Joe’s KC teams up with Back Napkin for Downtown eatery

Joe’s Kansas City employees including Cary Taylor (left) and Marshaun Hargrove prepared burnt end barbacoa tacos to give out during a free lunch last Thursday in the Power & Light District. Photo courtesy of The Star.

Two of Kansas City’s leading homegrown restaurant companies, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que and Back Napkin Restaurant Group, have announced plans to open a new, collaborative dining and drinking establishment in the Kansas City Power & Light District as early as the spring of 2018.

County Line Ice House will be entirely new to Kansas City. It will feature the smoked meats Joe’s Kansas City has made famous, as well as burgers, tacos, and ice cold beer, served in a casual indoor and outdoor environment.

The announcement – and a spontaneous lunch – was served and celebrated on Walnut Street (between 13th & 14th streets) last Thursday.

“We’re thrilled to be introducing the ice house concept to Kansas City,” said Jeff Stehney, founder and owner of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. “In Texas, where the ice house tradition originated, these were public places where friends and neighbors came together to relax and enjoy some good food and music. Usually with big outdoor seating areas. We want to replicate that experience here in our hometown.”

“This is a whole new old thing for Kansas City,” said Zach Marten, co-founder of Back Napkin Restaurant Group. “In the South, ice houses have been around for a long time; big spaces where people gather to kick back, laugh and talk, and drink some beer. It’s going to be a lot of fun to bring this concept to Kansas City.”


County Line Ice House will be located at 100 E. 14 St., on the southeast corner of Kansas City Live! Block. The space will feature two patio areas, including one with front-row seats to the KC Live! stage.

“One of our primary goals in managing the Power & Light District is making sure that Downtown is not only a place Kansas City can be proud of but also a place that reflects what makes Kansas City great,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Power & Light District. “With that in mind, we couldn’t be more excited to announce the addition of County Line Ice House to the District.

“Joe’s Kansas City BBQ is one of Kansas City’s most impressive local businesses—a reason people visit Kansas City and a reason people love living in Kansas City. We know this collaboration between Joe’s and the locally-owned Back Napkin Restaurant Group will have a similar impact, and we are all anxiously awaiting our first meal there early next year.”

County Line Ice House will be owned and operated by a newly formed Missouri-based LLC. Its menu will feature many of the same items served at the three KC area Joe’s locations. The County Line menu will also feature tacos, as well as burgers made with a proprietary beef blend; all created with the same attention to detail and quality that both Joe’s and Back Napkin are known for.

In addition, County Line Ice House will be the only place in Kansas City that will offer Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que on Sundays.

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que was founded by Jeff & Joy Stehney in 1996. Their original restaurant, located in the gas station at the corner of 47th Avenue and Mission Road, in Kansas City, Kansas, has earned scores of local, regional, and national accolades for its food. In 2006, the Stehneys opened a second restaurant in Olathe, and in 2012, a third restaurant was opened in Leawood.

Back Napkin Restaurant Group was founded in 2016 by Zach Marten and Bret Springs. Marten and Springs are the entrepreneurial partnership behind The Rockhill Grille, the Westport Ale House and the soon-to-be opened Parkway: Social Kitchen in the Country Club Plaza.

To read more about the County Line Ice House, check out The Kansas City Star or City Scene KC.