Kansas City’s culinary soulmates – barbecue and beer – are headed to the Power & Light District next spring in the form of a new locally owned restaurant.
County Line Ice House will open in the former Gordon Biersch space, serving a full menu of smoked meats from Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, in addition to burgers and tacos. Back Napkin Restaurant Group, which owns Westport Ale House, The Rockhill Grille and the soon-to-open Parkway: Social Kitchen, will provide the bar service (and the ice-cold beer).
These two dynamic local concepts, each with multiple restaurants in Kansas City, have come together to bring an entirely new concept to the bustling downtown corridor. This new space will give locals and tourists alike a chance to sample one of Kansas City’s finest barbecue joints while being within walking distance of the Convention Center, Sprint Center or their office, hotel or apartment.
“We’re thrilled to be introducing the ice-house concept to Kansas City,” Jeff Stehney, founder and owner of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, said in a release. “In Texas, where the ice-house tradition originated, these were public places where friends and neighbors came together to relax and enjoy some good food and music, usually with big outdoor seating areas. We want to replicate that experience here in our hometown.”
Zach Marten, co-founder of Back Napkin Restaurant Group, echoed that sentiment. “In the South, ice houses have been around for a long time – big spaces where people gather to kick back, laugh and talk, and drink some beer,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to bring this concept to Kansas City.”
County Line Ice House is owned and operated by a newly formed Missouri-based LLC. The principals are Jeff and Joy Stehney of Joe’s Kansas City and Zach Marten and Bret Springs of Back Napkin, as well as Ryan Barrows and Cary Taylor of Joe’s Kansas City.
Taylor, currently Joe's director of culinary development, will oversee culinary operations and menu development at County Line Ice House. Before joining Joe’s Kansas City in 2015, he was chef de cuisine at Big Star and executive chef at The Southern, both in Chicago.
“One of our primary goals in managing the Power & Light District is making sure that downtown is not only a place Kansas City can be proud of but also a place that reflects what makes Kansas City great,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Kansas City Power & Light District. “With that in mind, we couldn’t be more excited to announce the addition of County Line Ice House to the District. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is one of Kansas City’s most impressive local businesses – a reason people visit Kansas City and a reason people love living in Kansas City. We know this collaboration between Joe’s and the locally owned Back Napkin Restaurant Group will have a similar impact, and we are all anxiously awaiting our first meal there early next year.”
But the biggest news of all? County Line Ice House will be the only place in Kansas City that will offer Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que on Sundays. Hallelujah.
County Line Ice House, 100 E. 14th St., Power & Light District, Kansas City, Missouri