Rob Magee spent three decades working in food and beverage for top area hotels. But on the side, he entered and won barbecue championships across the country.
Now he’s ready to showcase his passion in a new barbecue restaurant called Q39, scheduled to open in early April.
Magee took over the former Oriental Feast spot — at 1000 W. 39th St., just west of Southwest Trafficway — last summer. He’s gutted the 5,623-square-foot space and will reopen it with an “urban rustic” feel with brick, exposed ceilings, stained concrete floors, distressed wood and an open kitchen with smoker and wood-fired grill, a look designed by Arizona-based Realm Architecture + Design, (which also did the designs for BRGR Kitchen + Bar and Gram Dun).
Barn doors will open to a private dining area in back. It also will have a separate to-go area with its own entrance. A garage door in front can be raised during nicer weather.
The full-service bar will feature original cocktails and select craft beers and wines.
Magee and his wife, Kelly, along with their competitive team, Munchin’ Hogs, have won numerous first-place awards for barbecue competitions across the country. They were entering as many as 40 competitions annually before starting work on the restaurant.
The Q39 scratch kitchen menu will feature soups and salads, sandwich plates, “competition” barbecue plates (prepared with the same specifications used in the competitions), grill-fired brisket burgers (made from ground brisket, ground chuck and USDA certified Black Angus beef) and wood-fired grilled plates (featuring steak and seafood).
“Our goal is to bring barbecue up to the next level — full-service, competition barbecue, upgraded beer and wines,” he said. “I’m going to continue the same preparation and techniques that I used in the competitions at Q39.”Ward Parkway Center updates
rue21, a discount retailer of contemporary clothing for young men and women, plans to open in Ward Parkway Center.
The store is scheduling a May 15 opening in a 5,140-square-foot space in the center at 8600 Ward Parkway. It will be next to Garry Gribble’s Running Sports.
The company said the “rue” in its name comes from the French word for “street” while the “21” embodies “the age that everyone wants to be.”
rue21, which is based in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa., has about 1,000 stores in 47 states, including area stores in Independence and Blue Springs. Inventory includes lingerie, yoga wear, shoes and accessories, fragrance and beauty, and swimwear.
In other Ward Parkway Center updates, Elite Nail is expanding its shop with work scheduled to be completed in April.Cinder Block Brewery adds cider
When Bryce Schaffter wanted to start brewing beer in his Northland home six years ago, he had to make a deal with his wife. He would also make cider, one of her favorite drinks.
When he opened North Kansas City’s Cinder Block Brewery at 110 E. 18th Ave. in late September 2013, his wife had a similar “mandate.”
“She said, ‘You’re going to make cider, right?’ I told her that it was a lot of work to make both beer and cider,” he said. “Then she said, ‘You’re going to make cider, right?”
So six months after opening, Cinder Block Brewery now has two ciders on tap.
Cider Block (French) is described as having “bright, fresh apple flavors and aromas from the local Missouri apples used to make it. It starts with a fresh apple flavor and finishes with a sweet but balanced tartness.”
Cider Block (cherry) also is a French style but it is described as finishing with the tartness of a dark Oregon cherry.
“You hear a lot about craft beers but this was an opportunity to give craft ciders some exposure,” Schaffter said. “Cider has a lot attributes similar to creating wine — the apple selection, the blending, using different apple varieties. We are really proud that we were able to use a lot of local apples.”
Next up will be an English-style pub cider. Cinder Block also is aging cider in 10-year-old brandy barrels that could be ready in six months.
“It’s a taste-as-you-go thing,” Schaffter said.Quick bites
• A new North Kansas City restaurant is turning away people as it prepares to open.
The hungry consumers are looking for Kansas City SmokeShack BBQ, which recently closed in the spot at 900 Swift Ave., less than a year after opening.
Now Paul and Ybel Davalos plan to openEl Burrito Loco Mexican Cafe
in the building by early April.
They are still working on the menu but it will include burritos, tacos, quesadillas, Mexican-style panini, chicken wings and tenders, and seafood.
It also will make use of the former barbecue’s smoker to smoke its chicken, pork and brisket to use in the dishes.
“Traditional Mexican dishes and traditional Cuban styled foods as well. Our chef is from Cuba and is well seasoned in Latino-styled foods,” said Paul Davalos. “We’ll have fried green banana that to me tastes like french fries. We are thinking outside the box.”
The Big Rip Brewing Co.
at 216 E. Ninth Ave., also is a tenant of the building and the two businesses plan some cross promotions.
The Big Rip, which will be a year old on May 17, also is expanding.
It is going from a two-barrel system (64 gallons) to a four-barrel system (128 gallons).
Even though it is only open on the weekends it would still sometimes run out of beer. The bigger system will allow it to expand hours this summer and have more beer on tap, as well as more beer to take to festivals.
It also plans to add a beer garden in April.