Grinders High Noon opens Oct. 28 in Leavenworth

The bar (at right) has been fashioned out of an old airplane wing.

The bar (at right) has been fashioned out of an old airplane wing.

Beer goes with pizza. And now STRETCH (Jeff Rumaner) has a brewery to match his growing restaurant business. The owner of Grinders will open his second new restaurant in 17 months when Grinders High Noon (206 Choctaw Street) opens in Leavenworth on Wednesday, October 28.

Stretch purchased the High Noon Saloon and Brewery earlier this year and began renovations three months ago.

“I wanted to ‘Stretch-ify’ a cool old space, but just tweak it,” Stretch says. ” It’s about taking the old and mixing in the new without losing the flavor and essence of the space. This place has a huge history and the last thing I want to do is disrupt it by doing a 180.”

The brewery originally opened in 1995. RD and Anna Johnson, who co-founded the brewery, purchased the adjacent restaurant in 1998. It’s in a brick three-story building that dates back to just after the Civil War. Kansas City drinkers may know the brewery best for Annie’s Amber Ale (you can likely picture the blue can) or the Oregon Trail Raspberry Wheat.

“The brewery wasn’t something I was looking for, it’s something that just kind of happened,” Stretch syas. “But with the whole beer movement right now and everything that’s going on, I think it’s going to be exciting.”

Stretch purchased another historic property in Lenexa last year. The Stonewall Inn re-opened as Grinders at Stonewall last summer. It featured custom tap handles constructed by Stretch and a ceiling adorned with road signs.

With Fort Leavenworth just a few miles away, Grinders High Noon’s decor is, in part, a salute to the military. The walls will be adorned with Stretch’s collection of coins, plaques and ephemera from his time spent traveling and cooking for the troops. The light fixtures over the bar are old army helmets — the dining room lights are framed by old go-kart tires — and the bar top is has the tail-elevator from a DC-9 airplane.

“I’m still designing sculptures, they’re just not in galleries any more,” Stretch says.

The menu will be similar to the three other Grinders locations. The restaurant will focus on pizza, as well as barbecue. A new Myron Mixon smoker will run on pecan and fruit wood. Stretch points to a pair of barbecue sandwiches that he expects to be hits — the Mixon (brisket topped with shoestring onions, Swiss cheese and barbecue sauce) and the piggy pork sliders (pulled pork with a mango tri-color slaw on a pretzel bun).

“We’ll have the same great food, just a little more barbecue,” Stretch says.

Like the Lenexa location, Grinders High Noon will have a strong bent toward craft beer with 31 brews on tap and 100 total offerings. The property has the brewery on site and Stretch is in the midst of a search for a brewmaster. He expects to have the brewing operation up and running in 2016. And he’d like to do growlers to go.

Stretch also purchased the rights to the recipes for the brews produced by the High Noon Saloon and Brewery, including the raspberry wheat which folks in Leavenworth have already been asking him to bring back. Stretch would like to have the beer brewed at High Noon at all three of his restaurants and has a unique idea for the kinds of beers they would make.

“I could imagine us bringing in guest brewers and allowing them to scale up a recipe,” Stretch says. “This one is really about being open to the community.”

[Images courtesy of Grinders]

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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