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Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar: Bringing the Coast to KC

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Jax Fish House opened in 2014 in a posh section of the Country Club Plaza with a beautiful large dining space and central bar perfect for the restaurant’s anti-pretentious party vibe. This past fall, Jax decided to improve its ambiance and the results were fin-tastic!

Today, the Plaza seafood restaurant can host large Kansas City events while at the same time serving diners in its newly updated, more intimate main dining room. The evolution took place when the restaurant built a wall to separate a versatile 65-seat private dining event space adjacent to the bar restaurant.

“We saw a need for more event space, and we are so happy that we are able to provide it,” said Kansas City native and Jax executive chef Bryan Sparks. “The best part is that we have created a very intimate party spot in our dining room that aligns with our restaurant group’s concept perfectly.”

Designed loosely to look like a boat, Jax Fish House now features the Starboard Room, a totally private dining event space that seats up to 65 and includes a 70-inch TV for slide shows or watch parties. At the bow of the ship, opposite of the restaurant’s front door, is the Lookout Room. Formerly the restaurant’s only event space, the new semi-private space seats 30 and is located two steps up from the bar. The nautical room can be open to be a part of the festive vibe or partially closed with curtains. Either event venue is perfect for a rehearsal dinner, corporate event, wedding shower, birthday party, family reunion, baby shower, bachelor party, holiday party, wedding anniversary, retirement party, networking cocktail party and much more.

The restaurant has a dedicated event coordinator who specializes in working with each guest to customize their event, whether they’re looking for a buffet, four-course sit-down dinner or a casual cocktail party. General manager Kristi Quick’s favorite style of event is the Jax Crab Boil. “It’s an opportunity to have a family-style dining event that’s interactive and really fun, and it’s the essence of what people do around the table. Cracking crab. Telling stories. It’s the ultimate friends and family aspect of dining,” Quick said.

Here’s how the crab boil works: A big mix of snow crab, Dungeness crab, Andouille sausage, seasonal veggies, corn, shrimp and potatoes are boiled in savory, lemony-spiced broth and served family style in the event space on one big platter or spread along the white butcher paper lining the tables. Dig in and enjoy!

Jax is known for a lot of things, such as really great ambiance; they’re not stuffy. They throw a party every night! Executive chef Bryan Sparks compares Jax to Mathew McConaughey strolling shirtless on the beach. Um, yes please! Add to that, outstanding food and drinks and their welcoming, friendly, superior service.

But what many diners love about Jax is that the restaurant gets its seafood flown in fresh every day, and it is 100 percent sustainable. Certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program and the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch, these rigorous certificates are eco-certification programs that help consumers and businesses make choices for a healthy ocean. It can track what fish is being bought and sold each day, what the current levels of availability are, and it monitors the constant changing impact on the environment. “We want to make sure your grandchildren are going to eat just as well as we are today,” Sparks said.

Growing up in Brookside, Sparks has a love for Kansas City and he works hard to source as much of the restaurant’s food as locally as possible. “Dining to me is not about preparing sustenance, it’s much more. I think it is really important that we’re not just a restaurant in the community, but that we become a restaurant that’s a true part of the community.” 

When you step into Jax Fish House, you can expect refinement within the flavors, amazing presentation and top-quality food. The unexpected is the nonchalant, relaxed vibe complete with sassy Jax graphic T-shirts for sale and graffiti-covered bricks; guests are encouraged to use markers to sign the back wall! 

But what do refined flavors and top-quality food really mean? Here’s just one example. The crab cake is all crab, no filler, and a guest favorite. Cooked and seasoned to perfection, this large cake is served with preserved lemon aioli. “This is the best in KC and maybe the country,” Sparks said. Other can’t-miss signature items include oysters on the half shell, fried calamari, lobster rolls and the equally beautiful-as-it-is-delicious seafood tower. 

“Everything we do in the kitchen is very strategic and thoughtful,” Sparks affirmed. “This extra effort shows when the diner gets their meal. We love being able to tell a story with our food.”

Visit Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, 4814 Roanoke Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri, and check out for menu previews and additional information.

Written by: Megan Neher

Journalist-turned-PR-professional Megan Neher has never forgotten her true first love: writing. Today, Megan owns her own PR firm, Megan Neher Public Relations; she’s a wife, mom, marketer, student and spends a lot of time cleaning up after her four pets and two teenagers. Her dream is to live on a tropical beach somewhere where she can stroll barefoot to a nearby grass hut for a fish taco and margarita.