Overland Park updates: Makeover for Ken-Taco-Hut, new pretzel place, BBQ opening delayed

Overland Park’s Ken-Taco-Hut is about to get a makeover.

After more than 25 years of operations, the 6,500-square-foot KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut complex, in Rosana Square at 7100 W. 119th St., temporarily shut down Saturday for a $2 million renovation. It is scheduled to reopen in 12 weeks with just the KFC and Taco Bell.

“It was a business decision not to carry on with the Pizza Hut. It didn’t have as much consumer demand and orders took longer to complete than the other concepts, especially with the dual drive-thru,” said Michelle Doebele, spokeswoman for KBP Foods in Overland Park.

KBP Foods will redo the facade with brick and distressed wood accents, and put in new landscaping and exterior lighting. The interior will have a contemporary design with lounge seating, Wi-Fi connectivity, a retail area selling KFC and Taco Bell merchandise, and Stubborn Soda, PepsiCo’s craft soda line.

KBP Foods plans to renovate 250 of its 450 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants in 20 states by 2020.

The Ken-Taco-Hut was referred to as the “all in one” in a 1992/1993 telephone directory.

Now open

Dan Wikiera grew up in Kansas City; his wife grew up in St. Louis where she introduced him to her local favorite Pretzel Boy’s.

They convinced the owners to let them open one here. Dan first trained at the St. Louis shops, then signed a licensing agreement that allows him to use the name and recipes, but with local vendors like Fritz’s Meats & Superior Sausage, and to set his own prices.

He opened Pretzel Boy’s at 9559 Nall Ave., Overland Park, in late April.

The shop offers freshly made plain pretzels, as well as pretzels wrapped around meat such as Fritz’s brats, Italian sausage, chicken Andouille and hot polish sausage, and then baked. It also has house-made dips and party trays, and can do custom-shaped pretzels.

But the plain hand-twisted pretzels are the most popular order, starting at $1.52 for one. Discounts are available for larger orders, including 55 cents a piece for orders of 100 or more.

“We’ve done a couple of wedding receptions where they have ordered a couple hundred,” Wikiera said.

Coming soon

Billy Sims Barbecue was set to launch its first area location on May 26, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

But then Overland Park officials had a look at the operation at 9222 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, and decided it needed a better ventilation system.

“There are two different ways to install the smoker and there was miscommunication on the contractor’s behalf. It is not the city’s fault, is our contractor’s fault really,” said Jeff Jackson, co-founder and franchisor. ”We’ll get there and go above and beyond.”

Now the soft opening has been pushed back to June 27. Billy Sims plans to be in town for the official grand opening on June 30 and July 1.

According to the city, Sims didn’t meet a 2012 building code requirement that required a hood system for internal smokers. The city was willing to grant a special use permit for a temporary external system.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC