Ward Parkway Center announces restaurants for its new $16 million district

A rendering of the “south end restaurant district” at Ward Parkway Center.
A rendering of the “south end restaurant district” at Ward Parkway Center.

Ward Parkway Center will break ground Thursday on its new $16 million “south end restaurant district” and announce four of five planned restaurant tenants.

Kansas City’s Legacy Development manages the property for owners Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers and is overseeing the development, scheduled to be complete in spring 2017.

It plans a 31,000-square-foot, U-shaped addition with five restaurant tenants and a 22,235-square-foot pedestrian plaza covered by a sunshade. The site, north of West 89th Street, formerly housed a Dillard’s department store and parking garage that were demolished in 2011.

Legacy Development is in final negotiations with four restaurant tenants:

▪ Charleston’s: A casual, full-service restaurant by Hal Smith Restaurants in Norman, Okla., that offers a “modestly priced menu” featuring traditional American classics prepared from scratch. Menu items include chicken fried steak, barbecue baby back ribs, catfish platter, hickory burger and chicken salad sandwiches.

The company has 16 locations, primarily in the Midwest. It would take a 7,000-square-foot space.

▪ The Garage: Another concept by Hal Smith Restaurant Group, The Garage specializes in burgers and fresh-cut fries. Menu items include bison, turkey or Angus beef burgers: one-third pound of ground protein “smashed” on the grill with a choice of white or wheat bun or a gluten-free lettuce wrap.

Among its specialty burgers are the Huevos Ranchero and The Sticky Finger (with peanut butter, bacon bits, sweet jalapeno relish and cheddar/Monterey jack cheese).

Other menu items include specialty tacos, “Fork & Knife Dogs” — one-third-pound, foot-long Nathan’s Famous hot dogs — along with salads and sandwiches including avocado melts.

It would take a 5,000-square-foot space.

Officials with Hal Smith Restaurants confirmed the negotiations.

▪ MidiCi: Certified pizzaiolos (pizza makers) create made-to-order Neapolitan-style pizzas using fresh ingredients in open, center-stage kitchens known as “the heart.” The wood-fired oven bakes them in 90 seconds.

Other menu items include antipasto (including house-marinated warm olives, mozzarella plates and house-made meatballs), fresh artisan burrata (fresh cheese made from a mix of mozzarella and cream), fresh salads, white and red wines on tap, draft imported beers and desserts like Italian gelato and its signature Nutella calzone.

It would take a 3,500-square-foot space.

MidiCi officials couldn’t be reached for comment. MidiCi is a sister company of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt.

▪ Ted’s Escondido Cafe: Mexican food with a Tex-Mex flair, prepared daily with fresh ingredients. The company is celebrating its 25th year in operation and Ward Parkway would be the 13th location and fourth in the Kansas City area. It also has locations in Lee’s Summit, Overland Park and the Northland.

Menu items include tacos, enchiladas and handmade tamales. Customers can watch employees making the fresh flour tortillas and each table is served complimentary warm chips, fresh salsa and warm cheese sauce as soon as people are seated. They also are offered a complimentary sopapilla for dessert.

It would take a 6,500-square-foot space.

Officials with Ted’s confirmed the negotiations.

Legacy Development is in talks for the fifth restaurant.

The new addition was announced in late 2015. The front facade will be made of wood, metal mesh and brick. It will have a metal canopy over the pedestrian plaza, which will include fountains, firepits and seating areas. All five restaurants also will have their own patios.

A sidewalk will be added in the right of way along West 89th Street and plans call for 32 short-term bicycle parking spaces. Eight long-term bicycle parking spaces are available in service areas on the east side of the building.

Legacy has already added 369 parking spaces and access off State Line Road and West 89th, as well as to the mall.

Work on the south side will add a ring road to the shopping center, allowing Ward Parkway shoppers to circumnavigate the entire mall without leaving the property, and a pedestrian bridge will allow access from the upper levels to the new restaurants.

Ward Parkway Center also counts Trader Joe’s, Target, AMC Parkway 14 Theaters and HomeGoods among its tenants. Discount department store chain Ross Dress for Less also plans a late summer opening in the former Dick’s Sporting Goods space.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC