Out Of The Office: Red Door Grill Offers Wood-Fired Food, Local Feel

Wood stacks at the restaurant's entrance set the tone for what visitors can expect inside. | Photo Courtesy of Red Door Grill
Wood stacks at the restaurant’s entrance set the tone for what visitors can expect inside. | Photo courtesy of Red Door Grill

Red Door Restaurants opened the doors of its first restaurant, Red Door Grill, last month in Leawood, Kan. The restaurant’s approach to American cuisine features wood-fired techniques, an award-winning chef and a focus on integrating the restaurant with its surrounding community.

Wood-fired cuisine

Red Door Grill makes heavy use of a technique that’s a hot new trend in culinary world. From the lumber stacks that greet patrons as they enter the restaurant to a smoldering mural on the wall, wood is the star of the show, Red Door Restaurants operations partner Jason Gleaton said.

The centerpiece of that motif is the wood-fired grill in the kitchen. There, chefs cook dishes that range from “H’Burgers” made with a custom blend of premium meats from nearby McGonigle’s Market and “S’Wiches” with pulled pork and steak from Alex Pope’s Local Pig to a “Squid and Chips” meal. The grill allows Red Door’s staff to use the fire and smoke to infuse their food with smoky, charred and juicy tastes that only wood can produce, Gleaton said.

Hand-picked culinary team

When it came to designing their menu, Gleaton and founding partner Gary Zacanelli looked to renowned chef Debbie Gold to join them as culinary partner. A James Beard Award winner, Gold is overseeing the construction of a unique menu that maximizes the potential of the wood-fired grill and has wowed Gleaton with not only her knowledge but her willingness to teach her craft.

“Debbie brings a level of skill and knowledge that’s very valuable,” Gleaton said. “But she’s also a consummate teacher for our staff; she’s very passionate about her profession.”

Most things on Debbie Gleaton's menu, including this burger, "The Remedy" are cooked on RDG's signature wood-fired grill | Photo Courtesy of Red Door Grill
Most items on Debbie Gold’s menu, including “The Remedy” burger, are cooked on a wood-fired grill. | Photo courtesy of Red Door Grill” credit=”

Red Door has consulted with Kansas City resident and Master Sommelier Doug Frost to create a wine list with a range of price points that Gleaton said “won’t be huge, but certainly formidable.”

Gleaton views recruiting the best culinary talent he can as a necessity. “This business is extremely competitive,” he said, “and for us its about stacking your team with best you possibly can.”

A neighborhood favorite

Red Door Grill's "Bury the Bottle" happy hours feature $3 drafts on any of the 8 craft beers on tap. | Photo Courtesy of Red Door Grill
Red Door Grill’s happy hours feature $3 drafts on any of the eight craft beers on tap. | Photo Courtesy of Red Door Grill” credit=”

Gleaton’s goal is for the restaurant to be the neighborhood favorite. He envisions a comfortable, casual environment serving everyday American food at a very high level.

Food is competitively priced, with burgers, sandwiches and tacos for less than $10 and happy hour deals every weekday from 3-6:30 p.m. “We want to be the best food, happy hour and restaurant in the neighborhood,” Gleaton said.

The Red Door Grill File

Claim to fame: Red Door Grill uses wood-fired grilling that’s growing in popularity all over the country, features a James Beard Award-winning chef in Debbie Gold and has aspirations of being the best restaurant in the area.
Key figures: Operations partner Jason Gleaton, founding partner Gary Zacanelli and culinary partner Debbie Gold
Costs: Appetizers from $9.75 to $19.75, flatbreads around $9, salads from $4.25 to $11.25, sandwiches from  $8-10, tacos around $9, desserts from $5-7
Hours: Open daily at 11 a.m.
Learn more: Additional information on the Red Door Grill is available on its website, Facebook, and Twitter.


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