Q39 barbecue is opening in Overland Park and expanding on 39th Street

A rendering of the upcoming Q39 in Overland Park.
A rendering of the upcoming Q39 in Overland Park.

Just two years after opening on 39th Street’s restaurant row, Q39 is expanding.

Owner Rob Magee has purchased the former Hayward’s Pit Bar-B-Que building and land at 11051 Antioch Road in Overland Park. After a major interior and exterior renovation, including new landscaping and a new parking lot, he plans to open a Q39 barbecue restaurant there in spring 2017.

Arizona-based Realm Architecture + Design designed the original location and also will design the new 7,100-square-foot restaurant with a similar urban-rustic decor.

The dining room will seat more than 200 people. It will also have a full-service patio seating up to 104 people on the north side, a private dining space for up to 25 people and a full-service bar seating up to 20. Like the 39th Street location, the Overland Park restaurant will have a large to-go area, but it will be double in size.

With the surrounding offices, hotels and residential area, as well as easy access off Interstate 435, Magee said he “couldn’t ask for a better demographic.”

Magee also is expanding the original location. He is taking over a 1,100-square-foot space to the east of the restaurant at 1000 W. 39th St. Construction is scheduled to begin in late summer and finish by early fall for a November opening.

The new space will seat 48 people and include a large two-level deck and an indoor/outdoor bar separated by garage doors and covered by a waterproof pergola. The 40 outdoor seats will be available for full-service dining during warmer weather.

Magee said the expansion will allow for more private functions, as well as more seating to reduce wait times for dine-in customers.

“It’s not to bring in more people. We want to make sure we take care of our current clientele,” he said.

[Dining guide: 54 new restaurants in the KC area]

Magee, who has a degree from the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America, spent three decades working in food and beverage for top area hotels. But on the side, Magee and his wife, Kelly, along with their competitive team, Munchin’ Hogs, won first-place awards for barbecue competitions across the country. They entered as many as 40 events annually.

His longtime goal was to offer the same “competition level” barbecue to the public, but in a full-service restaurant with upgraded beers, wines and specialty cocktails. So in mid-2013, he leased a 5,623-square-foot former Asian restaurant space and spent months renovating it for his first Q39 restaurant. It opened in April 2014, just west of Southwest Trafficway.

[2014 restaurant review: Competition barbecue wins at Westport’s Q39]

The urban-rustic decor features brick, exposed ceilings, stained concrete floors and distressed wood, along with an open kitchen. Barn doors open to a private dining area seating up to 48 people (dubbed the Blue Ribbon Room). Some of the team’s other awards are on display in the main dining room.

The scratch kitchen offers traditional barbecue items along with innovative ones.

Classics include certified Black Angus beef brisket, spare ribs, and smoked and chargrilled chicken.

Some of the more innovative items include the popular wood-fired grilled salmon salad with housemade balsamic herb dressing, the Ball Park Pork (with pulled pork, white cheddar cheese, pickles and yellow mustard on a pretzel bun), and the Burnt End Burger (topped with sliced burnt ends, spicy pickle slaw and classic sauce).

Sides include the gluten-free white bean cassoulet (sausage, onion, tomato and thyme). Magee also sells some of his sauces and rubs.

Magee had long planned on having three area restaurants before expanding to other cities. He plans to open a Northland location on Missouri 152 near Liberty for 2020.

New owners relocated Hayward’s Pit Bar-B-Que to Lenexa.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC

Q39’s keys to success

From Rob Magee, founder of Q39:

1. A good, clean environment. He recently replaced the china and added two new smokers and an additional 24-foot cooler.

2. Good, made-from-scratch food. “Our brisket is sliced fresh per order. There are no microwaves, no cooking ahead of time. That’s not how we roll,” Magee said. And the restaurant constantly checks reviews on Yelp, Google Maps, TripAdvisor and other sites. One customer had complained that the Tall Grass Cheese Fondue had “gritty” cheese. So Magee and his staff tweaked the recipe and haven’t had another complaint.

3. Open kitchen for “food entertainment.”

4. Really good service. In its two years, Q39 has gone from 35 employees to 95. “You adjust your staff levels as your business increases,” Magee said. “What is super important is that you hire people with the skill set that can handle the increased business, that can maintain the quality of food like you started with.”