The owners of JJ’s restaurant aren’t calling it a reopening, simply a return.
The West Plaza restaurant is scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Wednesday in its new spot at 900 W. 48th Place. It is less than a block from its original location where a February 2013 natural gas explosion leveled the 27-year-old restaurant and killed server Megan Cramer.
JJ’s owners — brothers Jimmy and David Frantze — have spent nearly a year recreating the “rustic old world influence” of the original restaurant in a 5,000-square-foot lobby space of the new 10-story Polsinelli Building. JJ’s also will have a 1,600-square-foot patio along Roanoke Parkway.
The bar and dining room are still separate and new paintings by local artist Mike Savage are still focal points throughout the space, just as they were at the original restaurant.
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The dinner menu — featuring upscale, Italian and Napa-inspired contemporary cuisine — will be the same.
But JJ’s new executive chef T.J. Stack, formerly of the Savoy Grill, plans to offer some new lunch items — from quicker dishes such as a Cuban sandwich, Texas wild boar ragu over fettuccine, and a yogurt parfait with house-made granola to a mix of steaks and other special-occasion lunch offerings.
Much of the restaurant’s award-winning wine holdings were stored off-site, so some of its prized older vintages (some as old as 1947) will be available. Most of the losses were in French wines from the Rhône Valley, as well as some Italian Barolos and some German wines.
More than 90 percent of JJ's 35 former employees also are returning, considering themselves part of “JJ’s family.”
The Polsinelli law firm is in the Plaza Vista — the renamed development project formerly known as the West Edge, across the street from JJ's original location. Polsinelli moved its headquarters, and 450 of its employees, to the 10-story tower.
Financial services firm Waddell & Reed also has moved into the lobby level with a 15-person branch office. Also part of the development is the new 132-room Hotel Sorella and Colorado-based Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar.
JJ’s will be open for lunch at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner will start at 5 p.m. daily. The bar will offer happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. JJ’s will open at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for cocktails.
JJ's opened in 1985 at 910 W. 48th St., a couple of blocks outside the Country Club Plaza's western edge. It built a loyal following for its upscale menu, award-winning wine list and lively bar, which overlooked an elegant restaurant.
A corner facade of the original JJ's remains. Jimmy Frantze declined to comment on plans for the site.
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Kansas City Mayor Sly James will hold a fundraiser for Turn the Page on Wednesday night at the new JJ’s. For more information, visit turnthepagekc.org.