That's the Rub
"I'm hoping to raise the standards of barbecue in the Springs," says Angelo Zarlengo, who recently opened the mobile business Rub N' Grub KC BBQ (rubngrubkcbbq.com, coming soon).
Zarlengo backs his big talk with 20-plus years' experience and the legitimacy of having grown up in Kansas City, where among cookouts, friends on the competition circuit and proximity to notable places like Arthur Bryant's and Gates Bar-B-Q, he was "completely surrounded" by barbecue culture.
The result is a slow-cooked style with some dry-rub incorporation and hickory smoke, plus an infusion of influences that he believes typifies K.C. style as a melting pot borrowing from other regions' successes. But what really sets Rub N' Grub apart, Zarlengo says, are four house sauces. On the savory side, there's a vinegar-based regular, then a spicy version kicked up with chili powder and ghost chili extract. On the sweet, he offers a Jim Beam-based bourbon sauce and a Java Sauce made with coffee.
Put them on the standard meat cuts or chicken drumsticks, and look for specialty sides like a Southwest-style coleslaw and his "KC Brisket Tators," basically cheesy potatoes with a layer of brisket in the middle. Currently, find Rub N' Grub on Fridays and Saturdays at Fieldhouse Brewing Company, with more locations to follow soon.
The former Tony's spot at 311 N. Tejon St., will, by mid-November or so, open as Odyssey Gastropub (odysseygastropub, soon).
Though the venture doesn't actually represent an epic journey home for anyone in particular, managing member Jenny Schnakenberg does share restaurant history with co-MM Tyler Sherman and one of the investors, Raphael Sassower — all of whom had a hand in the early days of the Mining Exchange. Plus, she worked for Sassower when he operated the Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery.
Who's Who aside, Schnakenberg says the intent for Odyssey is to fill an in-between niche, for people who desire higher-end food in a casual setting, without laying down $50 per person for dinner.
"The goal is to have a smaller, but well-executed menu, with a focus on customer service," she says. "We won't be turn-'n-burn."
Expect craft beer, creative cocktails and smaller plates, with details coming after a chef and lead mixologist are hired. Layout-wise, even though the space has been "gutted," Schnakenberg says to look for a setup similar to Tony's once it's reconstructed because of electrical and plumbing access.
And the name: "It's about the adventure," she says. "Not knowing exactly where we're going yet. The ending will be a surprise."