‘Not the new guys’: Barbecue restaurant heads to northern Overland Park, replaces Maui Express on Shawnee Mission Parkway

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A new barbecue restaurant is headed to northern Overland, replacing the former Maui Express location at 7702 Shawnee Mission Parkway. 

Smoketown BBQ KC will be a family owned and operated restaurant and will have a combined 120 years of experience on staff, worker Shannon Hammer said. The BBQ restaurant is expected to open in late August or early September. 

Hammer and her family wanted to open a restaurant after the one they’d worked at — which Hammer asked not to be named since Smoketown is completely separate — closed.

Smoketown BBQ KC’s pitmasters are Brian White and Mike Barnhart. Photo credit Danny White/Urban Shutter KC.

“We were at a family owned restaurant and the owner of that restaurant decided he wanted to retire and he was finished — but we were not, so, we went our own way,” Hammer said. 

The barbecue restaurant will replace the former teriyaki bowl restaurant Maui Express that temporarily closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, and never opened back up. Hammer said the Shawnee Mission Parkway location was an easy choice as the hustle and bustle of the thoroughfare will benefit the restaurant. 

As the family navigates opening in the midst of a pandemic, Garcia said they’re still excited about the opening despite having to focus on COVID-19 safety measures. 

Customers can expect to wear masks and remain socially distant when Smoketown opens, which will be either late August or early September. Constant sanitizing, limited capacity and carryout options are also part of Smoketown’s safety measures.  

The Smoketown Throwdown is made with thick cut brisket, two slices of bacon, onion rings, barbecue sauce and cheese. Photo credit Danny White/Urban Shutter KC.

Additionally, the family has already created their signature dish: The Smoketown Throwdown. The Smoketown Throwdown is about a pound of sandwich, made with half a pound of thick-cut brisket, topped with onion rings, melted cheese, sauce and two pieces of bacon. Other menu items include burnt ends, ribs and chicken wings. 

Hammer said Smoketown is ready to take on the Kansas City barbecue scene, and Terri said the team’s experience will show for itself. 

 “We’re not the new guys, we’re just on a new adventure,” Terri said.

About the author

Juliana Garcia
Juliana Garcia

👋 Hi! I’m Juliana Garcia, and I cover Prairie Village and northeast Johnson County for the Johnson County Post.

I grew up in Roeland Park and graduated from Shawnee Mission North before going on to the University of Kansas, where I wrote for the University Daily Kansan and earned my bachelor’s degree in  journalism. Prior to joining the Post in 2019, I worked as an intern at the Kansas City Business Journal.