New owners call restaurant’s locale ‘our dream spot’

tporter@lsjournal.comMay 10, 2013 

  • 17 The day in April Julie and Joe Kemna started renovation work on the former Jerry’s Bait Shop in downtown Lee’s Suumit.

The last meal hadn’t even been served at Jerry’s Bait Shop before the new owners of the space begun work.

Julie and Joe Kemna – along with business partners, family, friends and contractors – have spent the past three weeks renovating what was once the home to Jerry’s Bait Shop at 302 S.W. Main Street in downtown Lee’s Summit. The restaurants reincarnation will be called Konrad’s Kitchen and Tap House and the expectation is that the railroad-themed restaurant will open in the next two to three weeks.

“We are going to do two weeks to a month of remodeling, renovating,” Joe Kemna said shortly after he, his wife and a business partner took over Jerry’s last month. “We’re going to scrub it down and just do some cosmetic work on it.”

Joe, Julie and Adam Friskney, Konrad’s general manager, all have years of restaurant experience behind them having first honed their bar skills while undergrad students at the University of Central Missouri. Connections in Warrensburg led the trio to the Lake of the Ozarks, where they collectively managed Shady Gators restaurant and bar prior to purchasing Jerry’s Bait Shop.

Julie, a Raymore native, is also an assistant dance instructor for the Lee’s Summit West High School dance team.

“I’ve been a part of the community for the last five years,” she said. “We’ve been living at the Lake for the last seven years, but we just really fell in love with Lee’s Summit. We’ve known that we’ve always wanted to open a business here and we had been trying very, very hard to try to make it happen. This is our ideal spot; our dream spot.”

Added Friskney: “I feel like downtown Lee’s Summit is a really good place to be. We feel like it’s really important to sort of embrace ourselves with the local community. What downtown Lee’s Summit has to offer as opposed to other locations is that it’s going to be all locally-owned. I think that’s a good selling point for us. People are really into supporting local establishments.”

Joe, a Cameron native, said Konrad’s Kitchen and Tap Room was named in honor of his grandfather.

“Konrad was my grandfather’s middle name,” he said. “It’s not necessarily named after him, but it was named with him in mind. He was a guy who loved to surround himself with family, friends and good food. He was a really proud, hardworking guy and those are the kind of people we’re going to employ and hopefully those are the kind of people we’re going to serve.”

Konrad’s will feature railroad-themed and inspired dishes, specialty cocktails, and what Jerry’s Bait Shop made one of its strongholds: live music. The family-oriented stance is what the Kemnas hope will help them sustain a move into downtown Lee’s Summit.

“We’re family-owned,” Julie said, “so we just wanted to do something that was more family-friendly but also keep what Jerry’s already had here. We’re keeping the live music.”

“What we tell people is that we’re keeping Jerry’s flavor,” Joe Kemna added. “We’re just going to add a few of our touches. It’s going to be very inviting. We’re going to have a diverse menu, a very eclectic group of music as well as other performers, and we’re going to make it as family-oriented and as open door as we possibly can.”

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