Here are the Post’s 15 most read stories on new restaurants and eateries in 2020

Despite economic troubles caused by the pandemic this year, dozens of new restaurants opened in Johnson County in 2020. Above, Kika and Benny Morina owners of Viona's Italian Bistro in in downtown Overland Park.

Despite the stress, anxiety and slew of “bad news” this year, dozens of businesses have opened in Johnson County in 2020.

We curated a list of the most read stories the Shawnee Mission Post published on new businesses that opened and — no surprise here — they were all restaurants and eateries.

Here are the 15 most read stories we published on new restaurants. This is not a comprehensive list of all restaurants that opened in our coverage area, so if we missed one, please email us at so we can include it.

Seafood Island, 75th and Nieman

Opened: Tuesday, June 30

Known for: Cajun-style cuisine and live entertainment

Location: 10810 W. 75th St., Shawnee (the site of a former Ryan’s Buffet restaurant)


Fun quote: “The Gulf-side flavors may be different from what we have here in the middle of the States. That’s why I wanted to bring in Midwestern tastes.” – Eric Lin, co-owner

Read more: Cajun-style restaurant Seafood Island opens at 75th and Nieman in Shawnee

Wandering Vine at the Castle, Shawnee

Opened: Friday, Nov. 27

Known for: 9 wine flights, American West menu

Location: 12401 Johnson Drive in the historic Caenen Castle


Fun quote: “We feel like this building is part of the community, and we want to make sure that it’s always here and part of the community.” – Carla Dyer, co-owner

Read more: Historic Caenen Castle in Shawnee reopens as a restaurant, farm winery outlet

Juan Jose’s Taqueria, Millcreek shopping center in Shawnee

Opened: Friday, Nov. 20

Known for: Al pastor and barbacoa, authentic Mexican tacos

Location: 13220 W. 62nd Terrace (near Incredible Pizza Company)


Fun quote: “Sometimes, taco shops have half-and-half, like half American and half Mexican or Tex-Mex. This is not, not at all.” – Chas Tulipana, general manager

Read more: New taco shop opens in Shawnee promising to serve up ‘authentic’ Mexican food

Smoketown Bar-B-Q, Overland Park

Opened: Thursday, Sept. 17

Known for: Burnt ends and the Smoketown Throwdown signature sandwich

Location: 7702 Shawnee Mission Parkway (site of the former teriyaki bowl restaurant Maui Express)


Fun quote: “We’re not the new guys, we’re just on a new adventure.” – Terri Barnhart, co-owner

Read more: ‘Not the new guys’: Barbecue restaurant heads to northern Overland Park, replaces Maui Express on Shawnee Mission Parkway

Duck Donuts, Leawood Plaza Shopping Center

Opened: Saturday, Dec. 12

Known for: Doughnuts and coffee (obviously!)

Location: 12130 State Line Road, Leawood


Fun quote: “We could not be more thankful for our time in the Ranch Mart shopping center and for the support we received from our friends and neighbors there. But now we look forward to reopening in Leawood Plaza with new menu items such as delicious milkshakes, in a bright, airy space that allows us to expand and better serve our guests.” – Ryan McNeil, co-franchisee

Read more: Duck Donuts franchise relocates to Leawood Plaza and opens Dec. 12 with expanded menu

Viona’s Italian Bistro, downtown Overland Park

Opened: Friday, Feb. 7

Known for: Lasagna and seafood

Location: 7933 Marty St.


Fun quote: “We got lucky, and I guess we have to thank the community because there’s a lot of folks during that lockdown who supported us even more. We had people ordering pretty much every other day because they wanted to make sure we stay here and don’t go anywhere.” – Benny Morina, co-owner

Read more: Italian-American couple opens Viona’s Italian Bistro in downtown Overland Park

Drastic Measures, downtown Shawnee

Opened: Monday, June 22

Known for: 14 signature drinks, cozy atmosphere

Location: 5817 Nieman Road (site of the former Mercy & Truth Medical Missions clinic)


Fun quote: “It’s a great little neighborhood. There’s some cool stuff popping up, so we’re excited to be a complement so we’re not directly competing with anybody.” – Jill Cockson, co-founder

