We first started covering Steve Schussler, the creator of Rainforest Café, and his new themed, or theatre-restaurant concepts, over five years ago with his development of T-Rex. Six months ago we covered the opening of his Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Now, after three years in development, his company, Schussler Creative, Inc., jointly owned by Steve and RED Development, has opened the first Backfire BBQ featuring custom-built choppers by Orange County Choppers, the famous custom motorcycle builders. Steve says he chose the barbecue and bikes combination as it reminds him of the freedom of the open road.
The 8,300 square foot, 300-seat restaurant opened Monday, December 7th at the Legends, a lifestyle shopping center developed by RED Development, in the Village West development in Kansas City, Kansas. The Legend’s also contains the first T-Rex restaurant. Steve Schussler said, “Backfire BBQ is bikes, burgers and barbecue. And it is a phenomenal collection of antique cars, antique jukeboxes, and phenomenal neon signs. We have some of the most unusual décor that you will see in Kansas City, and what you don’t see, which is behind the scenes, is one of the world’s largest smokers.”
All the foods with the exception of the chocolate cake are made in-house, and when ever possible, from organic and local foods, including the pickles, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, doughnuts (made to order and tossed tableside in cinnamon and sugar), apple cobbler and fried green tomatoes. And in addition to burgers, meatloaf, salads, steak and catfish, the menu features barbecued ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken.
Where most of the themed restaurant concepts from the 1990’s have failed, Schussler has excelled by having the knack for getting it right with the success of Rainforest Café, T-Rex, Hot Dog Hall of Fame and now Backfire BBQ. And RED Development is smart to vertically integrate with Schussler in order to have the inside track on locating these exciting concepts in their centers. Schussler has definitely raised the bar for what the public expects when they go out to find an environment where they can have great food in a fun atmosphere. It doesn’t qualify as eatertainment, but it definitely qualifies as a food and eye candy experience.
To see a short video showing the Backfire BBQ, click here.