The burgeoning Crossroads Arts District inspired the co-owners of Rockhill Restaurant Group to open another area restaurant. And the historic Rieger Hotel building at 1924 Main St. made an ideal fit for their cozy tavern.

Bret Springs and Zach Marten signed a lease to take over the space formerly occupied by the beloved The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, which closed in October 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Rieger produced a twice-nominated James Beard chef and landed on The New York Times’ 2020 list of the 10 “treasured diners and hidden haunts that Covid-19 closed for good.”

The 3,317-square-foot space will have a dual purpose: as The Wise Guy Tavern during most of the year, but also the group’s Christmas-themed popup bar Miracle during the holiday season.

The restaurant group owns another restaurant about two blocks away, The Rockhill Grille, which also has a location in Leawood. The company also co-owns County Road Ice House with Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que in the Kansas City Power & Light District.

“Everything about the Crossroads” made them want to expand, Springs said. He cited the neighborhood feel and the influx of new hotels and apartments.

“It’s just a very lively area of Kansas City,” he said.

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