Historic meets modern, and traditional with a twist—both are phrases that can be used to describe the ambiance and cuisine at Third Street Social, an American restaurant that infuses fresh life and flavor into the downtown Lee’s Summit dining scene.
“We wanted to bring a little more of the dining elements that you’d get in Kansas City to Lee’s Summit,” Domhnall Molloy, Third Street Social owner and chef, says.
“People like that they can come to downtown Lee’s Summit and feel like they’re having a dining experience on the Plaza but in their own backyard now.”
For owners Molloy and Andy Lock, the emphasis on melding old and new began during the venue’s renovation. During the construction phase, a historic preservationist was part of the team to ensure the red brick exterior stayed true to its original feel. After all, it was on these steps that Harry S. Truman announced his candidacy for Eastern District Judge of Jackson County Court in 1922. Within the restaurant, owners preserved original architectural elements true to the building’s natural look such as the barrel wood roof and the exposed iron trusses. But Molloy and Lock also added more than a pinch of modern spice in the space’s design. A sleek copper bar accented with marble serves up an extensive selection of draft beers, wine and signature seasonal cocktails. Smoky glass orb pendant lighting hangs suspended over large, plush booths in the dining area.
“WE WANTED TO SHOW OFF THE BUILDING’S NATURAL WORK AND PUT IN A RESTAURANT THAT WOULD LOOK MODERN BUT EVEN OLD, SOMETHING YOU DON’T SEE IN A MODERN RESTAURANT,” MOLLOY SAYS. “WE WERE EXCITED TO REPURPOSE THE BUILDING AND COULDN’T BE MORE THRILLED WITH THE RESPONSE WE’VE GOTTEN IN OUR FIRST YEAR OF BUSINESS.”
Molloy, a former regional chef for McCormick & Schmick’s, describes Third Street Social’s menu as simple Americana—old classics with a more sophisticated spin, inspired by his experiences as a regional chef in Chicago and in dining at restaurants across the country. The chicken pot pie incorporates red-wine braised chicken, a nod to a French chicken dish. House-pickled vegetables accompany the fried chicken and andouille sausage adds a kick to the meatloaf. Seasonality is also important. The summer menu features an heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and a Great Lakes walleye sandwich and walleye fingers.
“WE HAVE LITTLE TOUCHES HERE AND THERE THAT MAKE IT MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN MOM’S COOKING,” MOLLOY SAYS. “AS WE CONTINUE TO EVOLVE, WE MAKE DISHES BETTER AND COME UP WITH NEW THINGS WITHOUT TAKING AWAY CUSTOMER FAVORITES.”
In addition to the food menu, the restaurant’s three seasons patio, expansive bartop and happy hour every day have been a hit.
Third Street Social is the second Lee’s Summit restaurant for Lock and Molloy, who seven years ago both left McCormick & Schmick’s to open Summit Grill together. The duo has since added Summit Grill in Waldo, Boru Ramen Bar, Lakewood Local and the adjoining Summit Cellars and Spirits to their repertoire.
In their second year of business, Molloy says they’d like to see the catering side of Third Street Social expand. Another similar restaurant concept elsewhere in the KC metro area could also be on the horizon.