bar k's kansas city location photo courtesy bar k

Bar K will offer St. Louis diners a new dog-friendly option next year

The dog days of summer will now extend into winter as Kansas City-based Bar K, a dog-friendly restaurant concept now under construction, works to open their second location at 4565 McRee Ave. in early 2021. The restaurant, located in an industrial area between the Hill and Botanical Heights, will occupy the former Cardinal Building Materials warehouse.

Founding partner Leib Dodell said he hopes the space, which will feature a 10,000-square foot indoor off-leash play space, as well as a two-acre outdoor park, will give the dogs of St. Louis an opportunity to roam a little more freely.

“We think of Bar K as kind of like an ‘urban oasis.’ There’s so many dogs in urban areas that maybe don’t get to live their best lives, don’t get to run, engage, and socialize and climb on things. … We give them that opportunity to explore their inner dog and do the things that dogs like to do,” Dodell said. 

Given the restaurant’s multiple facets, Dodell wants to ensure food remains a focal point at Bar K as well. 

“We were very mindful when developing the concept not to fall into the trap of viewing food and beverage as an afterthought," he said. "It would have been easy to do that like, ‘Oh, we got a cool concept, we have a dog park and the food can be modest because nobody has high expectations,’ and that was not our approach. We wanted the food and beverage experience to stand on its own.”

“We call our menu ‘healthy-casual.’ We think it is sort of a cut above typical bar food," he said. "Our core customers – dog people – tend to be active, outdoorsy, health-conscious, progressive. So, we emphasize, healthy, locally sourced ingredients wherever possible."

Menu items range from buffalo chicken wraps to tuna poke bowls to vegan pasta dishes. Dodell also plans to put a local spin on the development of the St. Louis menu and include classics like toasted ravioli as well as locally distilled spirits and draft beer.

Bar K will also feature a 3,000-square foot outdoor space where local shelters can host adoption events and a stage, which will feature local live entertainment regularly. Two private event spaces, one for dogs and humans and one for people only, will also be available.

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