Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Almost immediately after the announcement that the classic West Bottoms steakhouse, Golden Ox, was being resurrected, the pair behind the plan, Wes Gartner and Jill Myers, set off a stampede of excitement.The Ox closed in 2014 after 65 years in business; the restaurant hadn’t changed in years, but remained a nostalgic favorite for many. The calls and emails came both from the public, eager to see the iconic steakhouse return, and also from the local cattle industry. Gartner laughs and explains how quickly it all unfolded.“The day that the announcement went out about the Ox, I had three different ranchers stop me outside and say, ‘I heard you’re reopening the Ox; I have some cattle you need to try,’” says Gartner, who is also owner and partner of Moxie Catering and neighboring Voltaire restaurant with Myers.Gartner was surrounded by great family cooks as a child – especially his mother and grandmother, who were both caterers – and honed his cooking skills in Lawrence, Kansas, working under chefs John Beasley at now-shuttered Tellers, Ken Baker at now-closed Pachamamas and chef-restaurateur Robert Krause, all of whom he credits as inspiring his creativity and passion for cooking. After a stint as the drummer in the band Doris Henson and time in the kitchen at RecordBar, Gartner joined Myers about 10 years ago at Moxie Catering. When the old R Bar closed, they seized the opportunity and opened Voltaire, a eclectic small-plates restaurant across the street from the Golden Ox. Late last year, the chance presented itself for them to carry forward the Ox’s tradition as Kansas City’s oldest steakhouse.“It was always in the back of my head that I’d love to be able to take this over at some point and maximize its potential by offering top-notch steakhouse fare,” Gartner says. He and Myers would often visit the Ox after long days of catering for Moxie; his fondest and earliest restaurant memories are visiting steakhouses in Topeka, Kansas, with family.“People really love , the memory of it and the memories they’ve shared with family and friends,” Gartner says. “There’s a nostalgia factor… it holds a pretty special place in my past, as well. Everyone seems to have a story, which is really cool.”Gartner and Myers plan to reopen the restaurant in September and are currently in the construction phase for its interior. Although they are incorporating more natural lighting by opening up the kitchen to the dining room and removing the long-boarded-up kitchen windows overlooking Genessee Street, the aim is to maintain the classic steakhouse appearance. Tufted-leather booths, an abundance of dark wood and wood paneling were all restored from the original restaurant. The classic black-and-yellow “Golden Ox” sign, once hung by the parking lot, has moved to a new position of pride above the restaurant’s door.Gartner and Myers are also planning to build a 12- to 15-seat bar prominently centered in the restaurant, and the kitchen will feature a wood-fired open grill and bakery, as well as a raw bar. Golden Ox will also share an entrance with the upcoming Stockyards Brewing Co.Although still early in the planning phase, Gartner and Myers see the food as remaining faithful to the former restaurant’s classic menu items, including a fried chicken dish, with chicken from Buttonwood Farm in California, Missouri, and steaks made with premium, all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free, humanely raised beef, as well as an in-house beef-aging program and “boutique” beef varieties. Gartner plans to include seafood on the menu, as well, plus a variety of classic and modern sauces to accompany the entrées such as béarnaise, bordelaise, chimichurri, brandied green peppercorn and a housemade and bottled steak sauce.Gartner says he cannot emphasize his focus on using quality ingredients enough. However, he also wants to respect and reflect the Ox’s existing customer base and enjoys receiving letters from decades-long visitors of the restaurant. He assures them that foil-wrapped baked potatoes with all the trimmings will remain on the menu.“We also don’t want it to be price-exclusionary,” says Gartner, explaining his hope that people won’t confuse the new incarnation of the Ox with that of a pricey steakhouse. “We want to make it really approachable. At Voltaire we focus more on world-fusion cuisine, slightly experimental, while at the Ox, we will be serving traditional steakhouse fare that has its roots in midcentury French and Italian cooking.”Golden Ox, 1600 Genessee St., West Bottoms, Kansas City, Missouri
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 1

