James Beard award-winning chef Michael Smith will be a partner in a new Overland Park restaurant, Coco Bolos Wood Fired Grill Cantina.
The restaurant will have 4,000 square feet of space with outdoor patio and is scheduled to open in the new Prairiefire development in May.
Coco Bolos was founded 13 years ago in Manhattan, Kan., and built up a loyal following from Kansas State University.
It is known for its Southwestern and New Mexican cuisine.
Menu items include the Tijuana Trainwreck (baked layers of corn tortillas, machaca chicken, chile verde, chili con carne, beans and Monterey jack cheese, roasted corn and sour cream), Evil Desert Chicken (blackened chicken breast over grilled potatoes with caramelized peppers and onions, Monterey jack cheese, sauteed vegetables and salsa del fuego) and the al fresca salad (grilled chicken, smoked shrimp, pico de gallo, guacamole, black olives, sprouts, queso fresca and jalapeno ranch on fresh field greens).
Those popular items will remain on the Overland Park menu, and Smith plans to add some selections.
“New, contemporary versions of old classics — some interesting tacos, some interesting nachos,” Smith said. “When you walk in it will look like it’s going to be fun. But a little bit more upscale and a little bit more refined because it will be in Prairiefire.”
Coco Bolos will offer dine-in, carry-out, delivery and catering services.
Merrill Cos. is the developer of Prairiefire, an upscale mixed-use center on 58 acres south of 135th Street between Lamar and Nall avenues.
Coco Bolos opened a south Leawood location in mid-2006 in another Merrill Cos. development, Ironhorse Centre, but that restaurant closed in early 2008. But residential development had yet to build up in that area, and construction had blocked off a main artery to the restaurant.
After the restaurant closed Merrill kept the rights to open more Coco Bolos.
REI and the Fresh Market, a specialty grocery store, recently opened in the center.
Tenants opening in spring 2014 include Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates, Pinstripes Bowling/Bocce/Bistro, Cinetopia, Rock Brews, Paradise Diner, Newport Grill and Wasabi Sushi.
Prairiefire also is holding traveling exhibitions through a collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.More Smoothie Kings?
Smoothie King is looking for some area franchisees.
The New Orleans-based chain is focusing on Kansas City and wants franchisees who will open 25 units here in the next five years.
Corporate officials will be in Kansas City on Friday to meet with potential franchisees during one of its “Discovery Day” events. For more information on the event or to register, call 800-577-4200.
The company also wants to expand in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, as well as Oklahoma and Texas, and internationally.
The first Smoothie King opened in 1973, and the first local shop opened in 2000. There are now two locations in Overland Park, one in the Northland and one in south Kansas City, as well as two more under development.