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Award-Winning Chef Innovates at Q39

Rob Magee Puts Fun Twists on His Nationally Recognized Techniques

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Article by Allison Swan

Photography by Paul Versluis

Originally published in Johnson County Lifestyle

National barbecue champion Chef Rob Magee serves his award-winning, chef-driven barbecue at Q39. Named after its original location in Midtown on 39th Street, they opened their second location in Overland Park three years later in 2017. Smoky-sweet barbecue aromas coming from their innovative open kitchen fill the expansive urban-rustic dining room and bar, inviting guests to stay and enjoy a meal they’ll never forget.

“We are a full-service barbecue and wood-fired grill restaurant,” Magee says. “We have craft cocktails, locally brewed beers, wine selections, an open kitchen and a rustic yet contemporary atmosphere that’s wide open with lots of windows. It’s a fun and exciting environment watching the chefs in the open kitchen.”

With a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, experience in the finest kitchens across the country, over a decade in the barbecue competition circuit and a lifelong passion for cooking, it’s no surprise that once Magee introduced Kansas City to his wood-fired grilled fare in 2014, it was an instant success. Since Q39’s opening, Magee quickly proved himself to be a major player in one of the world’s most competitive barbecue markets.

“I was on the barbecue circuit for over 12 years, and through that, I was the No. 1 team in the nation twice, reserved grand champion once and was in the top 10 seven years in a row. I took my competition barbecue, which was named best in the nation, and the techniques used to win and applied it to Q39’s menu. Then, I put a twist on it and came up with innovative and fun barbecue items to put on our menu, which is what makes us so different than everybody else.”

Standout starters include their best wings on the planet, pork belly and sausage corn dogs served with maple syrup and classic barbecue sauce, smoked beef brisket poutine and their Buffalo cauliflower florets served with buttermilk dressing. 

Their most popular dishes include competition barbecue dinner plates, Mr. Burns burnt end sandwich topped with chipotle barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese and onion straws and their brisket burgers.

“We grind in-house half chuck and half brisket, hand-form our patties and cook them over an oak grill. My favorite is the burnt end burger topped with sliced burnt ends, classic sauce and a spicy pickle slaw. It’s one of those things where you wonder why a barbecue restaurant has burgers on their menu, but we have barbecue burgers, which is really cool.”

Try one of the chef’s favorite new sandwiches such as their grilled pork belly sandwich topped with bacon onion marmalade, sliced granny smith apples and dijon aioli.

“It’s exciting, whimsical and it gives another elevation on our menu that no one else does.”

Magee says Q39 is diligent in keeping quality, consistent standards.

“We want great service, great food and a clean environment, and we hold true to that. The layers of flavor keep guests coming back. When you take a bite, it’s not all about sauce—you taste the meat, some sauce that’s sweet with spice, and then you try a side like our cucumber onion salad, orzo pasta salad, baked beans or white bean cassoulet.  We keep the menu new and change it up, so it keeps guests coming back to try new things. "

Recently they put out 15 new menu items and only removed six, and in another six to nine months, they'll revamp the menu again.

“We’re constantly growing and improving,” Magee adds. “There’s not a day that we don’t look at what we do and think we can do better. We’ll continue to do the best, bring on new menu items and keep it fresh and exciting.”
 

Q39

1000 W 39th St, Kansas City, Missouri, (816) 531-7243

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