- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - An upscale Kansas City restaurant leveled last year by a gas explosion that killed one worker and injured several others plans will reopen this summer across the street from its previous site, owners announced Wednesday.

Brothers Jimmy and David Frantze, owners of JJ’s restaurant, said they will open a 4,800-square-foot restaurant and bar in the lobby of the new Plaza Vista building a few blocks from Country Club Plaza, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1ifmzMp) reported.

The business has been closed since Feb. 19, 2013, when an explosion caused by a natural gas leak killed server Megan Cramer, destroyed the restaurant and damaged two neighboring buildings.

The explosion at JJ’s occurred after a crew for Heartland Midwest, an Olathe, Kan.-based cable company subcontractor, breached a natural gas supply line with an underground borer. Fumes from that leak filled the building and were ignited, possibly by a pilot light, according to a Kansas City Fire Department investigation

Jimmy Frantze said he expects about 90 percent of his former employees to return.

“We’re coming back from the ashes,” he said. “I’m ready to go to work. I miss the business. I miss the people.”

The Frantzes considered rebuilding on the original JJ’s site, but they said the bids that came in were “insanely expensive.”

The Plaza Vista building, which opened in November, seemed like the perfect fit, Jimmy Frantze said.

Employees of the Polsinelli law firm - which has its national headquarters in the Plaza Vista building - have long supported JJ’s, Frantze said. Also, the new restaurant will have a large outdoor patio and abundant parking.

A corner yellow brick facade and front entryway tile are nearly all that remain of the original JJ’s site, and the Frantze brothers said they haven’t decided what to do with the property.

The two neighboring buildings damaged in the blast have not yet been repaired.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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