Todd Johnson’s restaurants, Strip’s Chicken, are known for their tenders and chicken sandwiches.
But he hopes his newest spot, by Ikea at 5831 Merriam Drive, will be equally renowned for its beer. Unlike his locations in Waldo and Olathe, the new Strip’s is also a bar.
Strip’s Chicken Strips & Dive Bar opened in Merriam Sept. 19 in the old Blondie’s. It had been Bilski’s Bar & Grill for 15 years, and another bar for decades before that, Johnson said.
Johnson’s new place has adopted the previous spots’ regulars.
“We’ve gotten lots of great reviews,” he said.
Johnson has given the space a major update. It now features a Chiefs “fan cave” for football viewing, pool and other games. An outdoor patio seats customers during warm weather.
“We’ll be a fun place to go, regardless of what people have to drink,” he said.
The Merriam spot has old menu favorites, like a chicken wrap, pork rinds and honey-kissed crispy nuggets.
Plus, the bar serves a specialty Cabeza de Vaca beer brewed by Sandhills Brewing in Mission.
The drink is a nod to Johnson’s previous brewing business in Chanute, Kansas, which operated from 2005 to 2008. Safari Brewing Co.’s most popular beer was also called Cabeza de Vaca, or cow head.
Johnson isn’t surprised, but the beer is Strip’s top drink, too.
“It’s light, refreshing,” he said. “It’s really been popular.”
Strip’s other locations are at 1110 E. Santa Fe Drive in Olathe and 420 W. 85th St.
His bar will be open at 11 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Its kitchen closes at 10 p.m., but Johnson said it will stay open for patrons at the bar. They’re testing out later hours, he said.