Read more: Drastic Measures cocktail bar opens in downtown Shawnee

McLain’s Market, downtown Shawnee

Opened: Friday, June 12

Known for: Fresh-baked goods, breakfast and lunch items

Location: 5833 Nieman Road (the former space of OK Garage)


Fun quote: “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. It kind of solidifies the location choice, besides the people that have dropped by in the neighborhoods around here.” – Jeff Hirleman, co-owner

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

Summer Salt Ice Cream Shop, Corinth Square

Opened: Friday, June 5

Known for: Ice cream sandwiches, cookie dough ice cream, cookies and cream ice cream

Location: 4051 Somerset Drive, Prairie Village (the site of the former Mely’s Yogurt & Ice Cream)


Fun quote: “[Mely] was serving kids 35 years ago who are now adults and bring their kids back, [keeping] that tradition going in the same location is pretty cool — not many businesses last 35 years.” – Curtis Thurston, owner

Read more: Summer Salt Ice Cream Co. to open in former Mely’s Yogurt & Ice Cream space at Corinth Square

Red Door Grill, Sonoma Plaza

Opened: Tuesday, Dec. 8

Known for: Woodfired Wings, scratch kitchen menu

Location: 15918 W. 88th St., just east of I-435 near Lenexa City Center


Fun quote: “While it’s definitely a unique time to be opening a new restaurant, we are excited to be part of this vibrant and growing area in Lenexa.” – Gary Zancanelli, owner and founder

Read more: New restaurant opening at Sonoma Plaza in Lenexa

La Fuente Mexican Street Food, Regency Park Shopping Center

Opened: Thursday, April 23

Known for: Burritos and street tacos

Location: 9222 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park (the site of a former Pei Wei Asian Diner and Billy Sims BBQ)


Fun quote: “We’re going to have some new platters that I don’t see anybody have here. Kansas City is known for ribs because of barbecue, and in Mexico we have Mexican rib tacos…I’m really excited to do this new concept and to add our new platters, like barbacoa. Everybody loves ribs up here, and barbecue. I’m pretty sure they will like it.” – Eduardo Garcia, co-owner

Read more: New restaurant La Fuente Mexican Street Food coming soon to Overland Park shopping center

Mr Brews Taphouse, near downtown Overland Park

Opened: Tuesday, May 26

Known for: Signature burgers, craft beer

Location: 8021 Metcalf Ave.


Fun quote: “…we had to get the doors open and get some income, because bills were still coming in. It felt good to open; it’s a long process and not easy.” – Jonathan Langford, franchisee

Read more: ‘We had to get the doors open’ — New restaurant launches in downtown Overland Park despite pandemic

Harley’s Hideaway, bar and grill in Shawnee

Opened: Thursday, Oct. 8

Known for: Caribbean and Cajun flavors, burgers and chicken

Location: 12200 Johnson Drive (former site of Game Changers Sports Bar, and Margarita’s)


Fun quote: “We’ve gotten a lot of neighborhood people just popping in to check us out, see what we’re about, what we have going on. I think it’s cool, because that’s our whole concept was to be a neighborhood bar, a go-to place to be able to get live entertainment and have a good time. I feel like we’ve been pretty well received for being in the middle of a pandemic.” – Jessica Christman, co-owner/manager

Read more: Harley’s Hideaway bar and grill opens near Johnson and Quivira in Shawnee

The Market at Meadowbrook, Prairie Village

Opened: sometime in April

Known for: Coffee and fresh-made pastries

Location: 4901 Meadowbrook Parkway


Fun quote: “While this day is very different from what we imagined it would be, in light of the current COVID-19 situation, we feel we can be a resource to the neighborhood and our valued customers.” – Patrick and Joanne Quillec

Read more: The Market at Meadowbrook opens during COVID-19, Verbena opening date to be determined

Cedar Street Toffee, Prairie Village

Opened: Thursday, Oct. 22

Known for: Almond toffee with semi-sweet chocolate, dark chocolate toffee with nuts

Location: 4521 W. 90th St.


Fun quote: “It fills my heart. It’s such a beautiful thing for people just to smile and find some joy, we all need that right now.” – Teresa Spiess, toffee maker and owner

Read more: Toffee company that started with a homemade recipe in OP kitchen opens shop in Prairie Village