Chewology and The Roasterie prepare to leave Lenexa Public Market

After four years growing her gyoza restaurant, Chewology, Katie Liu-Sung is moving out of the Lenexa Public Market sometime this summer to a new location in the Westport area of Kansas City, Missouri.

Chewology and The Roasterie are planning to permanently close their operations at the Lenexa Public Market. Stepping in to replace The Roasterie is long-time Shawnee brand Mr. D’s, a doughnut shop on 75th Street.

Chewology, a gyoza (dumpling) bar, is moving to a new location in Westport in Kansas City, Mo.

Meanwhile, the company that owns The Roasterie, a Kansas City coffee franchise, is downsizing and closing several coffee shops across the metro. But Mr. D’s Donuts will offer a caffeinated replacement, rebranding specifically for the Lenexa Public Market as Mr. D’s Coffee, which opens April 1.

Chewology serves East Asian and Taiwanese dishes such as gyoza (dumplings), ramen and grain bowls. The restaurant plans to expand the menu at the new Westport location.

Both Chewology and The Roasterie have been anchor tenants of the public market since the market launched in 2017.

In a presentation Tuesday evening to the Lenexa City Council, Carmen Chopp, manager of the Lenexa Public Market, said the transitions reflect positive change for the market, which was designed and intended to incubate businesses to the point they might eventually outgrow the market.

“We believe both of these decisions are positive for everybody involved and they’re actually consistent with the market’s mission to provide a space for entrepreneurs to start and grow a business,” Chopp told the city council. “Both The Roasterie and Chewology have left their mark on the public market and also our community.”

Mr. D’s Coffee replacing The Roasterie

The Roasterie is closing, but most of the baristas are staying on to work for the new anchor tenant, Mr. D’s Coffee. The new coffee shop is a second location for the owners of Mr. D’s Donuts on 75th Street in Shawnee. Photo courtesy Lenexa Public Market.

FairWave Holdings, which owns The Roasterie is closing shop, making room for Mr. D’s to take over that space.

Chopp said the two coffee shops will switch places in a flurry, when The Roasterie closes at noon March 31 and the new owners, husband-and-wife team Johnny Chen and Boggie Otgonbayar, will take that afternoon to revamp in time to open April 1.

‘A happy-sad moment’ for Chewology

“I feel like it’ll be better to share the opportunity that I was given four years ago to start my dream…and having someone take over and turn that space into their dream, instead of just hogging it,” Liu-Sung told the Lenexa City Council.

Chewology first opened in the public market Oct 22, 2017. Katie Liu-Sung, restaurant owner, said she plans to introduce at her Westport location a more extensive menu of Taiwanese cuisine alongside gyozas, ramen and other East Asian food concepts.

Chewology plans to offer curbside pickup services in Westport. In fact, the restaurant saw an 800% increase in curbside pickup sales during the pandemic and related economic shutdown, Chopp said.

Chewology is slated to open the Westport location in August. They may close their Lenexa Public Market location sometime in June.

The Lenexa Public Market is looking for a new anchor tenant to take over Chewology’s space.

“I’m super excited, obviously, but very very nervous,” Liu-Sung said. “It’ll be something different in a different area. We have a great community here. We love the neighborhood and the people. We’ve become friends over the years. Moving over there, we’re going to kind of have to start over. We’re hoping we’ll still see a lot of familiar faces that come visit us; it’s not that far of a drive.”

In a few remarks to the city council, Liu-Sung shared her gratitude for city leadership and the local community for their support over the years.

“This is a happy-sad moment; it’s been a really tough decision,” Liu-Sung told the council, adding that she had initially hoped to keep both locations open. “As we moved forward, I realized it wouldn’t be fair to Carmen and to the market that I won’t be able to be here, pulling my 100%, even though I don’t want to leave. But I feel like it’ll be better to share the opportunity that I was given four years ago to start my dream…and having someone take over and turn that space into their dream, instead of just hogging it.

Chopp said the changes are positive for all involved, as the Lenexa Public Market is designed to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

“This is where we started. Lenexa will always be home for us, and we’re really grateful for the opportunity, so thank you for the past four years.”

The city council also shared their excitement and well wishes for Liu-Sung on this next chapter.

“When I had heard, it just made me so sad, but then it made me so proud because that’s the whole point, that’s why we did this,” said Councilmember Mandy Stuke. “It’s helping people to realize their dreams.”

The Lenexa Public Market is looking for a new anchor tenant to take over Chewology’s space. Chopp said one internal vendor, a food stall, has expressed interest.