Next spring, dog lovers and their canine counterparts will have a new place to play in Kansas City.
Bar K, a new dog park featuring a full restaurant and bar, plans to open on two acres of “found” land at the western edge of Berkley Riverfront Park. The concept will be located under the Heart of America bridge, providing year-round coverage for dogs and their owners.
David Hensley and Leib Dodell are the minds behind Bar K – they found themselves wishing there were more dog-friendly places in Kansas City that were just as much fun for dog owners.
“We are both dog-lovers with normal full-time jobs, and we were looking for a place where we could grab a coffee or cocktail and bring our dogs,” says Dodell, who is the proud owner of Benji and Bear. “We thought if we wanted this type of place to exist in Kansas City, that we might be solving this problem for others like us looking for the same shared experience with other dog lovers.”
As a lawyer working in the insurance business, Dodell decided that if this project was to get off the ground, it would need to be his full-time pursuit. After several years, he found the perfect location at Berkley Riverfront Park and willing partners in the Kansas City Port Authority (Port KC).
“This type of project takes a special parcel of land and unique zoning, and Port KC, for being a governmental agency, was extremely supportive of our vision for Bar K and understood right away what we were trying to achieve with leasing this land from them,” Dodell says.
The two-acre parcel of land, under the Heart of America bridge, was not suitable for development, which is why it was seen as “found” land by Port KC.
Bar K will feature a large dog park with separate areas for smaller and larger dogs. Employees will watch and play with the dogs while guests are inside enjoying a meal or a drink at Bar K.
The physical structure of the restaurant will be made from shipping containers and have a modern aesthetic. They plan to hire a chef to run the restaurant and develop the menu for the space, which will have a full kitchen, bathrooms and a large indoor dining room with conference area for meetings. Outside, guests will find a large outdoor patio where they can bring dogs on a leash. No dogs will be allow inside of the restaurant and bar area at Bar K.
Dodell is a minor investor in The Rieger, and has asked Ryan Maybee, co-owner of The Rieger and Manifesto, to develop the cocktail menu for Bar K along with a suitable beer and wine list.
Dodell and his partner describe the food as “heathy casual.” Bar K will feature quick, casual counter service open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant will be open seven days a week from 7am to 10pm. They also plan to offer both vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.
“We care about the quality of food and drink that will be served at Bar K, and we see breakfast featuring egg sandwiches, breakfast tacos and yogurt and fruit, where lunch and dinner will be fresh and healthy soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis and wraps and we plan to offer a full cold-pressed juice bar,” he says.
In an effort to start to raise awareness for their new venture, the partners hosted their first “Pup-Up” party on the land where they plan to build Bar K. More than 700 people and 300 dogs turned up for the event.
In order to keep the momentum going while the space is under construction, they have now launched a IndieGoGo page for Bar K, where people can pre-pay for their dog's membership at a savings. Annual memberships, which will provide unlimited access to the supervised dog park, will typically run at $149, but pre-purchased memberships are available for only $100 annually.
“We launched our IndieGoGo page to crowd-fund some of the overhead that we anticipate we will have once we open in terms of the labor it will take to man and physically care for the dog park area,” Dodell says.
Bar K plans to open in the Spring of 2017.
For more information or to donate to the project, visit Bar K's IndieGoGo page.