Restaurant Spotlight: JJ’s Restaurant

A Kansas City institution with classic cuisine and a rebuilt wine program that’s better than ever

Restaurant Spotlight: JJ’s Restaurant
The longstanding wine program at JJ's Restaurant is supported by a cellar inventory of about 11,000 bottles. (Courtesy of JJ's Restaurant)
Dec 3, 2020

JJ's Restaurant has been an institution in Kansas City, Mo., for over 30 years. Opened in 1985 by Jimmy Frantze, the restaurant offers American cuisine and an exceptional wine selection, which earned its first Wine Spectator Restaurant Award in 1990.

After a gas explosion destroyed the original location and thousands of wine bottles in 2013, the team has been working on rebuilding and growing the wine list. In 2015, the program was upgraded to Best of Award of Excellence, and it now boasts an inventory of nearly 11,000 bottles. Managed by longtime wine director Matt Nichols, the list has over 1,200 labels, including at least 30 wines available by the glass. The list is especially focused on reds from California, Bordeaux and Burgundy, but offers strong selections from Italy, Champagne and Portugal.

The restaurant is currently operating with indoor dining and is also hosting seasonal wine dinners with pairings from chef Julio Juarez. His everyday menu emphasizes steak and seafood dishes like lobster, purses stuffed with shrimp and goat cheese, pork cheek with white-bean cassoulet and black angus ribeye.

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