The Kansas City area barbecue has its own restaurant



Harp Barbecue operates out of Crane Brewing in Raytown.

Since 2019, Raytown’s Harp Barbecue has been drawing long lines for its weekend pop-ups, as well as some national “best barbecue” lists.

Now, founder Tyler Harp has signed a lease for his own dining space. It hopes to open at 6633 Raytown Road, Raytown, in November.

His father, uncle and their friends were keen competitors on the barbecue competition circuit when he was growing up and he often followed them. After high school, he worked in a butcher shop and then at Hereford House, but he continued to hone his barbecue skills on the side.

In 2016, he set up his smokehouse in the driveway of his house in Independence and began selling barbecues by word of mouth.

Harp has been running a Saturday pop-up at Crane Brewing in Raytown since March 2019 and added Friday hours about 18 months ago. Customers form long queues that wind through the brewery’s back rooms, and Harp often sells out – with fans groaning when they see a favorite crossed off the list.

The menu typically includes beef brisket, ribs, pulled pork, jalapeno cheese sausage, and turkey. Sides include Cheesy Corn, Tater Tot Casserole, Sweet Potato Burnt Ends, and Baked Beans.

Its new location is within walking distance of Crane Brewing.

“We have been looking for a long time. It’s good to get rid of that weight,” he said. “We’re still in Raytown, where we put our roots down, and we’re still off the Rock Island Trail. But it will be nice to have real car traffic.

“There are still a lot of people in Raytown who don’t know where we are. We are just a bit hidden in the industrial park.

He plans to hire a dozen workers. The former Mexican restaurant will also be redesigned to give it the look of a barbecue restaurant.

“Now that we have a kitchen, we’re going to expand the menu,” Harp said. “But we’re not going to go crazy from the start. It will be a slow process.

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Joyce Smith has been covering restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the Cityscape brand. She appreciates topical advice.


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