Meat Mitch Barbecue of Leawood will be vendor at new KCI terminal

Leawood-based Meat Mich Barbecue is set to be a featured vendor at the Kansas City International Airport's new terminal when it opens in March 2023. Photo courtesy Meat Mitch Barbecue.

Johnson County residents might notice a familiar site when visiting the new KCI Airport terminal once it opens next spring.

Driving the news: On Monday, the Kansas City Aviation Department announced a list of both local and national vendors inside the new terminal when it opens in March 2023, including Leawood-based Meat Mitch Barbecue.

  • With the announcement, aviation leaders released a full list and map highlighting more than 30 new restaurants and 15 retail options at the terminal.
  • Meat Mitch is one of a number or recognizable local brands on the list that also includes Made in KC, The Pitch, Poio and Parisi coffee.
  • Officials said fully 80% of vendors who made the cut are local to the Kansas City metro.

The details: At its new location, owner Mitch Benjamin said Meat Mitch plans to serve up a pared-down version of the restaurant’s current menu, as well as some new breakfast items.

  • “One of the unique things about the airport is they do a lot of breakfast business, and that’s not something we currently do,” Benjamin said. “We’re working on what those breakfast items will be as we speak.”
  • Otherwise, he said, the menu will feature the restaurant’s fan favorites, such as its 16-hour smoked Black Angus hand-carved brisket and St. Louis-style pork ribs.
Meat Mitch owner Mitch Benjamin is preparing to open a new location at the Kansas City International Airport.
Meat Mitch owner Mitch Benjamin is preparing to open a new location at the Kansas City International Airport. Photo credit Nikki Lansford

Key quote: “It’s really a dream come true to be representing Kansas City, which is the capital of barbecue,” Benjamin said. “To be posted up inside the brand new airport… and to be a part of the Kansas City community and the barbecue community is just an extreme honor.”

How did KCI Airport opportunity come about?

Benjamin said he had not always planned to open a new Meat Mitch location at KCI, but it was an opportunity he could not turn down when the terminal’s developer approached him over a year ago.

  • “There’s probably 6 million people a year that will walk past that restaurant,” he said. “It’s just an unbelievable opportunity for my brand and for its exposure.”
  • The new location is projected to open just a few months after the one-year anniversary of the grand opening of Meat Mitch’s flagship Leawood restaurant at the Ranch Mart Shopping Center, which opened in late 2021.