Standees restaurant closed as consultants prepare to give it family-friendly makeover

Standees is undergoing a major restaurant rebranding to create a more family-friendly dining destination.
Standees is undergoing a major restaurant rebranding to create a more family-friendly dining destination.

The restaurant at Standees in the Village Shops closed this week as consultants from Leap Hospitality, a Liberty-based restaurant branding firm, prepare to give the eatery a major makeover.

Leap’s Pat Phelan said Tuesday that the group will be reopening the restaurant as the “Chocolate Frog Cafe,” a family-friendly concept featuring decor more typical of a classic diner. The menu will feature American comfort food and the restaurant will begin serving breakfast.

“One of the things we noticed when we came in was that the decor was a bit bland and it was contemporary,” he said of the existing Standees restaurant space. “We saw an opportunity to create a real restaurant brand identity, a place where you’d want to come and have a meal whether you were going to a movie or not.”

Leap was brought on to help reconceive the restaurant several months ago after Standees’ owners, Dineplex International, searched for ways to appeal to customers in the area surrounding the theatre, a market that was younger and more family focused than they had initially believed. The original Standees concept, which opened in May 2013, featured an adult-oriented restaurant and theatre showing primarily arthouse films. But as the months wore on, the business’s managers saw increased demand for family films on the theatre’s three screens. The traffic spikes during showings of family films were key to Leap’s decision to pursue the Chocolate Frog Cafe concept.

“The area was missing a good family spot,” Phelan said. “A place where, yes, parents can get a beer if they want, but that you’d want to take the whole family.”

Though many of the renovations to the interior will be cosmetic, there will be some structural changes, including the removal of the signature filmstrip set of screens above the horseshoe bar. The group will also be renovating the patio area to make it a more appealing place to sit and dine.

Phelan said the hope is to have the restaurant ready by the Prairie Village Art Show the weekend of May 29, but realistically it may be mid-June before they open to the public.

Though Leap will maintain an active role in the restaurant’s operations, there will be no change in ownership in the restaurant or the theatre. Once Chocolate Frog Cafe opens, the theatre side will be called Standees Theatres.