KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, barbecue restaurants are preparing to reopen, with one well-known establishment already opening its dining room in Kansas.
Q39’s Overland Park location is welcoming customers with new procedures in place, including sanitizing “commonly touched surfaces” every 30 minutes, according to Q39 business manager Kelly Magee.
"It's lifting our spirits seeing people come back and enjoying a great meal," Magee said.
But regardless of which barbecue establishment patrons choose, dining will occur from a social distance – Six feet or 10 feet between tables. Jack Stack's Freight House location reopens Friday, with an adjusted dining room.
"We've gone down from 12 tables in the main dining room to four. That's all you can fit," Jack Stack Freight House general manager Tyler Banker said.
Arthur Bryant's Barbecue is prepared to socially distance, too, according to owner Jerry Rauschelbach.
"We've installed our tables in three different rooms, and tables outside when the weather turns for us a bit," Rauschelbach said.
And as doors reopen for Kansas City's barbecue community, there's a looming concern - the rising price of meat due to coronavirus outbreaks at meat plants across the country.
"I feel bad for those paying $6.60, which I was quoted for today," said Rauschelbach, who told 41 Action News he has enough brisket for his restaurant until October. "If I had to pay that kind of money for brisket, I would take it off the menu."
The biggest problem, according to Magee, will be cost.
“We're not sure how quickly those costs jump up,” Magee said. “We're going to try to keep our costs down as best we can."
Yet, there's an air of optimism as Kansas City’s signature dish will soon be served in person again.
"I tell my staff all the time, you're not in the food business, you're in the people business," Rauschelbach said.