Popular Kansas City barbecue restaurant is headed west. Here’s what to know

It’s been a decade since Q39 debuted its competition-style barbecue restaurant in midtown, and nearly seven years since it opened Q39 South in Overland Park.

Now it’s expanding beyond the Kansas City metro entirely. Q39 has signed on as an anchor tenant at Press Yards, a redevelopment project at the site of the former Lawrence Journal-World printing plant in Lawrence.

“I am thrilled to bring Q39 to such a historic space downtown,” said owner Kelly Magee, whose husband, Ron Magee, founded the restaurant but died in 2021. “In college I waitressed at Smokehouse, so this is not my first-time serving barbecue in Lawrence!”

Press Yards is being led by 3D Development, which has revived several historic buildings in the Kansas City area, including The Creamery, Corrigan Station and Pennway Point.

A rendering of Q39’s planned upcoming location in downtown Lawrence.
A rendering of Q39’s planned upcoming location in downtown Lawrence.

The 70,000-square-foot project, on Sixth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets, would also include office space and a large courtyard for events. Other tenants have yet to be announced. The design plan is still under review by Lawrence’s design review committee.

Q39’s space, which would include outdoor seating, is expected to open in October, but Magee said the restaurant might hold pop-ups in the space leading up to the opening.