From dishwasher to owner, Kansas City native opens The Combine restaurant, bar

Business

Alan Kneeland, co-owner of The Combine (Photo by Adam Vogler/Kansas City Business Journal)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City native Alan Kneeland hasn’t had time to fully relish opening his first restaurant. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been “feet on the ground” and get to work, he said.

“Honestly, it’s been a little stressful, and I’m sure it’s stressful for a lot of people,” Kneeland said. “Just being in this industry, you’ve got to roll with the punches.”

And he has.

The Combine restaurant and bar at 2999 Troost Ave. in Kansas City was slated to open in March. Kneeland left his general manager job at Panera Bread to focus on the new venture, and then a week later, “the city shut down.”

“We were literally in the middle of our buildout. … Halfway through the tenant finish, things just kind of halted.”

The restaurant, which had a soft opening Nov. 5, occupies a 3,700-square-foot space inside the former Wonder Bread factory building, now known as the Wonder Shops and Flats. Exact Partners redeveloped the site, which includes retail and restaurants, 84 apartments and a rooftop event space for which The Combine is the exclusive catering partner.

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