When a second KC Daiquiri Shop goes marching into the Overland Park faubourg (suburb) later this month, family and flavor will round out the goals of its expansion — a passion project of its owners who are committed to meeting a rising local demand for authentic Cajun cuisine, they said.
“When we first started with this concept [in downtown KCMO], a lot of people didn’t believe in it. They didn’t think that a daiquiri shop could work in Kansas City,” said Kinley Strickland, who launched and co-owns the original bar and restaurant alongside business partner Calvin Vick.
“They had experienced Cajun food — but not the way we did it. People didn’t really know what the difference between Cajun and Creole was.”
Now they do; as evidenced by the success of KC Daiquiri Shop’s first, Grand Boulevard location in Kansas City, they said. And customers are begging for more, Strickland added.
“To experience the success that we have … actually serving the people supporting it when other people thought it wasn’t going to work, that’s a great, great feeling,” he said.
Click here to explore KC Daiquiri Shop’s current menu.
Strickland and Vick’s new venture in Overland Park — KC Daiquiri Shop: Bistreaux — hopes to keep the party going when it opens mid-April in a high-visibility space formerly occupied by The Boardroom at 8725 Metcalf Ave.
“It’s set up as more of a traditional restaurant. Therefore our food flavors are going to be elevated,” Strickland said. “We’re going to have a more sophisticated menu. We’ll do things like charbroiled oysters, crab, lobster, filet mignon.”
The all-dressed menu allows KC Daiquiri Shop to expand its footprint beyond the bar and lounge space and gives Strickland and Vick the opportunity to prove themselves connoisseurs of Cajun cuisine.
“I go to New Orleans once a year. I love the culture, I love the food, I love the environment. I love everything about New Orleans and I’ve always wanted to bring a little bit of that back to Kansas City,” Vick said, noting a similar love for the metro-area and the things it’s become famous for — including its love for smoked meats, rubs, and barbecue spices, all of which find their ways into the recipes that round out the restaurant’s menu.
Additional draws for customers will include the full-time offering of KC Daiquiri Shop’s beloved daily meal specials, Strickland said.
“Those items will be available every day of the week. No longer will we have a limited menu with maybe spurts of something great — we’ll have something great every day, all across the board,” he said.
A full lineup of the restaurant’s famous daiquiris (including kid-friendly options) will also be available. Expanding the company amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a direct result of the specialty drinks’ popularity.
“One of the things that we were really able to enjoy through the hardships of the pandemic was a boost in to-go sales. That was really the thing that kept us alive,” Strickland said, looking back on the early days of the COVID-era and the way it changed rules surrounding to-go liquor sales.
Click here to learn more about KC Daiquiri Shop’s pandemic experience.
“People really supported that and we were able to kind of pivot our business model and supplied drinks to-go fairly quickly. The reason why that’s important here, is because that success led us to say, ‘Hey, where else can we go to service the community?’”
Enter Johnson County, where to-go alcohol sales have become permanent.
“We’re poised now to have that same type of community support and we feel really strongly about that. COVID really put us to the test in terms of refining the different elements of our business and making sure we were only doing the things that made sense for the bottom line. … We’re bringing that knowledge over to this location.”
The pair hopes to make positive impacts in the Overland Park community, committed to providing a high-level of service that’s as family oriented as it is fun.
“We’re bringing people together through the daiquiri shop. We’ve had two couples meet and have babies — so now we’ve got daiquiri shop babies running around in this city,” Strickland laughed, noting the mission of the original shop’s fun-focused atmosphere is expected to come full circle with the addition of its family-friendly space.
“They’re building families based on what [Vick] and I came up with. You can’t beat that.”
The new location will also serve as a celebration of culture, the duo told Startland News, detailing a mural collaboration with Kansas City-drawn artist JT Daniels.
“When people come in and they see it, it’s an immediate eye-grabber. It represents the shop and what we believe we bring to the market — and the true experience of the New Orleans French Quarter,” Strickland said of the showpiece, which spans much of dining room’s west wall and aims to start conversations among guests.
“You see elements of New Orleans obviously, but then there’s also elements of Kansas City. It’s an immersion type of experience,” he said.
“The mural … that pulls them in. When they get their food on the table, that pulls them in. It’s a complete experience that we want them to have — and once once they buy into that [we hope] they’ll come back again and again.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.