Surf and turf is up, Mission. Longboards, the wrap and rice bowl shop, will be opening at 5415 Johnson Drive in late summer.
“We want to be like In-N-Out Burger. They’re so small and so efficient,” co-owner Gilbert Macapagal says. “We’d rather take our time and do it right. Our target is longevity.”
This will be the third location for Macapagal and fellow owner John Bailey, who opened the original Longboards at 6269 North Oak Trafficway in Gladstone a decade ago and a second eatery at 1173 West Kansas Street in Liberty in July 2012.
“We’re not like Chipotle or McDonald’s,” Bailey says. “We can’t just plunk one down anywhere in the United States and send out a team. It’s just us.”
The duo began scouting locations in Overland Park last September. Most were further south, which the pair decided was too far out from their current locations, but haven’t ruled out as possibilities in the future. The new shop in Mission Mart, a former Little Caesars, could be open as soon as late July or August says Bailey.
“We knew we wanted to be south of the river,” Bailey says. “And this spot fit what we wanted to do.”
The idea for Longboards can be traced back to Macapagal’s days as a sous chef in the corporate kitchen at Cerner. For specials, he started creating wraps meant to evoke the Southern California burrito, if it were stuffed with hummus or Indian curry.
“You can put anything on a tortilla,” Macapagal says. “I could take a fried chicken breast and mashed potatoes and wrap them up.”
Macapagal’s willingness to combine unorthodox ingredients and grill them in a tortilla press became the foundation of a fast casual restaurant that is more smash-up than fusion — bringing together Asian, American and Mexican influences in one bowl or wrap. He chose to partner with Bailey, a childhood friend from Kansas City with an MBA, who had worked previously for Sprint and Accenture.
“Gilbert’s flavors really stand out,” Bailey says of the man he’s known since high school. “At Longboards he chooses to work with Pacific and Polynesian flavors, but he could throw anything in a wrap and I’d eat it.”
The restaurant launched with wraps and salad and rice bowls. The Cabo Beef — steak, guacamole, pico, rice and chipotle ranch with melted pepperjack in a grilled chipotle wrap — is the most requested dish in the restaurant. It’s super-sized cousin — the 619, which comes with shrimp, olives, bacon and a hard-boiled egg, in addition to the standard Cabo ingredients — is nearly as popular. Over the past decade, in-demand specials like the Hawaiian sliders (Hawaiian rolls loaded with imitation crab, pork, chicken and pepperjack, or hummus and smoked tofu) have become regular menu items.
While the set-up will be similar in the third location, Bailey and Macapagal hope to expand their catering operation with sliders and wraps on party trays.
“The big challenge for us going into a new place is that not everybody has heard of us,” Bailey says. “We’ve to impress everybody all over again and keep our game as high as we can.”[Image via Facebook: Longboards]