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Jerry Rauschelbach and Steve Greer purchased the Golden Ox from Jerry’s father Bill in 1997. In The Golden Ox closed in November 2003 without warning. Rauschelbach cited high beef prices, fewer people dining out, and overall poor economic conditions as reasons for the closure. The restaurant was purchased and reopened two weeks later by a group of investors led by Bill Teel and Steve Greer. Geer retired in August 2014. In December 2014, the Golden Ox announced that it would close permanently before the end of the year. Landlord Bill Haw indicated that the Golden Ox was behind on rent, and Haw planned to pursue a different restaurant or entertainment concept for the restaurant space in the livestock exchange building.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 2

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Following the 2014 closing of the restaurant, the space was divided, and Stockyards Brewing Co. plans to open in the south portion of the space, which was previously the bar area and one of the back dining areas. In November 2015 it was announced that Wes Gartner and Jill Myers signed a lease for the remaining 5,000-square-foot space, including the main dining room and kitchen on the north side of the original Golden Ox space. Gartner and Myers are also co-owners of Voltaire in the West Bottoms. They announced plans to re-open the Golden Ox, and the renovated space will include a wood-fired grill in a semi-open kitchen. Livestock Exchange Building owner Bill Haw stated that the new owners of the Golden Ox will have access to any furnishing or memorabilia from the previous Golden Ox restaurant. The Golden Ox is expected to reopen sometime in Spring 2016.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 3

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

The Golden Ox opened for business on the first floor of the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange building in May 1949. Founded by Jay Dillingham and owned by the Kansas City Stockyard Company, the restaurant originally catered to ranchers and farmers who brought their cattle to the stockyards. Dillingham also used the restaurant as a place to entertain dignitaries, including Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The restaurant closed briefly as a result of the Great Flood of 1951. In 1957, the Golden Ox expanded when a one-story addition was added to the south side of the live stock exchange building to accommodate the restaurant expansion.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 4

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Gartner and Myers plan to reopen the restaurant in September and are currently in the construction phase for its interior. Although they are incorporating more natural lighting by opening up the kitchen to the dining room and removing the long-boarded-up kitchen windows overlooking Genessee Street, the aim is to maintain the classic steakhouse appearance. Tufted-leather booths, an abundance of dark wood and wood paneling were all restored from the original restaurant. The classic black-and-yellow “Golden Ox” sign, once hung by the parking lot, has moved to a new position of pride above the restaurant’s door.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 5

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

In 2003, while the Golden Ox was owned by Jerry Rauschelbach, it opened a short-lived second location in a space at 95th Street and Metcalf Ave in Overland Park, Kansas, that had been formerly home to Houston’s restaurant. The Overland Park location closed in November 2003, citing the bad economy and fewer people dining out.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 6

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Gartner was surrounded by great family cooks as a child – especially his mother and grandmother, who were both caterers – and honed his cooking skills in Lawrence, Kansas, working under chefs John Beasley at now-shuttered Tellers, Ken Baker at now-closed Pachamamas and chef-restaurateur Robert Krause, all of whom he credits as inspiring his creativity and passion for cooking. After a stint as the drummer in the band Doris Henson and time in the kitchen at RecordBar, Gartner joined Myers about 10 years ago at Moxie Catering. When the old R Bar closed, they seized the opportunity and opened Voltaire, a eclectic small-plates restaurant across the street from the Golden Ox. Late last year, the chance presented itself for them to carry forward the Ox’s tradition as Kansas City’s oldest steakhouse.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 7

Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge Kansas City Mo

Gartner and Myers are also planning to build a 12- to 15-seat bar prominently centered in the restaurant, and the kitchen will feature a wood-fired open grill and bakery, as well as a raw bar. Golden Ox will also share an entrance with the upcoming Stockyards Brewing Co.
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 8

Clete Southern California Level Contributor 202 reviews 124 restaurant reviews 99 helpful votes “Good fast food” Reviewed April 17, 2012 Friendly service. Food served very hot. Pastrami sandwich was excellent as were the fried zucchini. Not much for atmosphere, but a good place to grab a bite when your working. Helpful? Thank Clete Report
golden ox restaurant & lounge kansas city mo 9

The Ox closed in 2014 after 65 years in business; the restaurant hadn’t changed in years, but remained a nostalgic favorite for many. The calls and emails came both from the public, eager to see the iconic steakhouse return, and also from the local cattle industry. Gartner laughs and explains how quickly it all unfolded.