Starker’s Restaurant closes on the Country Club Plaza

09/30/2013 5:27 PM

10/01/2013 6:17 PM

The Country Club Plaza’s upscale Starker’s Restaurant has closed after more than four decades.

Dean Smith, general manager, said the restaurant closed Saturday night, but he declined to comment further. Two large moving vans were parked at the restaurant’s front door Monday morning.

The independently owned restaurant — overlooking the Plaza at the corner 47th Wyandotte streets — was founded in 1972 by Cliff Bath. He sold Starker’s to his executive chef John McClure in October 2006.

Starker’s had one of the region’s most extensive wine lists and received many awards from Wine Spectator Magazine. The menu included almond crusted rainbow trout and fresh ground steak burgers stuffed with brown sugar bacon and Shatto Milk Co.’s cheddar cheese curds, as well as a seasonal cuisine focusing on fresh, local ingredients.

McClure, a popular figure in the local restaurant community, was planning another restaurant in Westport. But in October 2011 he committed suicide.

Glenn Stephenson, vice president, Kansas City division, for Plaza landlord Highwoods Properties, issued this statement:

Starker’s closing was unexpected. It will truly be missed, yet we are committed to finding tenants and concepts that will continue to build upon the rich tradition we have here on the Country Club Plaza.”

Pizza chain coming

The Pizza Studio, a fast-casual restaurant chain based in Los Angeles, is coming to the Kansas City area.

The new PS Midwest Development LLC plans to open at least 20 of the restaurants in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas, including six or seven in the Kansas City metro. The first area restaurant is scheduled to open in early 2014.

A new Kansas City-based company, BRICK Restaurant Group Inc., is the parent company for PS Midwest Development, as well as for FB Midwest Development LLC. FB Midwest Development owns and operates seven area Freebirds World Burrito locations and plans to open 20 more in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Pizza Studio is a similar concept to Freebirds. Customers can select customized ingredients at the counter and get their order served quickly thanks to a 2-minute firing time for the pizzas.

The Pizza Studio also offers specialty pizzas.

The BRICK in BRICK Restaurant Group stands for the partners in the business, Bryce Katz and his father, Richard Katz.

Sports bar closes in 18th Vine district

About 18 months after opening in the 18th Vine Jazz District, The 9th Inning Sports Bar Grill has closed.

The owners issued a statement thanking their customers but blamed the closing on the “lack of full support from the community.” They couldn’t be reached for further comment.

The sports-themed venue was at 1512 E. 18th St., in the former Peachtree Restaurant space (Peachtree relocated). It had big-screen TVs, a mini Negro Leagues baseball museum, and entrees like Kansas City strip steak and fried chicken.

“I thought they had a good concept,” said Denise Gilmore, president and chief executive officer of the Jazz District Redevelopment Corp., landlord for the 6,000-square-foot space. She said it will soon be available for lease.

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