.
Now several other new operations will soon set up shop in the area, including a distillery, winery, more breweries, a restaurant and perhaps a beer hall.
“People are feeling very positive and willing to take a risk,” said Suzie Aron, owner of Aron Real Estate, who is on the board of the Crossroads Community Association. “They want to be entrepreneurs, and this is a neighborhood that welcomes entrepreneurs — tenants and owners.”
The latest additions:
▪ Ryan Brazeal, owner of the acclaimed Novel restaurant, is the new owner of a two-story building at 1927 McGee St., which is currently leased, as well as an empty two-story building at 1935 McGee St.
“I’ve always wanted to do something in the east Crossroads and think there is a lot of room for development there,” Brazeal said. “I’m keeping my options open, but I’m working with some architects and with the bank to see what options I have. Right now it is so preliminary.”
▪ KC Wineworks, which will specialize in wine from locally sourced grapes, is scheduled to open at 1829 McGee St. this fall. The south half of the building will be for retail sales and for wine tastings while the north half will be an event space. The winery will be in the back of the space.
A dozen years ago, Robert Lowery and his wife, Jeanne Hunt, started a vineyard in Lowery’s family homestead in Macon, Mo. They sold their grapes to other area wineries, but recently their son, James Lowery, talked them into opening their own winery. Lindsay Clausen, James’ girlfriend, will manage the retail shop and tasting room, and serve as marketing manager.
▪ Kyle Claypool, Darren Unruh and Michael Stuckey plan a fall opening for their Lifted Spirits distillery. They are taking a two-story, red brick building at 17th and Cherry streets. The distillery will be in the back of the building, but it also will have a small retail space at the entrance selling the company’s gin, vodka, wheat whiskey and hopped whiskey. The distillery also may do some seasonal and limited releases as well as “a few surprises.”
▪ Normal Human Wears & Wares from Kansas City, an apparel and gift shop, has a Westport production and retail facility. Later this summer it will move its screen-printing equipment to 1815 McGee St. and expand its retail offerings at the Westport shop. The east Crossroads location also will have pop-up retail events.
“It’s an area of town that is up-and-coming but still relatively affordable and still has that human interaction and walkability and creativity,” said Dan Mahaney, partner in Normal Human.
▪ Brewery Emperial is scheduled to open at 1829 Oak St. this fall.
Ted Habiger and Keith Thompson started as servers at 75th Street Brewery back in 1994. But Habiger went on to become a chef and owner of the Room 39 restaurants while Thompson became a brewmaster at McCoy’s Public House. Now they are partnering with Keith’s wife, Julie Thompson, and Rich Kasyjanski in the new Brewery Emperial.
“I love good craft beer and wanted to do a casual menu, one that wouldn’t change much from lunch to dinner,” Habiger said.
Habinger’s menu will include starters such as Asian-style or western New York-style chicken wings, poutine (housemade French fries with duck confit gravy and Shatto dairy cheese curds) and tater tots (stuffed with chives and Montasio cheese), as well as salads and sandwiches, hamburgers, grilled chicken, trout, ribeye steak and mushroom pizza.
Brewery Emperial bought a 15-barrel brewery system from a Japanese brewery, Hitachino Nest, and plans to do about a dozen different beers.
▪ St. Louis-based International Tap House — also known as iTap — has been looking at sites in the East Crossroads for three years. It is now focusing on a building at 18th and Oak, a building that was heavily damaged after a car careened into it during a high-speed pursuit by police in late 2014.
The iTap describes its operations as “beer halls with a massive selection of draft and bottled brews in spacious, industrial-chic settings.”
▪ Locally owned Double Shift Brewing Co., 412 E. 18th St., plans a July 11 opening, and will offer several brews.
“Almost every one of those buildings has a story,” Aron said. “That’s what is so exciting about the neighborhood.”
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC