May 27, 2014

Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill opens in Overland Park

Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill offers made-to-order burritos, tacos and enchiladas. Updates for the Olathe’s Great Mall and Metcalf South’s Topsy’s Popcorn.

Overland Park’s new Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill was an idea that was first tossed around a decade ago by two local, longtime restaurateurs.

Ed Gieselman is president of Jose Pepper’s Restaurants LLC, which was founded in 1988. The company has a dozen Jose Pepper’s restaurants and one Cactus Grill in Kansas and Missouri.

Ed Brownell became a partner in Bagel & Bagel three years after it was founded. Bagel & Bagel later joined with two other regional bagel restaurant companies to form the national Einstein Bros. Bagels chain. After leaving Einstein, he consulted with the Jose Pepper’s group.

One day Brownell told Gieselman about an upscale fast-casual Mexican concept he wanted to start. But before the talk turned to plans, Brownell went into partnership on Spin Neapolitan Pizza with his former Bagel & Bagel partners.

In 2013, Brownell and Gieselman got back together on the Tortilla Ranch concept — freshly made, high-quality products served in a high-end environment. They opened the restaurant on May 19 in the Executive Hills Shops at 8617 College Blvd.

Under the fast-casual concept, customers order, pay and pick up their food and drinks at the counter.

Tortilla Ranch specializes in made-to-order burritos, enchiladas and Ranch Tacos (their version of street tacos). Drinks include freshly made margaritas, bottled beers and Horchata (a traditional Mexican beverage). It also serves breakfast tacos, burritos and quesadillas.

Tortillas are made at the counter. Then customers select from a variety of ingredients.

Proteins: slow braised pulled pork, fire roasted shredded chicken, fire grilled chicken, grilled steak, chile braised choice Black Angus, and vegetarian with fajita-styled sauteed vegetable salsas.

Sauces: ranchero cream, red chile, chile verde or sweet chile

Salsas: pice de gallo, roasted tomato, fire tomatillo or corn salsa.

Other ingredients or sides include guacamole, black or pinto beans, and cilantro lime rice. It also serves tortilla soup, tres leche cake and key lime pie.

“We liked the proximity to Corporate Woods. It’s a great lunch area and yet-to-be-determined whether we can do dinner business. But I think we can. There are plenty of rooftops,” Brownell said.

The dining room seats 60 and the outdoor patio seats 30.

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

Both Brownell and Gieselman are multi-unit operators but they don’t have set plans for additional Tortilla Ranch locations — yet.

“The goal is to see if we can create a concept that people like and we can maintain the freshness of the food,” Brownell said.

New children’s boutique for Olathe’s Great Mall

Black Tie Affair Children’s Wear, a locally owned boutique specializing in dress and formal wear for children from infants to 16-years-old, is now open in Olathe’s Great Mall of the Great Plains at 20217 W. 151st St., (near the Burlington Coat Factory). It will have a grand opening on Saturday and Sunday. Items include Christening outfits, boys’ suits and tuxedos, and dresses for flower girls, pageants, baptisms and parties, as well as dress shoes and accessories.

Quick bite

Topsy’s Popcorn has been on the first floor of Metcalf South Shopping Center — at 9635 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park — since the mall opened in 1967. While Topsy’s is scheduled to close on July 3rd to make way the shopping center’s redevelopment, it is in negotiations to take a spot just across Metcalf Avenue. If the deal is completed, Topsy’s could reopen in the new location in early July.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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