First Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill to open in Overland Park

01/27/2014 5:38 PM

01/28/2014 6:15 PM

Ed Gieselman and Ed Brownell, longtime area restaurateurs, are teaming up on a new dining theme in Overland Park.

Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill is to open in April in Executive Hills Shops at 8617 College Blvd.

Gieselman is president of Jose Pepper’s Restaurants LLC, which was founded nearly 26 years ago. The company has a dozen Jose Pepper’s restaurants and one Cactus Grill in Kansas and Missouri.

Brownell became a partner in Bagel Bagel three years after it was founded. Bagel Bagel later joined with two other regional bagel restaurant chains to form the national Einstein Bros Bagels.

Brownell first started talking to Gieselman about the Tortilla Ranch concept a decade ago. But then he went into partnership on Spin Neapolitan Pizza. Spin now has six area locations and also is opening franchise operations in California.

Now Gieselman and Brownell are ready to open their first Tortilla Ranch.

At Tortilla Ranch, customers will order, pay and pick up their food and drinks at the counter. But the dining room will be a bit more upscale than fast-food operations.

It will specialize in burrito platters with sides of rice and beans, along with ranch tacos (their version of street tacos), nachos and quesadillas, margaritas and bottled beers. It also will serve breakfast tacos.

“Our focus is going to be on freshly made, high-quality products served in a great high-end environment,” Brownell said.

Hours are tentatively set for 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Stack BBQ space for lease

The Stack BBQ went dark recently with little notice.

Now George Bukaty and Susan Scott of Greg Patterson Associates are looking for a new restaurant owner to lease the 3,800-square-foot space at 8920 Wornall Road.

The Stack’s operators “just kind of walked away. So everything is still there. The built-in stuff is going to stay for sure,” Bukaty said. “There is a nice front restaurant room and an equally large banquet room in back and a built-in smoker.”

Smokestack BBQ had previously operated in the space. After it closed, one of its longtime employees partnered with a best friend from childhood who also had worked at Smokestack during the summers. Together they opened The Stack BBQ in early 2012.

The Stack partners couldn’t be reached for comment.

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