The official opening for Q39 is expected in October, and the restaurant might host pop-up events in the lead-up

(Updated Feb. 2024)

  • Q39, a competition-style barbecue restaurant, has been serving customers in midtown for a decade and Overland Park for nearly seven years.
  • The restaurant is now expanding beyond the Kansas City metro to Press Yards, a redevelopment project in Lawrence. This marks the first time Q39 is stepping outside the Kansas City area.
  • Press Yards, the former site of the Lawrence Journal-World printing plant, is a historic space downtown.
  • Owner Kelly Magee, who took over after her husband and founder Rob Magee passed away in 2021, is excited about the expansion. She has previous experience serving barbecue in Lawrence during her college days.
  • The redevelopment of Press Yards is being managed by 3D Development, known for reviving several historic buildings in the Kansas City area such as The Creamery, Corrigan Station, and Pennway Point.
  • The project, located on Sixth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets, spans 70,000 square feet. It will also feature office space and a large courtyard for events.
  • Other tenants for Press Yards haven't been announced yet.
  • The design plan is currently under review by Lawrence’s design review committee.
  • Q39's space will accommodate dine-in with a full-size kitchen and a large outdoor seating area.
  • Kelly Magee is excited to bring Q39's high-quality barbecue to a new generation of customers in Lawrence, continuing a tradition that spans three generations.

Source: KC Star

a delicious plate of BBQ from Q39

Q39 Kansas City BBQ is a beloved BBQ spot that has been winning the hearts of food enthusiasts with its delicious, mouth-watering dishes. This bustling restaurant is known for its signature Q39 BBQ, which is a must-try for any visitor to Kansas City. It's not just about the BBQ; their menu is a fusion of traditional and innovative choices, with items like BBQ aioli, white bean cassoulet, and onion straws adding a unique twist.

The star of the show, however, is undoubtedly the burnt ends. This iconic Kansas City dish is smoked to perfection and served in generous portions, leaving guests raving in their reviews. The brisket, another standout feature of their menu, is slow-smoked and tender, making it worth every minute of the wait. Whether you're stopping by for lunch or dinner, the quality of service delivered by the attentive staff will leave a lasting impression.

Q39 also serves up a variety of sides to complement your BBQ plate. From the rich, smoky beans to the crisp, tangy slaw, these sides are more than just an afterthought. Guests often comment on the vibrant atmosphere at the bar, where friends can share good times over a couple of drinks.

If you're planning a trip to KC, make sure to sign in for a reservation at Q39. The place can get busy, especially during peak times, but most people admit it's well worth the wait. With an account, you can even order ahead to save time.

From the moment you walk in, you'll feel the love that goes into every aspect of Q39, from the food they serve to the ambiance they create. Whether you're a local or just passing through, spending a few minutes at Q39 is sure to be a highlight of your time in Kansas City. So, the next time you're in town, make sure to stop by Q39, share a plate of their famous wings with friends, and experience the best of Kansas City BBQ.

Website: Q39

Downtown Lawrence is set to experience a significant change, according to the LJ World. The renowned Kansas City Q39 barbecue restaurant has committed to be an anchor tenant in the redevelopment project of the former Journal-World buildings at Sixth and Massachusetts and Sixth and New Hampshire streets.

Key Points

  • Q39, an award-winning restaurant, is just one part of the 70,000-square-foot development project. It will also include office space and an "interactive commercial space."

  • The most unique feature of the development is a 20,000-square-foot courtyard. This will be created by removing part of the roof of the old Journal-World building while leaving the walls intact. The courtyard will house mature landscaping, a stage, a big screen, and flexible space for outdoor dining events and game day celebrations.

  • Two other significant office users have committed to the project alongside Q39, filling a total of 17,000 square feet of space over two floors. Details about these office tenants and the jobs they will bring to the community are yet to be announced.

  • Q39 is famous for its brisket creations. The restaurant, founded in 2014 by Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Rob Magee, cooks between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds of brisket each day. Their menu includes traditional brisket platters, smoked brisket nachos, brisket French dip sandwiches, a burnt end burger, and the popular "Mr. Burns" which features cubed burnt ends with chipotle barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese, and onion straws on a toasted bun.

  • The Lawrence restaurant will be Q39's first establishment outside of the Kansas City metro area. It is now led by Chef Philip Thompson, who took over in 2022 after the death of founder Rob Magee.

  • The Journal-World press room buildings have been largely vacant since 2014 when the printing plant closed. The site has long been considered prime for development due to its size. Previous plans for a multi-story hotel, convention center, apartments, and retail space did not materialize.

  • The new proposal does not plan to demolish the building or add new stories. Instead, the building will remain the same size, with part of the roof being removed to create the courtyard.

  • The courtyard will be situated in the northern part of the building along New Hampshire Street, near the Riverfront parking garage. It will also feature an overhead walkway.

  • Q39 will be located on the New Hampshire side of the building, in the southern part which once served as loading docks for the newspaper plant. The restaurant plans to paint the brick white to align with its brand, subject to city approval.

  • The areas along Massachusetts Street, which once housed Journal-World's presses, will be transformed into office spaces. Windows will be added to the facade, as per the latest plans.

  • Additional small-scale office spaces for rent will be available along New Hampshire Street, in the section of the building that once housed the Journal-World's lobby and front offices.

  • Developers are considering converting the city-owned parking lot north of the building into an outdoor space for the development. However, this has not been formally proposed to the city yet.

  • There could be a second large outdoor area along New Hampshire Street in front of Q39. The restaurant may use this space for parking or outdoor seating.

  • The project, dubbed "The Press Yards", aims to pay homage to the site's newspaper history.
a plate of BBQ from Q39 in KC

I'm Hungry Already

This redevelopment project signifies a major transformation for downtown Lawrence. With Q39 as an anchor tenant and the unique addition of a large courtyard, the former Journal-World buildings are set to become a bustling hub of activity and a significant addition to the community. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting venture.

a plate with bbq on it that has been eaten


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Bryan Reynolds


Bryan Reynolds is a proud 20+ year resident of Lawrence, Kansas and an alumnus of the University of Kansas where he earned both a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. His insightful and engaging blogs have resonated with readers far and wide, garnering more than 500,000 views to date across all his work.

Although Bryan doesn't identify as a journalist, he's an obsessive observer who loves to share his thoughts and reactions about life in Lawrence on his blog. An avid Mass. Street enjoyer, Bryan brings a local's perspective to his writing. Bryan's passion for his hometown shines through in every post, making his website a must-read for anyone interested in the pulse of Lawrence.


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