AREA Restaurant Openings

AREA is honored to have been a part of some exciting restaurants around the city that are opening in the next couple of months.


Rye Leawood will be opening their second location, Rye Plaza, on The Country Club Plaza later this Fall. Award winning Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts will open to the public sometime after Thanksgiving.  They will stair step their service with dinner first for a couple of weeks, then dinner and lunch for a couple weeks, and eventually serving breakfast as well.  The space will look similar to Rye Leawood, while highlighting some of the original architecture of the historic building. Their new location, the former Morton’s Grille space at 4646 J.C. Nichols Parkway, was the first building constructed on the Country Club Plaza. The staples of the menu will be the same, but each chef will have a little creative license to do what they want to do seasonally.

Rye Leawood, which opened in 2012, celebrates the Midwest roots of its chefs. Their food pays homage to dishes the Midwest is known for, from the chefs’ point of view- smoked pork chops, aged steaks, fried chicken, vegetables fresh off the stove, Park House rolls, freshly-made seasonal pies, fruit cobblers and specialty cakes. Rye uses fresh, locally-sources ingredients and products, including their family farm in Parker, Kansas.

Megan and Colby are also the founders of Bluestem in Westport, which was named a 2015 James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant. Colby is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest award winner They also have 2 cookbooks.

AREA’s Bill Shackelford handled the lease negotiations for Rye.

For more info, visit


New local concept, Hogshead restaurant, will open on The Country Club Plaza before the end of this month. It will occupy the former California Pizza Kitchen at 4743 Pennsylvania. Shawn McClenny, owner of One Block South in Overland Park, and Clark Grant, former Capital Grille executive chef, have created a “creative American”, chef-driven menu with locally sourced ingredients, craft beers, creative wines and barrel-aged cocktails.

The name Hogshead refers to a large cask used to ship wine and spirits. The restaurant will have several large wood barrels on site to age spirits.

The restauarnt space is being renovated with a warm and rustic contemporary feel. It will seat 160 people, with a bar that seats 8-12 and a 15-seat chef’s counter with an open kitchen.

AREA’s Rich DuVall represented Hog’s Head in their lease transaction.

For more information and to see their menu, visit


Black Dirt, a second concept from Justus Drugstore’s Jonathan Justus and wife Camille Eklof, will open early January just south of the Plaza. Feast Magazine named Black Dirt one of their “Most Anticipated Restaurant”.

The 5,000 SF space is located at the corner of 51st & Main Street, in the 51Main mixed-use development that includes retail and upscale apartments. It will include a large bar, a private dining room and an outdoor patio area. The modern American restaurant and bar will offer an approachable menu including modern takes on classic dishes, comfort favorites and clean contemporary fair. Black Dirt will start solely serving dinner including bar snacks, small plates and large plates. They will slowly add lunch and brunch services as well as catering, carry-out and delivery options.

The name Black Dirt refers to the exceptional soil formed from the Kansan Glacier in the last great ice age, where the Missouri & Kaw River meet. There is no finer soil.

Justus & Eklof’s first restaurant, Justus Drugstore in Smithville, Missouri opened in May of 2007. The restaurant offers seasonal dishes made with farm-to-table locally raised produce and meat. The Smithville restaurant will temporarily close while the staff gets Black Dirt up and running.

Justus Drugstore was a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in the country, and Jonathan Justus has twice received a James Beard Nomination for Best Chef. The restaurant and chef have many other local and national accolades.

AREA’s Tiffany Ruzicka handled the lease negotiations.


Thee Gin Mill, a high-end gastro pub, will open in Leawood on November 9th.   The restaurant will offer a chef driven, made-from-scratch menu of American favorites along with craft beer and cocktails. Thee Gin Mill will serve lunch and dinner with live entertainment, and patio seating.

Ben Koepke, owner and operator of The Buck Snort, a local favorite in Missoula, Montana and Paul Drolet from Kansas City (known for his local restaurant design work) are the owners of Thee Gin Mill.

The 2,400 SF space is part of Parkway Plaza Chateau, a retail center on the northwest corner of 135th & Roe Avenue. Co-tentants include Integrite Salon, Iron Tribe Fitness, The Venue in Leawood, Massage Heights and Emergent Care Plus, to name a few.

AREA represents the Parkway Plaza Chateau landlord.