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Strang Hall: A Fresh Idea with Flavor for Every Taste

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One of my favorite things about eating is variety and flavor. So when I was assigned to write about Strang Hall’s collection of different restaurants, I knew immediately this was going to be a good day. I would get to taste diverse food from a mixture of restaurants.

What I didn’t expect at Strang Hall, 7313 W. 80th Street in Historic Downtown Overland Park, was the cool vibe and the incredible outdoor scene. Named after local railroad magnate William Strang Jr., founder of the City of Overland Park, the indoor hall stretches 13,000 square feet; that large space is necessary to house the six separate restaurants, each with their own kitchens, chefs, menus, featured cuisines and distinct counter space to walk up and order.

This type of dining appeals to me because, even on a regular night at my house, the four of us don’t eat the same thing; when we dine out, this style of restaurant is perfect. Your family or group can’t decide on Asian, Italian or burgers? No problem! Walk into Strang Hall, each person selects their own restaurant and then everyone reunites at a large table inside the restaurant or outdoors at the concrete amphitheater area, outdoor lounge with couches or dining tables al fresco.

When I say each customer may select their own individual restaurant, that’s true. The restaurants are distinct cuisines, but overall Strang Hall is branded as one. The logos, restaurants’ names and the look and feel of the interior is all a part of the Strang Hall brand. Anousone features Southeast Asian; Fénix is tacos reborn; Norcini is craft pizzas and sandwiches and Solstice offers seasonally fresh items. 

Minglewood, Chef Eli B. Neal’s New American concept opened mid-September;Chef Neal spent his formative years in the kitchen of his great-grandmother, a restaurateur herself. “The vision for Minglewood is a celebration of classic Americana reimagined. I am very inspired by the familiar flavors of the Midwest and American South along with interesting and imaginative takes on classic American ingredients,” said Neal. “I cook from experiences gained in decades of life and travels across the Midwest and the love and respect that I have for American cuisine and culture.” Minglewood will offer a unique spin on American favorites such as his Pork Chop Old Fashioned and Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich.

“Eli takes food that we all know and grew up eating, a meatloaf sandwich or chicken fried steak for example, and elevates them. His experience will be an ideal pairing with the four other talented chef entrepreneurs and I think people will be blown away by his upscale American flavors,” said Joe Follett, director of operations at Strang Hall.

Strang Hall opened December 20, 2019, and only two months later had to shut down completely with the pandemic, opening initially for curbside pickup only and then for dine-in service in June at 50 percent capacity. Today, even with the pandemic, business has picked up and diners are enjoying outdoor, dine-in, delivery and curbside pickup. “We’re getting to know our neighbors and we’ve had a lot of repeat customers in the past few months. We make it a priority to know theirnames and their favorite items,” said Joe Follett, director of operations.

The large bar is one of the coolest spots in the restaurant. You can find your stool at the bar and ask the bartender to help you with your food order or have a drink while you decide which restaurant you’d like to try. The bar itself is defined by sleek metal indoor awnings and the liquor bottles are displayed against the windows leading to the spacious partially covered patio and lounge space. The rest of the space has a modern vibe with concrete floors, exposed ceiling and metal lighting and signage but it’s warmed up with fun tile accents and wood used for the tables and some of the walls.

When you arrive at Strang Hall, you’ll want to try all of the restaurants, and this will take a few visits. I started at Solstice. Chef entrepreneur Erin Bassett focuses on seasonality, bringing the freshest of the fresh to create her menu of farm-fresh foods, even sourcing items from the Overland Park Farmer’s Market right across the street. This means her menu changes frequently to feature what’s in season.

At Solstice, Erin showed off a delicious Grilled Citrus Salmon, a salmon filet with a Mediterranean feel, served with mixed greens, ancient greens, pickled fennel, grapefruit, pomegranate molasses and seeds, flavorful and tasty. Next, we sampled some amazing Sweet Potato Fries seasoned with sweet chipotle salt and served with two aioli flavor options, sun-dried tomato and garlic. I had to step away from the tasty fries because my mouth was watering to try this next one. Strangely, I love cauliflower! I hope Solstice doesn’t take this one off the menu: Fried Cauliflower, seasoned with sumac spice and fresh herbs and served with a za’atar yogurt dip.

At Fénix, Chef Entrepreneur Brett DeHart has showcased his background and experience to develop some unique and delicious creations and this town is truly buzzing about it. Originally from this area, most recently DeHart has spent six-ish years in Salt Lake City chefing for a variety of restaurants. We’re fortunate he’s back and flourishing with the theme of tacos and elevated Central American cuisine at Fénix.

Dubbed Pescado Frito at Fénix, no matter what they’re called, fried fish tacos are some of my favs. This one didn’t disappointment. It’s a beer battered halibut with a lime jicama slaw and spicy remoulade sauce. Then, the Carnitas Taco features an eight-hour braised pork with savory salsa verde sauce, jicama, onion, lime zest and cotija cheese. Melts in your mouth! The Pastor Taco played right into my flavor junkie tendencies. Wow! It’s roasted shaved pork with grilled pineapple salsa and fresh onions. The KC Taco is packed with smoked pork shoulder with white KC cheese corn, pickled hatch chile and fénix BBQ sauce. So good!

Finally, Fénix has more than tacos. I sampled the delicious Seared Halibut over a sweet potato puree with a sweet yuzu chili sauce and sautéed zucchini, chorizo plus sun-dried tomatoes, served with tortillas.

And these are only two of the restaurants. Don’t miss this incredible food hall experience both inside and out. Remember, variety is the spice of life and Strang Hall is a new and exciting experience that will make your life more interesting!

Strang Hall features Happy Hour Monday through Friday, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. plus reverse Happy Hour 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The first weekend of every month is Happy Hour weekend, 3:00 p.m. to Sunday close. Carryout, delivery and B2B catering complete Strang Hall’s offerings.

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.