Two years ago, the owners of Plowboys Barbeque began looking at sites for their third restaurant. They considered about 120 locations — in person or on paper.
But one stood out.
It had the office and residential density for lunch and evening traffic. It wasn’t too close to competitors and had plenty of parking. And a back alley offered more than enough space for two 3,500-pound smokers holding up to 1,500 pounds of meat, as well as wood piles.
So they signed a lease for the former Fritz’s Chili space at 6737 W. 75th St., Overland Park, as well as a space next door to the west. Fritz’s closed at the end of August.
After five to six months of renovations, they plan to open a 4,800-square-foot Plowboys Barbeque there by mid-April 2019.
“We’ve been in business five years now, in a town with 120 barbecues, and had some success. Now we are crossing the State Line,” said Todd Johns, partner in Plowboys with Todd Johnson. “So we’re starting a border war with ourselves.”
They said most fans don’t make a special trip just to eat at the downtown Plowboys and their Johnson County fans didn’t want to make the trek to Blue Springs too often.
Now they expect sales at the Overland Park location to exceed the total of the downtown and Blue Springs restaurants combined.
It will have cafeteria-style ordering where customers walk down a line selecting their menu items and watch as it is plated to order.
The menu will include Plowboys’ favorites such as their championship pulled pork and slow smoked brisket, their BBQ nachos (the best seller behind pork), ribs, burnt ends, turkey breasts and pulled chicken.
The restaurant will seat 120 inside and 47 on the patio. It will have designated parking for carry-out.
Plowboys first opened in 2013, in a former Wendy’s with a drive-thru just over a mile from Johns’ home. In the middle of the night sometimes, he would run over to do maintenance; his wife to manage catering orders. On holidays, he would be there at 2 a.m. to start smoking turkeys.
In 2015, the owners added a downtown location on the north side of the Town Pavilion and later relocated and expanded to the south side in October 2016.
“I think Kansas City wants to support locally owned and operated restaurants. I just wish people would celebrate them even more,” Johns said.
Johns said his sauces and rubs are selling in 1,000 outlets in seven countries on three continents and is “blowing up” in Australia, where he hopes to visit soon.
He also is scheduled to appear on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations on the Travel Channel, showcasing his burnt ends, on Oct. 23.
Meanwhile, the new owner of Fritz’s Chili is looking for a new location.