A popular regional favorite fast food chain in St. Louis is closing all but one of its locations in Kansas City as it attempts to figure out how better to establish its brand in the Kansas City area and plan for future growth.

The Kansas City Star reports that Lion's Choice will close its restaurants in Overland Park, Olathe, and locations in Lee's Summit on Chipman Road and Little Blue Parkway on June 29, 2024. A separate franchisee will continue operating the location at 129 S. Stewart Road in Liberty.

CEO Fred Burmer told the Star that keeping one store open will help the company evaluate a new Kansas City market strategy, better establish the brand, and plan for future growth in Kansas City and other markets. The Star also reports that a company release says they're "optimistic" about expanding in Kansas City sometime in the future.

In December 2022, I wrote an article on the best fast-food places in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas. The best fast-food place in Missouri was Lion's Choice, which I hadn't tried. A few days later, guess what? I found myself in Lee's Summit, so I popped into the restaurant for a meal and published a lukewarm review, which you can read here.

Lion's Choice saw the review and was disappointed that I was lukewarm on their food, so they invited me back to the restaurant for a meal on the house and a chance to make a better impression.

So, in February, Mike Pettis, his fiancee Amanda, and I headed to the restaurant for another meal. We met Lion's Choice Regional Manager Tyler and Alyssa, the store's General Manager, and tried their signature roast beef, medium rare, and fries. We also got to sample their signature sauces and the au jus that comes with the French dip sandwich. All three of us enjoyed the food, and Mike and I thought Lion's Choice would be a massive hit if they came to Sedalia. You can read about our entire experience here.

I liked it so much that a few weeks later, I brought Lion's Choice in for my wife as a treat during her stay at a skilled nursing facility in Independence. She loved it as well.

So, I'm disappointed that Lion's Choice is shrinking its footprint in Kansas City. While Arby's is fine, Lion's Choice is better and tastier. That said, there's still the store in Liberty if you want to drive out that way for their famous roast beef. And, of course, they have restaurants all over St. Louis. I'll add that to my lunch rotation while driving through St. Louis to Chicago.

May everyone impacted by Lion's Choice closures in Kansas City land on their feet, especially Tyler and Alyssa. They did a great job representing their employer and showing us a great time while visiting their restaurant on Chipman Road. And to the company's CEO, Fred Burmer, keep Sedalia and Warrensburg in mind for a new store. I think it'd be a big hit in West Central Missouri.

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