Nick and Jake’s opens third restaurant south of the Plaza

Nick & Jake's now has a third location south of the Country Club Plaza at 5031 Main Street.
Nick & Jake's now has a third location south of the Country Club Plaza at 5031 Main Street. The Kansas City Star

The area’s third Nick and Jake’s was scheduled to open late last year, just south of the Country Club Plaza.

But once the owners got the keys to the circa-1926 building, they ditched their plans to just paint and polish. Instead, they made major structural changes that have taken months to complete.

They took out a wall that had been part of a vault to open up the dining area, and they put in an original 1940s billboard poster of actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr that had never been used.

They moved the bar back a foot to expand the customer area and added a granite bar top.

They discovered a wall of windows hidden behind the back of the bar on the south side. So they refurbished the windows to open up the space even more. They also redesigned and updated the second-floor event space, and added a kitchen to serve that area.

After all that work, Nick and Jake’s opened this month at 5031 Main St., in the former home of the Beacon/Jack Gage American Tavern. It is just across from the new 51 Main, a $50 million apartment project that will feature 176 luxury units. The first occupants are to move in this year.

Owners Kevin Timmons and Doug Watkins called Nick and Jake’s operations “neighborhood bar and grills.” The first Nick and Jake’s opened in Overland Park in mid-2001, followed by a Parkville location. But the owners had long had their eye on the neighborhood south of the Plaza. Larry Kime, previously with Bonefish Grill and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, also is a partner in the new restaurant.

Look for the window over the kitchen door with the words: “A man walked into a bar,” a reference to co-founder Timmons’ “joke a day” that he shares with staff and customers.

Nick and Jake’s menu includes soups and salads, specialty burgers, sandwiches and entrees like baby back ribs, grilled bourbon salmon, and short ribs with grits. Timmons points out two new menu items of note — seared gnocchi, and shrimp and noodles (sauteed shrimp with a coconut curry broth and fresh vegetables on Cantonese noodles).

Nick and Jake’s also offers weekday lunch and dinner specials, and the new location also is kicking off “The Daily Pig,” with more specials for lunch and dinner. For example, Tuesday’s lunch specials are steak salad and carnitas tacos; and for dinner a Chilean sea bass or a marinated pork shoulder with ranch beans and a radish salad.

It also has happy hour specials from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. weekdays. A Sunday brunch — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — is scheduled to start June 1.

The restaurants are named after Nick Timmons, son of Kevin Timmons, and Jake Watkins, son of Doug Watkins.

Arkansas chicken chain coming

Slim Chickens of Fayetteville, Ark., is in expansion mode and is targeting the Kansas City area.

The company has signed a franchisee for six area locations, with the first restaurant scheduled to open by November.

Slim Chickens was founded in 2003, and a year ago a longtime employee opened the company’s first franchised location in Little Rock, Ark.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC