McLain’s Market slated to open downtown Shawnee restaurant on Friday

Jeff Hirleman (left) and Mollie Lothman, brother and sister, are leading plans to open their family's fourth McLain's Market location, complete with restaurant, bar, coffee, bakery and drive-thru.

McLain’s Market is nearly ready to open a new restaurant and bar, coffee shop and bakery in downtown Shawnee.

A bakery and market fixture in Kansas City since 1945, the family-owned restaurant company has renovated and moved into the former space of OK Garage at 5833 Nieman Road. The Hirleman family is planning a soft opening on Friday.

The newly renovated space will include a drive-thru, patio with astro turf for yard games, and a few nooks spread around the indoor seating area. The new location in Shawnee will also house the company’s bread production department, which is currently at the company’s Waldo location.

Jeff Hirleman and his sister, Mollie Lothman, said the family is excited to join other long-established businesses downtown as well as the flurry of new economic activity, including the Aztec Theater, Sixty16 Apartments, new cocktail bar Drastic Measures and restaurant Sancho Streetside.

“We’re excited to be a part of this community; it is also exciting to see that other things are happening at the same time,” Hirleman said. “It kind of solidifies the location choice, besides the people that have dropped by in the neighborhoods around here.”

McLain’s Market is housed in the former OK Garage at 5833 Nieman Road.

Lothman agreed, noting that it’s “a weird time” to open a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic.

“We were too far down the road to turn around,” Lothman said. “But a really cool thing that’s come out of the pandemic is we have seen the loyalty of our guests, which has been incredible.”

In fact, their customers have continued supporting them after they pivoted operations at other locations to continue curbside takeout orders, Lothman added.

The drive-thru at their Overland Park location was a “lifesaver,” and the walk-up windows at their Waldo restaurant are now a permanent part of operations. Regardless of the pandemic, the Hirlemans estimate that 50% of orders are takeout or curbside pickup. (The Lawrence location is completely shut down as the Hirlemans wait to see the University of Kansas’s plans for reopening the campus.)

Nonetheless, customers will be able to come in and dine in the downtown Shawnee restaurant, with social distancing guidelines in place. Lothman and Hirleman said the company follows guidelines from Johnson County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Total occupancy of the restaurant is 150, but during the pandemic, only 50 or so customers will be allowed in at one time. Hand sanitizing stations will be posted at the entrance.

The Hirlemans also purchased and razed a car wash next door to make room for 30 additional parking spaces for roughly 40 total spaces on site.

McLain’s will offer coffee exclusively from its own roasting operation, Sway Coffee Roasters. Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.