RC's Lunch Car to be the newest addition to downtown come early next year

The name RC’s Lunch Car pays homage to owner Aaron Mulder’s grandfather, who was a World War II veteran and played a role in his upbringing as a culinary professional.

RC’s Lunch Car is aiming for a January 2022 opening at 505 Francis St. in Downtown St. Joseph.

The restaurant will serve casual foods such as burgers, sandwiches and milkshakes, and many of the dishes and condiments will be made from scratch. Owner Aaron Mulder, who is a native of St. Joseph, spent time as an executive chef and is a former Kansas City restaurant owner. He looks at the opening of the restaurant as a way to put his own touch on menu items based on everything he’s learned in the culinary industry.

“It’s a collection of all my culinary ideas I have had. It was taking a traditional lunch fare and putting my own culinary twist on them,” Mulder said.

From making their own ketchup to creating their steakburgers from scratch, Mulder and his wife, Ashley, didn’t want to compromise the food choices. Being from St. Joseph, Mulder relishes the opportunity to be a part of what the Downtown business community is building.

“Having grown up in St. Joe, I’ve always wanted Downtown to be what I want Downtown to be, which is vibrant, alive,” he said. “I’ve worked in cities like Lee’s Summit where the downtown kind of got revitalized, and I got to watch that revitalization happen. I look at St. Joe and I’m like, it can happen.”

Ashley Mulder, who was born in Lee’s Summit, saw the revitalization of that city’s downtown along with Aaron. When the two came to St. Joseph to find a place to start their new business, she knew for sure it had to be in the Downtown area.

“(Aaron) didn’t believe me, but I said, ‘We’re going to be Downtown with the restaurant,’” Ashley Mulder said. “This was about last April, and I said, ‘It’s looking up down here.’ There was a lot of open space down here, so I said, ‘If we can open a restaurant down here, it’s going to be perfect.’”

On the inside, the restaurant will have an open bar space, but instead of seeing alcohol and interacting with a bartender, customers will be able to sit and watch their food being cooked in front of them, and they can interact with the cooks. This is a concept that Aaron Mulder was inspired by when he visited a restaurant in Chicago.

The Mulders will look to use technology by having a kiosk where customers can place their order and be able to pick up their meal without having to tell a server what they want.

They also want to have their menu accessible via a QR code. This would allow customers to place orders on mobile devices and be notified when their order is ready to be picked up.

Jacob Meikel can be reached at jacob.meikel@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @NPNowMeikel.

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