By Kevin Collison
A well-known Columbus Park landmark is reopening this spring as Wolfepack BBQ and its owners first order of business is soothing the neighborhood indigestion caused by its previous operator.
“We want to have a neighborhood welcoming day to start things off on the right foot,” said co-owner Sam Parker.
He and his partner, Jared Wolfe, are locating in the building at 910 E. Fifth St. that was the longtime home of the popular LaSala’s Deli. But in recent years, it was run as a loud bar that attracted bikers and a rowdy crowd.
What was The North End closed in 2020 after losing its liquor license, and the building is now being readied to become the only barbecue restaurant in Columbus Park and the adjoining River Market.
It will be the partners first stand-alone place. They had been operating out of Callsign Brewing at 1340 Burlington in North Kansas City.
“We’re close friends,” Parker said. “It was our thing to do on the weekends and we developed a passion for it.”
Their first public outing was in 2021 when they were invited to participate in the “Barbecue of Hope” charity event at Buck Tui in Overland Park.
“The response was great, Jared is so good. He’s the genius behind the food,” Parker said.
“He does it the old school way. We don’t skip steps, all wood, no gas and whole briskets that he trims himself.”
The partners were encouraged to continue smoking by their fellow BBQers and began doing pop-ups at a few breweries before settling in at Callsign.
Parker said Columbus Park was attractive to open a permanent home because it already has a couple of destination restaurants, the Vietnam Cafe and Garozzo’s.
“We love the neighborhood feel and there’s no other barbecue places close, that will help,” he said. “We feel the area will grow and we love the building.”
The decision to open their own place will allow them to expand their offerings. Wolfe has developed his own Texas-style pit sauce and the beef is sliced Texas thick.
A variety of creative sides also are planned including red coleslaw, a couple of mac and cheese variations, grits and chili made with brisket trimmings.
The partners plan to begin serving food soon from a trailer parked in the lot, and hope to have the permanent location open by spring. Hours are still up in the air, but they plan to be open at least five days a week.
Wolfepack will have a full bar to go along with beer and wine, but they don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past.
“We want to be a restaurant with an excellent drink menu,” Parker said.
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