Lenexa’s new food hall signs The Roasterie, in talks with four other local tenants

Lenexa Public Market, a food hall, is now under construction on the first floor of the new Lenexa City Hall.
Lenexa Public Market, a food hall, is now under construction on the first floor of the new Lenexa City Hall.

Lenexa Public Market, a food hall, market and demonstration kitchen going into the first floor of the new Lenexa City Hall, will have a decidedly local flavor.

It has signed its first tenant, The Roasterie, and is in negotiations with locally owned Foo’s Fabulous Cafe and Topp’d Pizza + Salads, as well as new concepts by Martin City Brewing Co. and Mad Man’s KC BBQ.

The 11,000-square-foot market is under construction at 87th Street Parkway and Penrose Lane, just west of Interstate 435. A late July opening is scheduled.

“There’s a great market out there in terms of the entire neighborhood, under-served. There’s great leadership across the board from the city,” said Danny O’Neill, founder of the Roasterie. “We’re going to like doing business with them and the other tenants.”

After popping up on the coasts, food halls are spreading to metropolitan areas across the country — Austin, Dallas, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Birmingham, Ala. Dubbed “fancy food courts” they try to become destination locations for communal drinking and dining for their surrounding neighborhoods, according to industry sources.

Other local entrepreneurs are in negotiations to open in the Lenexa Public Market:

▪ Foo’s Fabulous Cafe. The Leawood Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard franchisee recently rebranded as Foo’s Fabulous Cafe offering waffles and breakfast sandwiches in the morning, and soups, sandwiches, gourmet burgers and frozen custard later in the day.

“So many entrepreneurs are going there and we are going to be working with them to promote each other’s business,” said Jeff Stottle, owner of Foo’s Fabulous Cafe. “It’s unlike anything else in the Midwest. I’ve been to some on the coasts, they are so vibrant. We are excited to be a part of it.”

▪ Topp’d Pizza + Salads. Chad Talbott, 33, Shawnee Mission Northwest graduate, was a 15-year pizza restaurant veteran when he opened his first Topp’d Pizza + Salads by the University of Kansas Medical Center two years ago.

“The City of Lenexa is kind of pitching in to make it happen. Not all landlords want to work with a local tenant, Kansas City natives,” Talbott said. “They were being very particular about what they were putting in there. ‘What can you bring to the table?’ It’s going to be huge once it gets up and off the ground.”

He also is looking to collaborate with other food hall tenants, perhaps using one of their specialty cheeses or meats in one of his pizzas.

▪ Matt Moore and Chancie Adams of Martin City Brewing Co., plan to open a new concept, Lenexa Locale, in the food hall. Lenexa Locale will be a full-service bar offering local beer and wine, as well as craft cocktails and spirits. They opened Martin City Brewing Co. restaurant and bar in 2011 and added the brewery in 2014.

▪ Adam “A.J.” Mendenhall of Madman’s KC BBQ also plans a new concept, Marilyn’s Mad Treats, a dessert bar and soda fountain named after his daughter, according to officials with Lenexa Public Market. It will feature baked desserts, custom-made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, sodas made with house syrups, as well as several non-dessert items. Mendenhall did not return phone calls.

Lenexa Public Market will be an indoor public marketplace on the lower level of a 70,000-square-foot building housing Lenexa’s new city hall and a soon-to-be-announced higher-education tenant. It will eventually have about 15 permanent merchant tenants with space available for pop-ups. About 85 percent of the market will be devoted to food, beverages and restaurants, with other merchants offering handcrafted products.

It also will include a common area and outdoor seating, an events space and a demonstration kitchen on a mezzanine overlooking the food court. An outdoor farmers market is scheduled to open in spring 2018.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC