Successful BBQ startup opens location inside KCK Nebraska Furniture Mart

Marc LaVoie
December 05, 2019 - 4:00 am
Barbecue meats and other food served on a cold cut board

Blind Box Barbecue

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The idea of putting restaurants inside retail stores is not a new one, and it's becoming popular again.

Today's shopper expects a lot more than the simple menu people remember from a K-Mart cafe from the 80s. Retailers are opening higher quality eateries as a way to extend the shopping experience and to encourage people to turn off their laptops and take their business to a traditional brick-and-mortar location.

A while back, Nebraska Furniture Mart reached out to Blind Box Barbecue with a proposal to follow up their successful restaurant in Shawnee with a second location in KCK. Joe Tulipana is the owner of Blind Box, a 4-year-old enterprise with a fresh approach to a local staple. 

"Being the new kids on the block, we had to do something a little different," Joe said. "Our mantra is, a modern take on classic Kansas City barbecue."

Blind Box has a loyal following for its traditional barbecue fare combined with unique offerings, like BBQ nachos, smoked pork belly sliders and BBQ wontons.

When it came to opening the new restaurant inside the big box store, the people at Blind Box chose a trial by fire over the soft opening, which is an unannounced opening that attracts few customers, so the staff can get up to speed. They've been very busy since they opened the day before Thanksgiving. 

"We met, discussed some details and the deal was done extremely quickly," Joe said. "They've been great to work with. We're super excited."

Blind Box has a liquor license, and Joe said this is the first time alcoholic beverages have been sold in any Nebraska Furniture Mart location.

The NFM Blind Box is much larger than the original location, and it includes a 4,000 square foot patio.

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