Chow Town

JoyceKC: Black Dirt update and new midtown restaurants

The Blind Tiger is now open for lunch at 3945 Main St.
The Blind Tiger is now open for lunch at 3945 Main St. The Kansas City Star

The owners of Smithville’s Justus Drugstore restaurant have hit a couple of snags in their efforts to open a new restaurant south of the Country Club Plaza.

Chef Jonathan Justus and his wife, Camille Eklof, have been in negotiations to open Black Dirt at 5070 Main St., in the new 51 Main complex.

Black Dirt would be a moderately priced, modern American neighborhood restaurant. It would occupy a 4,965-square-foot corner space that would seat about 150 people.

But as of this week the funding partner is no longer involved, Justus said.

“We decided to go another direction and we are courting potential investors,” Justus said. “We have a great relationship with VanTrust and hope we can put a deal together for this great space that they have built.”

Justus said they also might not have the rights to the Black Dirt name because there is a New York distillery by that name.

51 Main is a mixed-use project that consists of 176 luxury apartments with about 8,400 square feet of retail on the first floor, but no leases have been signed for the retail spaces.

“We love Jonathan Justus and we are both hopeful and optimistic that he will find an operating partner,” said Rich Muller, executive vice president at VanTrust Real Estate. “We think he is a great fit and will add a lot to the neighborhood.”

▪ Blind Tiger, 3945 Main St., is now open for lunch and will add dinner service on July 24.

Owner Blake Lostal describes it as a 1920s-style speakeasy, restaurant and bar. Menu items include Chicken Cordon Bleu (which can be served as a sandwich, panini, wrap or salad), lamb pitas, grilled cheese sandwiches, Cubano sandwiches, and Reubens.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner will be served from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. It also has a game room.

The Kansas City Blind Tiger is not affiliated with The Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant in Topeka.

▪ Midtown’s Black & Gold Tavern dropped its sports bar theme and changed to a music venue called Vandals. Now it is changing again.

The owners of Kansas City’s Hamburger Mary’s plan to open Woody’s Classic Sports Pub in the spot at 3740 Broadway. Woody’s is described as an “old-school sports-themed pub for all open-minded sports fans,” offering “huge drinks and fresh, unique cuisine.” It is scheduled to open later this month.

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