December 03, 2015

Wisconsin's Leinenkugel Brewery to Open Restaurant and Bar in Power & Light District

Wisconsin’s Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. will open a flagship restaurant and bar in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.

It will take a 6,000-square-foot space at 1323 Walnut St. connecting to an expanded patio area in the Kansas City Live block. Tengo Sed Cantina formerly occupied the space but closed Monday.

Dick Leinenkugel, president of Leinenkugel’s and the fifth generation to operate the brewery, said it has a “terrific” following in the Kansas City area and the new operation will give its fans a place to go and try some of its beers that are not currently available here.

Chef Matt Livers, a longtime Kansas City resident, created the menu in collaboration with the Leinenkugel family, “blending our German and Wisconsin heritage with the best Kansas City farm-to-table foods,” Leinenkugel said Thursday.

Leinenkugel’s house specialty will be its beer-battered fish, with the fish changing seasonally and the batter a mixture of toasted rye flour and Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat Beer.

Other menu items will be Chicken Booyah Tacos made with shredded, braised chicken stewed down with local vegetables, black-eyed peas and preserved tomato jam garnished with sweet, pickled cabbage and a black truffle crema.

Sides will include warm potato and celery salad with a cider-bacon vinaigrette, crispy potato fritters with horseradish, steak-cut fries with rosemary and garlic, smoked cabbage slaw and grilled, lemon-and-thyme pickled radishes.

Livers also will manage culinary operations for the restaurant. He had previously been with J. Alexander’s in Florida, as well as operating partner for The Capital Grill on the Country Club Plaza.

Leinenkugel’s will be located on the first level of the Kansas City Live Block with entrances on both Walnut Street and the Live Block. The remodeled space will have a large, centralized bar featuring Leinenkugel’s beers on tap as well as a variety of communal tables and seating in a bright space with natural light. A heavily landscaped patio with two-sided fireplace and fire pits will connect the bar to the KC Live Block.

“We are brewers, we are not restaurant operators. So Cordish’s ECI will be running the restaurant,” Leinenkugel said.

Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Power & Light District, said the district operates best when it offers top local, regional and national tenants.

Leinenkugel’s is one of the nation’s oldest operating breweries. Brewer Matthias Leinenkugel brought his family to the U.S. from Germany in 1845 and settled in Sauk City, Wis. Matthias taught his four sons the art of brewing. His his third son, Jacob, started Leinenkugel’s in Chippewa Falls in 1867, serving lumberjacks and lumber-booming economy of Northwestern Wisconsin.

Miller Brewing Co. acquired the company in 1988 and MillerCoors is now its parent company.

Along with year-round offerings like Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat, Honey Weiss, Berry Weiss, Red Lager, Creamy Dark, Classic Amber and Original, it also offers seasonal beers such as Oktoberfest and Summer Shandy.

It opened a second brewery in downtown Milwaukee in 1997. In fall 2010, it opened the 1,500-square-foot Leinenkugel’s Beer Garden in Baltimore’s Power Plant Live, another Cordish development.

Tengo Sed Cantina, an original Power & Light tenant, temporarily closed in May 2014 to remodel and revamp the menu under a new partnership with local chef/restaurant owner Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda fame. Ryan designed the menu and trained the chefs, and continued to serve in an advisory role.

Benjamin said Cordish may sign another Mexican restaurant concept for another location in the district.

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