Jefferson’s restaurant to open in Olathe’s Ridgeview Plaza

Emerson Investment Partners LLC, Overland Park, will open its first area Jefferson’s restaurant.

Emerson is a new franchisee of the Nashville-based chain. It has signed a lease for the former Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza space in Ridgeview Plaza, 10540 S. Ridgeview Road, Olathe. An April opening is scheduled.

Emerson also plans two more area locations.

Jefferson “Jeff” Webb saw a need for a local hangout while a student at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala. After graduating, he sold his treasured baseball card collection and pooled funds with a loan from his parents to open the first Jefferson’s in mid-1991. Despite a small menu, the restaurant was a big hit, often selling out of its hot wings.

A Lawrence location opened in 2001, and that was to be the last.

But then people kept pestering the owners to franchise. Now there are two corporate restaurants and 16 franchise locations in Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois and Tennessee. Another franchise owned restaurant is scheduled to open in Alabama in April.

Jefferson’s is known for its wings and oysters, but the menu also includes specialty burgers, entree salads, chicken fingers and more.

Johnny Brusco’s closed in late 2013, according to the landlord.