Hopscotch: City Barrel Pizza + Patio set to open in former Bier Station location
As our calendars turned over from 2022 to 2023, the Waldo/Brookside area lost an institution. Bier Station, the combination beer shop and taproom, filled their final pint glass and closed their doors for good. Owner John Couture saw Bier Station struggle during the pandemic, and he found his passion wandering more to the realm of local politics as business started returning.
Lucky for locals, he found a worthy successor to pass the baton to: City Barrel Brewery. The popular Crossroads brewery will open soon in Bier Station’s former space with a new concept and a total revamp. I got to sit down with City Barrel Brewery’s co-owner, Joe Giammanco, and General Manager/Executive Chef Ben Wood to share some pints and talk about what we can expect when City Barrel Pizza + Patio opens this fall.
“We both love John and what he did with the Bier Station space over time,” Giammanco says. “And we can’t wait to breathe new life into it with our Pizza + Patio concept.”
For inspiration, Giammanco turned to some of his favorite spots growing up.
“We really want the new space to have that old-school, ‘fun palace’ vibe—the types of places we all used to hang out in as kids,” he says. They’re aiming for a community-oriented spot that will fit right in with the other local faves in the Waldo and Brookside areas. City Barrel Pizza + Patios plans to have board games, arcade machines, and pinball tables, along with plenty of TVs to catch local teams like the Chiefs, Royals, and KC Current. Giammanco is also looking to add weekly events like bar trivia and music bingo.
The new space will see some changes from Bier Station’s overall footprint. It will feature a much larger kitchen in order to make things more functional as a restaurant. With a moniker like “Pizza + Patio,” there are plans for a bigger, more in-depth patio space, including fire features. That said, some familiar remnants of the previous space will remain. The team is planning on keeping some of the coolers, which will be mostly stocked with cans and bottles from local breweries. The upstairs will remain as well and will be geared more toward parties, events, and meetings.
Of course, with City Barrel Brewery involved, you know there are going to be some tasty eats and drinks. They plan on having 15 beers on tap at the new location—mostly City Barrel, with a few guest taps—in addition to keeping plenty of other local faves and classics.
The major leap in the new spot is going to be the food menu. Giammanco hails from Chicago, and Wood grew up in New York City. Naturally, this calls for pizza. Wood has been developing his pizza recipe for months, studying the craft and working out the perfect sauce, cheese blend, toppings, and more. The menu will focus on square pies with a focaccia-style crust. Wood is also lucky to have the best taste testers he could ask for: His kids are more than happy to offer up their opinions on what’s working and what’s not.
Wood has enough experience in the game that he’s planning a menu full of fun surprises. Although recipes are still in development, he is planning for plenty of sandwiches, shared apps, salads, and other standards to sit alongside the pizza stars of the show. There will be a selection of house-made wing sauces for their chicken wings, along with Italian deli-style sandwiches. There’s a salad dedicated to Miss Anna, a sweet Italian woman who made a dynamite eggplant parmesan, which has stuck in their memories for years.
The team is hoping to take standard, beloved foods and elevate them—the type of lunch or dinner that will keep customers coming back again and again.
“Ben’s always been good at taking something basic and elevating it to something unbelievable. He captures every taste element you want, distilled into recognizable items, and served with fun,” says Giammanco.
In the spirit of inclusivity and community-building, City Barrel Pizza + Patio will also have gluten-free crust options, as well as a wine list, cocktails, mocktails, and more. They’ll be open for lunch and dinner, and the goal is to create a space where people want to stay and hang out rather than rushing lunch and sprinting out the door.
The current plan for the grand opening is fall 2023, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled as to when those pies will start slinging.
City Barrel Pizza + Patio is located at 120 E Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64114