Plan to open Grinders Roadhouse in Lenexa meets resistance

LENEXA, Kan. - In the middle of a Friday afternoon, almost every table and stool is taken at Grinders. The busy restaurant is always full of an eclectic mix of customers.

Grinders has made a lot of noise gaining a national reputation for its food and unique concert venue right downtown. A large stage faces a larger outdoor field all nestled between downtown's brick and mortar.

But it's the possibility of that noise crossing over into Johnson County, Kan., that's grinding some nerves at 103rd & Pflumm in Lenexa.

Debbie Ball has gathered dozens of neighbor signatures protesting plans for Grinders Roadhouse using the buildings that, for decades, housed Stonewall Inn restaurant.

"I've gone to concerts there and I love it, but I don't want it in my backyard. None of us do," Ball said. Her backyard sits across Pflumm and just 150 feet from the property.

"We're just really upset our city government is going to allow this to go through," she said.

What went through are zoning changes, higher noise levels and special event permits. Plans show a stage will be built and permits will allow up to 300 people. That worries neighbors that this quaint compound will soon look more like downtown.

"Grinder's Roadhouse is going to be completely different than Grinders downtown," insists owner, STRETCH. He said he's not setting the stage for massive shows.

"The kids can come do skits on it. We can have live music, but it is not what we're doing downtown," he said. "We're trying to keep the integrity of good food, good neighbors and good family values in that area."

Debbie Ball hopes he's right.

"We're hopeful that they will come in and do the right thing," she said.

Unless city officials change their mind, plans are approved. STRETCH already owns the property and hopes to open Grinders Roadhouse by this summer.

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