Austin-based Chuy’s restaurant coming to the Country Club Plaza

05/29/2013 12:34 PM

05/29/2013 1:10 PM

Chuy’s, an Austin, Texas-based restaurant chain, is coming to the Country Club Plaza.

The chain, which offers Tex Mex-inspired cuisine, is scheduling a Sept. 24 opening in the former spot of Figlio The Italian Restaurant & Bar, at 209 W. 46th Terrace.

Ashley Ingle, spokeswoman for Chuy’s, said the chain has been looking in the Kansas City area for about a year. The restaurants attract a wide demographic but they needed a location with “decent parking and lots of traffic.”

“Fans of Chuy’s wanted us here,” Ingle said.

Mike Young and John Zapp opened the first Chuy’s in 1982 in an abandoned Texas barbecue joint. They had only a few dollars left to spend on decor and that went to a roadside vendor of velvet Stevie Wonder and Elvis paintings, along withold hubcaps to put on the ceilings. Customers would then bring them Elvis memorabilia and they created a Elvis shrine.

The menu features items made-from-scratch on-site: roasted, hand-pulled chicken, Anaheim peppers fire-roasted daily for hand-stuffed Chile Rellenos, and 10 signature sauces made daily including a customer favorite called creamy jalapeno.

Recipes come from families and ranch hands in South Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns.

Signature dishes include the Chuy’s Special with house-made blue corn tortillas stacked with freshly-roasted hand-pulled chicken, cheese and tomatillo sauce and topped with sour cream; the Steak Burrito with house-made four tortilla stuffed with sliced grilled steak and cheese and topped with spicy Hatch Green Chile sauce; and the Tortilla Soup with house-made chicken broth, freshly roasted hand-pulled chicken, avocado, roasted corn, green chiles, tomato and cilantro and topped with cheese and tortilla strips.

Chuy’s has been expanding since 2006, moving out from Texas into states that are familiar with Tex Mex cuisine. It now has 43 full-service restaurants in 10 states and may open more than one restaurant in the Kansas City market.

Each location has a unique decor but with some standard items -- an Elvis shrine, hubcap room, and hand carved wooden fish hanging by fishing wire that runs from the hostess stand to the bar -- all made by the Juarez family in Mexico.

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