The return of Justus Drugstore and more KC food news for October 2022

A plate from Black Dirt, Chef Jonathan Justus' now-closed restaurant in the South Plaza. Justis is reviving his beloved Justus Drugstore next year/Photo by Zach Bauman
Method Man

Kansas City’s best barbecue will be available in a restaurant “before the end of the year,” as first reported here at Kansas City magazine.

Tyler Harp opened his pop-up in the back of Raytown’s Crane Brewing back in the spring of 2019 and has since twice topped our biannual survey of the city’s best pits.

Harp Barbecue will open a brick-and-mortar location in Raytown at 6633 Raytown Road, a former Mexican restaurant that was a longtime location of Lutfi’s Fried Fish before that. Harp hopes to be open in late November or early December. He’d searched the metro area before ending up at a space just about three hundred yards south of Crane Brewing, the site of his pop-up.

While the menu will eventually expand—when Harp opened there were just four meats and three sides—the opening-day menu will be similar to the current pop-up menus, which include brisket, sausages, pork, and a handful of sides and specials.

“We’re going to start small, which is always how we’ve tried to operate as a business,” Harp says. “We try to move slow and be methodical.”

…And Justus For All

A new version of Justus Drugstore is planned as chef Jonathan Justus and his wife, Camille Eklof again try to capture the magic of their homey Smithville restaurant in the confines of the city.

According to the Kansas City Star, the new Justus Drugstore will open in the Hyde Park neighborhood of KCMO sometime in March or April. They are still deciding between possible locations.

It’s the latest move for Justus, who operated a restaurant in his family’s former pharmacy starting in 2007 that is still mentioned as one of the area’s best-ever dining experiences. Justus tried to move the magic to the South Plaza by opening Black Dirt in what is now the Blu Hwy space on Main Street. Reviews were mixed, with many complaining that it couldn’t match the ambiance of the intimate rural spot. 

Although it’s perhaps premature to discuss the specifics of a restaurant that doesn’t even have a space yet, the Star reports that the new Justus Drugstore will be open for dinner Wednesdays through Sundays, that the menu will be posted online with customers prepaying and that “Wednesdays will be the four-course family-style dinner with a monthly theme, perhaps 1920 New Orleans or Spanish tapas.”

Bear It

The former Stagecoach Tavern in the middle of Overland Park is now home to Bear Necessities (9609 W. 87th. St.). Owner Spencer Hanson is a veteran of other coffee shops, with fifteen years in the industry, who favors simple drinks and a community-centered approach where, as he told the Shawnee Mission Post, “anybody and everybody can come in.”  

The shop has a small selection of alcoholic drinks and pastries from KCMO’s Heirloom Bakery.

Digging Dirt  

Green Dirt Farm in Weston is well-known for its sheep’s milk cheeses. In 2016, Green Dirt opened a small cafe and cheese shop in downtown Weston that has become a hit with day trippers and tourists. Now, Green Dirt is coming into the city and opening a cafe in the east Crossroads. 

According to the Star, the cafe will seat sixty-five and be at 1601 Oak St. There will be an events space and rooftop deck as well as facilities for making cheese on-site.

Rockin’ in Leawood

The Rockhill Grille is coming to Leawood’s Town Center Crossing before the end of the year. The classic chophouse, known for its wood-fired prime rib and bone-in pork chop, will be in the former La Bodega space at 119th and Roe. Also new in Town Center is Ruby Jean’s Juicery, which is on the east side of Town Center Plaza near Power Life.

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