Colorado’s Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is coming to the Plaza area

03/13/2014 7:27 PM

03/13/2014 7:27 PM

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar was founded two decades ago to bring the freshest seafood from the coasts to Boulder, Colo.

Now it will do the same for Kansas City.

The Colorado-based restaurant company has picked the new Plaza Vista development near the Country Club Plaza for its first restaurant outside its home state.

It is taking 5,200 square feet on the Roanoke Road side of the Polsinelli law firm building, which is in the Plaza Vista complex at 900 W. 48th Place. An August opening is scheduled.

The first Jax opened in Boulder in 1994, and there are now four locations in Colorado. It was named one of the best seafood restaurants in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure magazine in 2012.

The Colorado restaurants feature these items, and a similar menu is planned for the Kansas City restaurant:

• A “raw bar” with a variety of fresh shucked oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, a trio of crab and chilled seafood samplers (Alaskan king crab, Maine lobsters, shrimp, mussels and oysters).

• Entree salads, fish with root vegetable chips, charbroiled mahi-mahi, shrimp and crawfish gumbo, sandwiches like the Maine lobster roll and fried shrimp po’boy, and pasta carbonara.

• Specialty wines, craft beers and cocktails, including “housemade sodas” like the Jax Mule (Russian vodka and ginger beer), seasonal drinks like the Peg Leg (superior rum, grapefruit, cinnamon and lime) and after-dinner spirits.

• Desserts such as bourbon milk and chocolate chip cookies, pineapple upside down crepes and root beer floats.

A happy hour menu runs from 4 to 6 p.m. daily and features drinks like oyster shooters (East Coast oyster, vodka and bloody mary mix) and strawberry lemonade (house-infused strawberry vodka and lemonade), along with calamari, gumbo fries (aged white cheddar and andouille) and salmon pâté.

The local restaurant will have about 80 employees.

Jax’s parent company, Big Red F Restaurant Group, also owns and operates several restaurant concepts in Colorado. It was looking at other cities to expand, including Chicago and St. Louis.

“When we told people we were considering Kansas City, they said, ‘Well, of course you are going to the Plaza, right?’ ” said Adam Reed, executive manager of Jax Fish House. “We loved the space, love the relationship we are building with Polsinelli, love the feel of the Plaza and loved so many people we met when we were dining around town. They seem really excited about oysters and seafood.”

David Harrison, president of VanTrust Real Estate LLC, developers of Plaza Vista, said several restaurant groups were looking at the Jax site. But after he visited with Big Red F and their restaurants, he was sold on Jax and the people behind it.

“They are such a phenomenal restaurant group and culture. And it’s new to the market,” Harrison said. “We didn’t want some cookie-cutter thing. We just really wanted a unique restaurant.”

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