Papa Keno’s Pizzeria plans expansion

01/21/2014 3:57 PM

01/21/2014 3:57 PM

The new owners of Papa Keno’s Pizzeria are in expansion mode.

Brandon Graham and Dave Bennett purchased the Lawrence restaurant from its founder two years ago and said they beefed up sales by as much as 50 percent since then.

“It’s a KU institution. A slice as big as your face, a true New York slice,” Graham said. “It was an opportunity to take over and breathe some life back into that particular restaurant, as well as the brand itself.”

They later purchased the downtown Overland Park restaurant at 7901 Santa Fe. Five months ago they purchased the rights to the Papa Keno’s name and concept.

Now they will open a Papa Keno’s in Topeka by early February and are scouting locations in the Kansas City metro for another area location.

They also recently sold the Overland Park location to chef Philippe Lechevin and Steve Robson under a licensing agreement that will soon be converted to a franchise agreement.

Lechevin, who also is executive chef at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, is already planning to bring a chef’s touch to the Papa Keno’s menu by using more ingredients from the nearby Farmers’ Market and introducing a new breakfast menu on Saturdays starting in April — in conjunction with the Farmers’ Market. Menu items could include cast iron skillet dishes, breakfast pizzas and a Bloody Mary bar.

“It is such an iconic location. It has been there for about 20 years and downtown Overland Park has such a great small town feel,” Lechevin said.

New rooftop deck for Maloneys

Maloneys Sports Bar Grill in downtown Overland Park is expanding.

The operation plans to open a new rooftop venue in mid-March, just in time for March Madness. Half of the roof will be enclosed with the other half open air.

Maloneys, at 7201 W. 79th St., opened in March 2003. The menu includes daily specials like Monday’s build-your-own pasta and Tuesday’s tacos, as well as meatball French bread, burgers and sandwiches, panzanella salad, specialty pizzas and meatball grinders.

New Hobby Lobby for Merriam

Ikea’s iconic blue panels are now up on the side of the building as it counts down to its fall opening. Meanwhile, other national retailers are coming on board, hoping to take advantage of the traffic Ikea will bring to the area.

Hobby Lobby wants to open a 55,000-square-foot store at 6001 Ikea Way, at Johnson Drive just south of QuikTrip.

Hobby Lobby also has stores just minutes away in Mission and Shawnee. Hobby Lobby officials did not return phone calls concerning those locations.

The developers also want to put a 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the site.

Reader question

What’s happening with the old Hy-Vee building on 91st street?

The former Hy-Vee at 6801 W. 91st St., Overland Park, might be converted into a StorageMart. If all goes as planned the 85,000-square-foot StorageMart would open in spring 2015.

StorageMart, based in Columbia, Mo., has 164 self-storage centers across the country and in Canada, including 16 currently open in the metro.

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