LEAWOOD, Kan. – This year, NBC Action News is following the progress of three new businesses that opened in the midst of the economic downturn. It's the third quarter, and we returned to WestChase Grille for a follow-up visit.Leawood's latest fine dining establishment opened on Nov. 20, 2008. WestChase is owned by John Westerhaus and Chase Wilcox. Despite the economy, they say business is good.“In the last 8 months, we've been doing great,” John Westerhaus explains. “Business grows from week to week and month to month. Our lunches continue to get stronger. Our dinner business continues to get stronger.”Westerhaus say the biggest increases have been in private dining and banquets. They have two rooms in the back perfect for rehearsal dinners, business meetings or just a large group of friends. The summer weather has also been great for their patio business as well. In fact, their covered patio just earned them the first of several new awards.
“We were recently voted the #2 patio for outdoor dining for Kansas City, in all of Kansas City, by diners of OpenTable.com, and so we were really happy to get that award,” Westerhaus said.
WestChase is several months into their new summer menu, which Westerhaus says has led to some business boosting changes.
“Since you were here last, we did a couple of big things. We put more items on the menu that were a lower price point, and that has helped out a lot. And we started running daily specials, probably 2 or 3 months ago on both food and drink.”
For example, on Tuesdays, their desserts and wines-by-the-glass are half price. It's an impressive wine list that continues to grow. Most recently, they added some vineyards from Argentina, which have been especially popular. Their summer menu also includes more appetizers suitable for sharing; and more fresh fish.
“We get our delivery at least once a day,” Westerhaus said. “And sometimes we get seafood twice a day, so it's as fresh as you can possibly get.”
Westerhaus says the changes are working and watching the repeat customers return says it all. A recent customer survey helped. Now they just hope to continue building on their strengths as they head toward their fourth quarter and their one year anniversary in November.
“What we want to do is provide the best service we can. We want to have the best food quality we can. And just stick to the fundamentals. And that has served us well.”
NBC Action News will continue following these three new businesses throughout 2009. Next week, we'll check in on MLB Designs on the Plaza to see how they're fairing in the 3rd quarter. Last week, we brought you the latest on MedExpress Labs
in Overland Park.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.