July 22, 2014

Brothers expand reach with Dickey’s Barbecue in Liberty

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is now open in Liberty, and the area franchisee is already planning another restaurant in Wichita. In other developments, Crows Coffee opens near UMKC. Slim Chickens plans Independence location.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is now open in Liberty, and the area franchisee is already planning another restaurant in Wichita.

After a major remodeling, the new Liberty operation opened in a former Arby’s building with a drive-through at 600 S. Missouri 291.

Brothers Ryan and Eric Wenrich also own the Lee’s Summit Dickey’s and one in Topeka, and plan to open their fourth location in Wichita this fall.

Dickey’s was founded in Dallas in 1941, focusing on hickory-smoked meats. It started franchising in 1994 and now has 431 restaurants in 43 states. It hopes to open six more restaurants in the next couple of weeks with a goal of 500 restaurants by the end of the year.

It still smokes meats on-site at each restaurant — beef brisket, pulled pork, Polish sausage, spicy cheddar sausage, ribs, ham, turkey breast and chicken. Sides include jalapeno beans, macaroni and cheese, green beans with bacon, baked-potato casserole, fried okra, salads and waffle-iron fries.

Dickey’s also has locations in Kansas City and Overland Park that are owned by other area franchisees.

Crows Coffee opens near UMKC

Zach Moores made a good living but was miserable spending months on the road and long days working as a catastrophe claims adjuster. While on the road he would seek solace at coffee shops. Then in late 2012 he just up and quit that career without a backup plan.

“I didn’t really know how miserable I was until I quit. I made $4,000 in 2013, the least amount of money I ever made in my adult life, but I also was the happiest,” he said.

His father had owned and operated a Waldo coffee shop for a few months about two decades ago, mostly as “therapy,” Moores said.

“I love people who come into coffee shops. They seem to like to socialize, and I do, too,” he said.

So he took over part of the Pride Cleaners space on 51st Street, by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, spending the last six months converting it into a coffee shop. He even exposed an original brick wall for a space that is “nothing too rough, nothing too fancy,” he said.

Crows Coffee, 304 E. 51st St., which held its grand opening Saturday, sells coffee by local roaster Messenger Coffee Co., including iced and blended coffees, and locally made pastries and baked goods by Chelsea’s Bakehaus. Because it is by the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail (and because Moores is a runner and cyclist), he also plans to offer smoothies.

The shop has a crow theme, since crows are a favorite of Moores. A friend donated a crow-theme tapestry for the entryway. A stuffed crow and a wooden crow stand watch over the door leading to the restrooms, and another customer has promised a donation of crow paraphernalia to add to the decor.

“They are iconic, edgy, and they are black, like coffee,” Moores said.

Quick bite

Slim Chickens of Fayetteville, Ark., is in expansion mode and is targeting the Kansas City area.

A new area franchisee, Robert Ghyczy, has relocated from California to Overland Park and plans six locations. His first restaurant is scheduled to open in early November at 4641 S. Cochise Court in Independence.

“I have three daughters, and they love chicken, especially chicken tenders,” Ghyczy said. “Slim Chickens always hand-batters its chicken to order. It’s never frozen, and they use only the tenderloin of the breast. Even the sauces are made in-house.”

Slim Chickens was founded in 2003 and now has more than a dozen restaurants. It expects to have more than 600 open in 10 years.

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