Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Chuy’s: A Gift to Overland Park’s Cuisine Scene

By  0 Comments

What often differentiates a family-owned diner from a restaurant chain? It’s the intimate little details and stories behind it as well as the people who built it. General Manager and former Kitchen Manager of the plaza location, Jake Bloom, is a man on a mission, determined to deliver fresh food and a unique, quality dining experience filled with charming stories, all backed by the affirmation of a successful chain.

The fiesta begins as soon as you walk through the doors. Once you’re greeted by warm hosts, vibrant interior trimmings and the soft roar of happy customers, just follow the aromatic trail of spices past the bar area, decked out in dog décor, to find your seat among palm trees.  

The brand-new Overland Park venue is the third, following the success of the Plaza and Olathe locations. Jake’s fortuity to bring Chuy’s to the area was rooted in his past endeavors. “I was very intrigued by the brand,” he said. “Chuy’s incorporates green chiles into every dish on the menu. I used to live in New Mexico and green chiles were involved in everything. When I moved to Kansas City, I struggled to find that flavor.”

The green chiles are imported straight from the fields of Hatch, New Mexico. The natural, unprocessed ingredients are the star of this restaurant. “Chuy’s is a scratch kitchen; everything here is made fresh,” Jake said. “I appreciate it. Being in the restaurant industry as long as I have, I know you can truly taste the difference.” The kitchen staff has one rule to ensure palatable excellence in each dish: “If you wouldn’t serve it to your mom, don’t serve it.”

I can vouch for the attentiveness to flavor after tasting a savory array of customer favorites. Start off with the Appetizer Plate, an inviting starter composed of quesadillas, spicy chicken flautas, heavily topped nachos, fresh guacamole and a hearty cup of chile con queso to drizzle over the dish. A lighter beginning to your dining experience can be found in the classic Taco Salad. Choose your protein to sit atop a lush bed of mixed greens, ripe tomatoes, cheese and guacamole, all tucked into a crunchy homemade tortilla bowl. 

The ever-famous “big as yo’ face” burritos don’t lie. The reputation describes the footlong flour tortilla stuffed with your choice of chicken, beef or sirloin and a soft scoop of velvety refried beans enveloped in a salacious ranchero sauce. For Tex-Mex connoisseurs who prefer to build their own bites, DIY your dish with marinated fajitas. Sizzling chicken and spicy beef blended with tangy pico de gallo, grilled onions and peppers are wrapped into a piping-hot, fresh tortilla. Gluten-free foodies need not worry, as Chuy’s offers flour, corn or blue corn wraps.

My favorite entrée, Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken, possesses a flavor profile unlike any other. A juicy, tender chicken breast is breaded with Lay’s potato chips for a definitive salty undertone. It’s deep fried and smothered in green chile sauce and creamy cheddar cheese. The dish has become widely referred to as “the ultimate cure for a hangover.” A close second and an ultimate Mexican food fan favorite is the Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom. Hand-pulled chicken and cheese enchiladas are submerged in cheesy Boom-Boom sauce, a beautiful melody of roasted green chiles, tomatillos, green onions, cilantro and sweet lime juice.  

Chuy’s ode to freshness is practiced in the cooking routines, following the “less more often” method. “It’s easy for restaurants to make big bulk batches of food and let it ride all day, but we don’t,” Jake said. “We make a lot of small batches. Everything we prepare is prepared in house. Nothing comes in pre-made.”

In addition to proudly operating as a scratch kitchen, Chuy’s is also a scratch bar. House-made simple syrups are blended into signature drinks. You can taste the difference in the lip-puckering Strawberry Rita, sweetened just enough to soothe your sweet tooth without the common cavity-inducing overload of sugar. Craving a cocktail with a little more kick? The Texas Martini features a green chile-infused tequila and jalapeno-stuffed olives, delivering delayed yet noticeable heat. If you can’t decide between sweet and spicy, The Chuy’s Brew is the perfect alternative. You get the best of both in an Instagram-worthy presentation. Top your evening off with my favorite drink on the menu, the citrusy, smooth Grandma’s Rockin’ Rita. 

Families and friends unite in the colorful, energized dining room of Chuy’s in Overland Park. An overwhelmingly relaxed vibe in addition to an eager, friendly waitstaff make this the ideal choice for your holiday gathering. The pristine and playful banquet room, featuring a buffet-style catering service and no room fee, awaits your office party!

The supreme food and a fun, effervescent setting are unmatched, but the best part of this chain might just be the endearing initiative to give back to the community. Chuy’s donated funds raised from the soft opening to the Supporting Kids Foundation, a local childhood cancer support organization. Chuy’s is also involved with Harvesters and Ronald McDonald House. “We just want to give back,” Jake said.

As I waved goodbye to Jake and the waitstaff, feasting my eyes on the vivacious art that decks the walls, I began to plan my next girls’ night out and simultaneously realized what a great story this brand tells. The people, the place, the green chiles, the success; it speaks for itself.

Visit the newest Chuy’s location at 6700 W. 135th Street!

Cravings writer Meg Kraft is a Kansas City transplant from Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to wining, dining and writing, she is a social media specialist and wedding blogger. Meg and her fiancé love exploring their new home and experiencing every flavor that the KC food scene has to offer. She is a pet parent to three French Bulldogs and an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan. Her life motto: count the memories, not the calories.