New restaurant developments in the works could create new destination spots in NEJC

Woodside Village will have retail and residential. Construction has now gone vertical on Rainbow Blvd.
Woodside Village will have two new restaurants at the end of the 47th Street corridor.

A new restaurant boom appears to be sweeping over northeast Johnson County with much of the action about to be centered on the 47th Street corridor from Mission Road to Rainbow Blvd. But that is not the only place that will be adding new choices in the coming months.

Along 47th Street, though, the movement could see several new restaurants opening in the coming years, which some developers predict could push even more interest in the area as a destination restaurant mecca. That follows the restaurant renaissance at Corinth Square and the Village Shops over the last few years and new restaurants coming on board along Mission’s Johnson Drive.

The corner of 47th and Mission has already been popular with Oklahoma Joe’s (yes,we know that’s not the name anymore) on the northeast corner and the more recent addition of Taco Republic on the northwest corner. Just to the east of Oklahoma Joe’s and its not-infrequent lines out the door, the old Fairway North shopping center has been given a facelift by new owner Lane4 and already has one new restaurant client signed on: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken which could open by this fall.

That’s not the end of the restaurant plans for the center – now called NorthWood – according to Hunter Harris of Lane4. A large space at the other end of the center from Gus’s has a 5,200 square foot space that could be one or two restaurants and they hope to backfill the Wheat State Pizza space with a possible new restaurant. That could mean up to four restaurants on the site.

Down the street to the east, Lulu’s Asian Bistro already is operating in a remodeled car repair shop and construction has started on the first phase of Woodside Village which will have two new restaurants: one an Italian themed restaurant operated by Bread and Butter Concepts and a second unnamed operation that just received site plan approval.

Add to those the southwest corner of 47th and Mission in Roeland Park where developer Tony Krsnich is working through approval to use the now empty lot for parking while he tries to land an original restaurant concept for the space.

Both Krsnich and Harris are high on the corridor. Krsnich sees it as a possible destination area that would be the kind of place people head towards without first deciding which restaurant – like heading to the Plaza, Westport, Corinth or Mission Farms. “There is a lot of patient development going on that will have a positive impact (on the corridor),” Krsnich says. “Everything Lane4 does turns to gold in my opinion,” he says, and “what Blair Tanner is doing at Woodside” will anchor the street.

“We’re all very high on the 47th and Mission corridor,” Harris says. With the new developments coming online, he sees the possibility that other under-utilized property will begin to be improved “adding even more life and vitality to this intersection and surrounding areas.”

Krsnich sees even more substance to the redevelopment. A lot of young professionals are priced out of places like Prairie Village, he says, but they can move into Roeland Park. People care about the area and feel, he says, predicting more walkability to come to the area as part of the “new urbanism” to take root. “It’s a certainty there will be more growth,” he says. “This needs to be organic growth.” Krsnich has had plenty of offers from fast food places for the property, but says he wants to create something original on the corner if he can get time to do it from the city.

Farther south, in Mission, four new restaurants will open this fall in the Cornerstone Commons development where Natural Grocers just opened its doors. Those include Pie Five Pizza, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Pepperjax Grill and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Christie Development said they hope to have most of the restaurants open by November.

The Johnson Drive development adds to The Bar, which opened at Johnson and Beverly late last year and a new Starbucks that is nearing completion on Johnson Drive.

Along Johnson Drive in Mission, the two buildings that will house four new restaurants should be completed this fall.
Along Johnson Drive in Mission, the two buildings that will house four new restaurants should be completed this fall.