Kansas’ hottest concept and restaurateur of the year got their starts in KC metro

The Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association honored its “Stars of the Industry” on Monday — and two of the big winners have KC connections.

Chicken N Pickle, with its first location in North Kansas City, won “Hot New Concept.” And Kevin Timmons, co-founder and partner of Nick and Jake’s, was named “Restaurateur of the Year.”

In the concept category, Chicken N Pickle was going up against local nominees Q39 and Freestyle Poke, as well as other contenders from Topeka and Wichita.

Chicken N Pickle offers indoor and outdoor pickleball courts, beer garden with concession stand, restaurant serving wood-fired rotisserie chicken, lawn games and fire pits.

It first opened in North Kansas City in mid-2016. It also has a location in Wichita and is expanding to Overland Park, San Antonio, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 2020.

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Nick and Jake’s has locations in Overland Park, Parkville and south of the Country Club Plaza. A new location opened in Shawnee in April.

Timmons said ‘“there were a lot of awesome people nominated so it felt good to win.”

Nick and Jake’s has long been known for giving back to the community. Its Nick and Jake’s “Fore the Kids” golf tournament has raised $2.7 million for Children’s Mercy Hospital in the last nine years.

And Nick and Jake’s recently funded the Nick Timmons Endowed Professorship in Developmental and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Mercy. Timmons’ son Nick, who was a namesake of the restaurant, committed suicide in 2017 at the age of 22.

“I think we are great restaurant neighbors,” Kevin Timmons said. “We don’t spend a lot on advertising, we put it back into the community — churches, schools — to try to make things better.”

He also thanked his employees for their energy and consistency.

“They have helped make Nick and Jake’s that friendly, hospitable, neighborhood restaurant,” Timmons said.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.