By Kevin Collison
The East Crossroads, arguably downtown’s most intriguing emerging neighborhood, is getting another first, this one a national, shared-dining trend called the food hall.
Parlor KC is planned for an two-story former industrial building at 1707 Locust. It’s the first rollout of the concept by Atlanta-based Meriwether Companies and it’s the restaurant equivalent of a co-working space.
The concept will feature seven ready-to-go kitchens that can be leased by restauranteurs, common dining space for up to 344 people and shared bars for beer, wine and cocktails.
Davis Engle, a co-owner, said the new concept will allow a chef the opportunity to start his or her own place at far less cost than opening a stand alone brick-and-mortar establishment.
“We own all the kitchen equipment and provide our tenants with turn-key kitchens,” he said. “Think food trucks without wheels.”
Engle said the food hall concept is thriving in other cities including Denver, Atlanta, Chicago and New York, and his firm believes Kansas City, specifically the Crossroads, is the place to launch its first Parlor.
Others are planned for Nashville, Oklahoma City and Orlando.
“We came to Kansas City and fell in love,” Engle said, adding “being in the Crossroads is at the cultural epicenter. It was the right place and right neighborhood.”
For a start-up investment of $10,000 to $15,000, a “chef partner” will be able to open their own restaurant as compared to the hundreds of thousands it costs for a conventional place. The monthly rent is about $1,800.
Parlor KC believes its concept will appeal to established chefs wanting to try a new concept; the line cook or sous chef desiring their own place; food truck operators seeking another revenue stream, or an out-of-town restaurant operator testing the market.
As for the customers, Port KC is expected to be a place where they can come, share food and have a drink before heading out on the town.
“Everything is experiential now, people want an experience,” he said. “You can’t just have a run-of-the-mill restaurant anymore.”
The first floor of the 18,000 square-foot building will be laid out with a “living room” and “den” space with three kitchens, a bar and dining tables for 140 people.
The second level will have four kitchens, a bar, an open-air patio area, two shuffle board courts and seating for 150 diners.
An event space is planned for the limestone basement of the building, which was completed in 1925. Hufft architects is the designer.
Leases are for 12-, 18-, 24-, and 36 month periods.
“After 36 months, you can keep the lease but you have to change the concept,” Engle said.
Hours will be seven days a week from 11 a.m to midnight. Parlor KC plans to open this fall.
People interested in kitchen space are invited to contact Engle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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