Wild and Quirky
Downtown Shawnee is fast becoming one of Johnson County’s top nightlife destinations. Now, it’s getting a new bar with a fresh concept that’s unlike any other in KC. Wild Child will be a “bright, quirky” bar with wine, cider and cocktails with little or no alcohol.
Wild Child comes from Jay Sanders, the owner of the excellent cocktail spot Drastic Measures, which has an unsigned door on Nieman Road next door to Wild Child at 11022 Johnson Drive in Shawnee, an area we’ve previously dubbed “the South Beach of Johnson County.”
Wild Child will open sometime next year, and Sanders says it will be “the perfect addition” to the area because “it won’t be like any of the other businesses on the block.” Also new on the strip, the former Hartman Hardware will soon open as Friction Brewery next door. “I believe Wild Child is the perfect accent to turn downtown Shawnee into a destination nightlife district in Johnson County and Kansas City,” Sanders says.
A new bar coming to the Crossroads in early October will have just thirty-six seats and is aiming to be a spot where people in the neighborhood watch football on Sundays. Jim’s Alley Bar (500 E. 18th St., Suite 102) comes from the team behind nearby King G, but it’s aiming for an “old-school feel” that pays homage to owner Eric Flanagan’s late grandfather, Jim, who passed away in 2016.
“He was an important man in my life—a WWII vet, blue-collar worker that was a rock in our family,” Flanagan says. “He was a man of few words and family always came first. He was someone I looked up to.”
The food menu at Jim’s Alley Bar is highlighted by an Italian beef sandwich made with flat iron steak that’s slow-cooked for half a day and served with the classic option of au jus, giardiniera, sweet peppers and provolone. There will also be a sausage, onion and peppers sandwich made with a Scimeca’s link and served on a hoagie roll. The famous King G Taylor ham sandwich, which was pulled from the menu there because the processed New Jersey pork product made too much smoke on the grill, makes its triumphant return to Jim’s.
“My family is from New Jersey,” Flanagan said in a press release. “I wanted to put a New Jersey staple on the menu. We threw the Taylor ham on the King G menu as kind of an aside, but it ended up being very popular. We had to stop cooking it because we didn’t have proper ventilation. With Jim’s, we now have a hood system to cook that item and many more.”
Cocktails are simple—a Cuba Libre with housemade cola, an Italian Greyhound with housemade grapefruit soda—and the beer selection is described as “time-honored,” meaning classic macros.
The D in Detroit
The Detroit Pizza Craze isn’t over just yet, as a new Texas-based chain is bringing its square pies to a lot near the Regency Park mall on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park. Via 313 opened as a food truck in Austin a decade ago, having been started by two brothers from Michigan. It’s going to share space with the questionably named The Crack Shack, a Southern California chain serving fried chicken sandwiches.
Some sad news about the closing of three notable spots: Incahoots of Parkville, Pig & Finch of Leawood and Caribe Blue in KCK. Incahoots was a super-cute coffee and doughnut shop that opened in June 2021 in a former rail station with two 1920s Pullman train cars providing seating. It will become a branch of Rochester Brewing and Roasting, the brewery and coffee shop in West Crossroads. Pig & Finch had been open for a decade and was well-known for its fried chicken. The casual Park Place eatery was owned by the Iowa-based company that also owns 801 Chophouse in Park Place. Caribe Blue in KCK was one of the area’s best Caribbean restaurants and was known for whole fried snapper, empanadillas and plantains. Caribe Blue’s social media pages have been taken down, and a sign posted on the door said it’s closed.