The Rub Bar-B-Que in Olathe strives to give every customer 100% tastebud satisfaction with its award-winning recipes. It’s barbecue heaven, with tender meats smoked to perfection, tangy original sauce, and traditional barbecue sides.
What started out as just a group of neighbors making barbecue turned into a serious barbecue business for founder Dan Janssen, who was encouraged by those neighbors to leave his career in the foodservice business to open up his own restaurant. “I graduated from the CIA in 1989,” says Janssen. “I spent six years in Las Vegas as a chef in The Mirage hotels, most of the time in the banquet department. I left Vegas with my wife to relocate closer to our hometowns in Chicago, Michigan, winding up in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I started working for Applebee’s.
After six years of running restaurants for them, I took a position and spent the next nine years at their corporate office in Overland Park. I was a senior manager in their operations department and oversaw all testing and implementations of food and equipment. When the bubble happened, we had a bad buyout. I knew that the company would relocate to California, and I had several plans to exit the corporate world, so in 2011, I decided to open a barbecue restaurant.”
If you’ve never been to The Rub, Janssen describes the experience as traditional Kansas City barbecue, but with a twist. Janssen set out to push the boundaries by smoking traditional meats and serving them in a unique way. They’re known for their signature bowls, which combine their hand-selected meats with perfectly paired sides piled high in a bowl. Their most popular items include their hash bowl, which is made with fried potatoes, grilled peppers and onions, pulled pork, burnt ends, chicken, and sausage topped with onion straws and cheese. Their hillbilly bowl is another favorite among guests and is made with sugar-crusted cornbread topped with your choice of meat, barbecue beans, and onion straws. Another top seller is the burnt end burrito, which is made with burnt ends, potatoes, jalapeño cheese, and pico de gallo wrapped in a tortilla. “Our rubs are strong and create a lot of bark on our barbecue,” Janssen says. “We smoke 400 to 500 pounds of meat daily featuring meats like burnt ends, ribs, and sausage. Guests keep coming back for more because of the great food, great value, and great service.”
Their catering business is just as popular as their restaurant, with catering making up half of their total sales. “We do a ton of catering. We do all kinds of school functions, holiday parties, graduations, doctors' offices, car dealerships, and weddings—we will do 55 weddings this year. Our most popular menu items picked for catering include burnt ends, pulled pork, baked beans, and Kate’s cheesy corn.” Not only do they cater, but The Rub also has a food truck that can be booked for any event. Be on the lookout for their food truck around town as well as some new menu items. “The food truck is up and running. Popular items are the mac and cheese bowl and burnt end nachos.”