A chicken and waffle restaurant from K.C. to open in one vacant 23rd Street spot, while sushi and Cajun combo coming to another

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The future site of Chick-In-Waffle, 1714 W. 23rd Street, is pictured on Feb. 19, 2024.

After 18 months of traffic-snarling construction on 23rd Street, we probably could have some fun with the old riddle of “why did the chicken cross the road.”

I’ll let you come up with your own answer on that. My message today is to future chickens and hungry diners: Crossing chickens may soon get a nasty surprise, but lovers of chicken and waffles are likely to be pleased.

Signs for a new chicken and waffles chain have popped up at a long vacant restaurant building along 23rd Street.

Chick-In Waffle appears to be moving into the former Qdoba restaurant building at 1714 W. 23rd Street. If you recall, the fast-food Mexican restaurant closed in 2019, and the building has been vacant ever since.

Now, a chicken-based restaurant that has multiple K.C. metro locations is in the process of opening in the spot, which is just west of 23rd and Ousdahl and basically across the street from the large Cork & Barrel liquor store.

I haven’t yet had luck catching up with a Chick-In-Waffle representative, but its website says the Lawrence location is coming soon, and its menu makes clear that it will do chicken on waffles in a variety of ways that go beyond the traditional.

The menu definitely includes a classic version of the dish that includes buttermilk chicken topped with maple syrup. But the menu also includes a half dozen other varieties, including chicken slathered in a K.C.-style barbecue sauce, a waffle topped with Buffalo-style chicken and ranch sauce, and a tikka masala version that puts buttermilk chicken, chopped tomato, onion and a spicy tomato and cream sauce atop a waffle.

If that is not quite wild enough for you, there a dish that channels the old Qdoba space: Chick-In-Queso. That one involves the same buttermilk chicken covered with a homemade cheese sauce and jalapeños.

The menu also includes some chicken wings and chicken sandwiches, but loaded french fries appear to be the next biggest thing after its chicken and waffle combination. The menu features 10 different varieties of loaded fries, including several versions that are similar to the topping found on waffle offerings.

But the restaurant adds a poutine option, which are fries covered with the chicken, brown gravy, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Also on the menu are spicy honey garlic fries, Nashville hot fries and Asian chili fries.

The restaurant also might aim to be a player in the catering market. Its menu includes “Feed the Fam Boxes” that range in size from 20 tenders with fries and a side of sauce to a family feast box that includes 10 chicken tenders, 15 wings, four chicken sandwiches and two helpings of loaded fries, plus two 16-ounce containers of dipping sauces.

Based on the configuration of the old Qdoba building, I’m guessing the restaurant will have both sit-down and drive-thru service. The website doesn’t announce an opening date, but remodeling work is underway at the site. The small chain has a restaurant in the Westport entertainment district of Kansas City, Mo, plus one other KCMO location and an Independence, Mo. location. But the chain also appears to be in the early stages of franchising, and has a single location in Arizona too.


If combining foods is your thing, don’t stop with chicken and waffles. Maybe you want to try sushi and Cajun seafood. Another long vacant 23rd Street restaurant site is going to give that idea a try.

“Opening Soon” signs for Concept 23 are up at 1606 W. 23rd Street. The signs tout that the restaurant indeed will have both sushi and Cajun options. No one was around on Monday when I went to the site, but remodeling work is underway. Information online is more limited about this venture, other than to say it will include a variety of sushi rolls, fried rice and Cajun seafood and that it intends to have hours that designed to accommodate folks who might want a bite to eat after the bars close.

If you are having a hard time picturing the location, it was a Pizza Hut years ago, and has been many things since, including a smoke shop and the Moroccan restaurant Argana Cafe.

I’ll let you know if I hear more about that venture.


photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The future site of Concept 23 at 1606 W. 23rd Street is shown on Feb. 19, 2024.

Even if a sushi roll and some gumbo isn’t your idea of a perfect end to an evening (executives at Tums, by the way, disagree) word of new restaurant openings on 23rd Street should still be welcome for most area residents. It surely is a sign that the once busy corridor is getting some new life back after the city’s long road construction project.

Even though that road project was farther to the east, it cut down on traffic throughout 23rd Street, until it ended in December after 18 months of repaving and rebuilding work.

While some openings are starting to pop up, I’ll pass along a couple of closings that you may not have been aware of, if you haven’t been on 23rd Street for awhile. Arby’s — the roast beef sandwich chain — has closed its 23rd Street location, which was just east of 23rd and Ousdahl. That leaves its location on W. Sixth Street as its sole Lawrence location.

T-Mobile also has closed its wireless phone store at the northwest corner of 23rd and Ousdahl. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be any activity underway at either vacant location.


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