New Johnson County restaurant just opened, offering healthy options in the BBQ capital

Kansas City is famous for its guilty pleasure of barbecue — heaps of brisket smothered in sauce, with baked beans and fries.

Johnson County’s newest restaurant has none of that. But Rob McColgan, co-founder of Colorado-based Modern Market Eatery, hopes his healthy offerings will be just as palatable to Kansas Citians. It’s the kind of food you can enjoy every day, McColgan said, without compromising your diet.

“We don’t just do salads. We don’t just do bowls,” he said. “Sandwiches, pizza — it’s something for everybody.”

Modern Market opened in Prairie Village’s Corinth Square on Monday at 4046 W. 83rd St. The lunch and dinner spot is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Some of its meals are vegan, vegetarian and gluten free, but nothing on the menu contains additives or preservatives. “No artificial anything,” declares a sign on the wall.

“Everything is made in the restaurant,” McColgan said. “It’s all cooked back there.”

Modern Market Eatery opened in Prairie Village’s Corinth Square Monday.
Modern Market Eatery opened in Prairie Village’s Corinth Square Monday.

Modern Market offers seasonal specialties, like its current option of garlic mushroom pizza. Other items include its grain bowls and salads, like its lox salmon bowl (salmon, spring mix, watermelon radish, egg, avocado and everything spice.)

The restaurant also offers a few sweets — cookies, marshmallow treats and waffles.

The store’s opening Monday saw a steady stream of customers. Jon Rolph, president of franchisee Thrive Restaurant Group, watched as a crowd took their lunch to go. A few others dined in at high-tops and booths.

“I see a lot of happy faces,” Rolph said. “I love the smell of the fresh food coming out.”

Modern Market has locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Austin and Dallas. Thrive owns Modern Market’s Austin and Kansas City stores. The franchise group also owns Wichita-based HomeGrown, a breakfast/lunch restaurant with locations in Brookside at 338 W. 63rd St. and Leawood at 1705 Roe Ave.

Earlier this year, Rolph told The Star that Modern Market would open at the beginning of December, calling it an “early Christmas present” to Kansas City.

Modern Market moved into the old Growing Days home store, which was operated by “Bargain Mansions” star Tamara Day and closed earlier this year.

The eatery joins other new health-centered restaurants in Kansas City. Bibibop Asian Grill just opened its third Kansas City area location in Shawnee at 22235 W 66th St., in a former Chipotle.

Early next year, locally owned Whole Harvest will open its first restaurant in Leawood’s Town Center Plaza at 4853 W. 117th St.