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Lawn to Table 

It’s a beautiful spring morning as I take a seat at a small table within the airy interior of the Lenexa Public Market. Matt Moore, owner of Martin City Brewing Company, sits across from me, having rushed over from the site of his newest pizza/taproom concept, a 6,000 square foot space set to open within Lenexa City Center. Its launch will mark the sixth Martin City Brewing Company location within the area. 

For a business that’s barely ten years old and has survived an industry shaking pandemic, it’s an extraordinarily impressive feat. 

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Probably because I wasn’t good at taking orders,” he laughs. “I never expected any of this.”

So how did this burgeoning franchise get its start? Back in 2011, Moore was focused on cutting grass, not pizza – running a landscaping business he founded and operated out of his home. But food and beer were never far from his mind. Moore had grown up in the restaurant industry. His family owns the Martin City staple, Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse, where Moore worked from age ten until he headed off to study accounting at UMKC. And beer had always been a passion project. He’d been homebrewing for years with his friend and future business partner, Chance Adams. 

At the time, Moore had recently purchased a vacant building in Martin City, intended to serve as the storage facility and office for his landscaping business. But shortly after taking possession, Moore and Adams had an idea: why not turn their passion project into a business plan? And on June 3rd, 2011, the first Martin City Brewing Company – launched as a brewpub – opened its doors at 500 East 135th Street. Less than three years later, Martin City Pizza and Taproom opened right next door. The new location featured an on-site microbrewery, which allowed the introduction of Martin City’s initial line of beers, including their flagship brew, the Belgian Blonde. 

As for food, Martin City Brewing Company is known for their Neapolitan pizzas. And for good reason: they are pure pleasure on a plate. But don’t sleep on the rest of the menu. “We had insane foodies in that kitchen from day one,” notes Moore. “They were pretty much given wild abandon to do whatever they could to make the food memorable. We spent a lot of time on the pizza and I'm very proud of it and how it has developed.” In 2021, the original Martin City location, now re-branded as Coast to Coast Pub, brought in Chef Dan Uche, who spent 25 years at Bristol. Uche has turned the former brew pub into a sneaky spot for some top-level seafood. Be sure to stop in to sample the Rappahannock oysters, flown in fresh from Virginia. The tuna tartare and fried catfish are also standouts. 

Looking to get in a little lake time? About 35 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City, nestled between Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit, sits Lake Lotawana. This burgeoning town is becoming quite the hot spot for a weekend getaway. It’s also the setting for Station 7, Martin City Brewing Company’s newest pizza and taproom concept. Situated just off Highway 7 at the former site of a gas station (thus the name), Station 7 includes a sprawling, dog-friendly, outdoor patio complete with yard games and live music. Early birds will enjoy Love, Coffee, which serves up morning treats like breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls along with a hot cup of joe. Moore, who has four children, all under the age of 11, notes that his foray into coffee is directly tied to his lack of sleep. “We opened our first Love, Coffee location in Lee’s Summit about four years ago and started roasting about six months ago. With a bunch of restaurants and small children to wrangle, I found myself drinking less beer and more coffee, so it became an interest,” he chuckles. More of a night owl than an early riser? Station 7 is open late (10pm Sun-Thurs, 11pm Fri-Sat), for those looking for a bite before bed. 

So, beyond delicious food and beer, what’s the secret behind Martin City Brewing Company’s steady expansion? For Matt Moore, it starts with attitude. “What we preach is to really care about our customers, make that human connection. The message to my kids and my staff is just to be better today than you were yesterday. Whatever happened yesterday, learn from that.”

If you’re looking for a cold beer, a great meal, friendly staff, and owners that truly care about the community they serve, look no further. 

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