If there is anything that Kansas City is known for, it’s the barbecue. Yes, the city has a rich history in music and sports and culture but barbecue easily sets the standard. If you ever visit the city, you will notice that the food is one of major Kansas City’s calling cards. As Blair Stover discusses below, KC’s history in food is rich but it’s barbecue is what sets it apart from the rest of the world.
Kansas City and the barbecue phenomenon started back in 1908, when a former steamboat cook named Henry Perry started selling his smoked meats in an alleyway to workers. He made his smoked meats in an open fire pit and wrapped them in newspaper. What made his fare stand out from other like vendors was the fact that he soaked his meats in a black pepper and vinegar mix with a touch of tomato.
Before he knew it, Perry soon had enough business to move around to different
neighborhoods within Kansas City. Eventually he settled in an old barn and he turned it into a restaurant. Perry died in late 1940 and one of his co-workers, a Mr. Charlie Bryant, took over.
Another cook that worked for Perry decided to branch off and go on his own. Arthur Pinkard joined up with George Gates and the two formed their own restaurant as well as the first KC barbecue rivalry.
Many people believe KC is the place where barbecue was born but this isn’t true. It was actually SE of Kansas City and several hundred miles. However, Perry brought a sense of style and taste to the city and the city helped turn that style in a way of life. Over a hundred years later, KC is now considered the barbecue capital of the world and the title doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
When you think about Kansas City, the first thing you think about isn’t the mafia. In fact, it probably isn’t the second, third or even the 10th. But now that CBS has come out with a new hit show called “Vegas”, the interest has definitely peaked people’s growing look into the city’s thrilling and dangerous mob history. Blair Stover looks into this story a little more below.
People associate the mafia with Italians, mainly because of documentaries, books and movies and now the new hit TV show which plays out in the 1960’s Midwest. Even though the show is settled in Las Vegas, however, the characters have made many references to Kansas City due to the fact that the city was a perfect middle point for mobsters to do business.
But the city actually has some real life mob history to it. Back in 1933, June 17th to be exact, Kansas City went through a horrific mass murder at Union Station that involved the deaths of four policemen and one prisoner, a Mr. Frank Nash. The ordeal was later named Kansas City’s Massacre.
Tourists still flock to Union Station in order to just soak up the historic value of being in the same place that took five lives 80 years ago. In fact, there are tours that even stop at mob sites around Kansas City and Union Station is one of them. Tours are a very popular thing in the city and most people want to frequent mafia sites more than anything else, according to tour business owners.
Have you visited Union Station and felt like you were back in the past?
Chef Celina Tio, the proud winner of a prestigious James Beard Award, is in the mid-negotiation period with investors to open up a brand new Crossroads Restaurant.
Currently Tio is the head of management of the famous Kansas City Café. Started in 2007 by Monitca Alexander, the restaurant was started with the theme of fresh food. Alexander established a solid dining experience revolving around the creation of dishes using fresh, local ingredients from local Kansas City farmers and distributors.
While the restaurant flourished, Alexander’s passion for produce prompted her to seek working full-time at her produce store in Crown Center. Tio is now under contract to buy Alexander’s business, which includes the building.
For now, Tio plans to keep the restaurant’s menu mostly as is, adding a few new dishes with her own flair to the menu. Tio’s main goal, however, is to purchase the building that sits on the corner of 1532 Grand Blvd. Once that happens, she wants to turn the location into a new restaurant, something of which would be similar to the Brookside restaurant, Julian, she already owns. The only difference will be that this new location will be more of a casual look.
With the success of Julian and Kansas City Café under her belt, one thing’s for sure: Tio’s restaurant plans will likely be delicious. Have you eaten at one of Tio’s restaurants? If so, let us here at A. Blair Stover know what you did and didn’t like in the comments below.
Kansas City is not the same city it was 50 years ago. With the changing decades comes a shift in the economy, both national and local. The dawn of the entrepreneur is here. Blair Stover has more on this story below.
It is said that Kansas City holds the world’s best barbecue. In fact, Oklahoma Joe’s was named the best BBQ restaurant in the world. But it doesn’t stop with food. Developments are popping up everywhere in order to help the city gain momentum in the business sector. Entrepreneurs are what will make or break the city and the leaders know that. Groups in Kansas City are giving entrepreneurs unprecedented access to whatever resources they have in order to build the area up. Every month, numerous amounts of advisers, investors, entrepreneurs and mentors will meet over coffee and talk over how they can increase business in Kansas City. What other city will you find that in? Not many, if any.
The local government is even developing partnerships between the private and public sectors to help the community work closer together. Sly James, the Mayor of KC, has started an initiative that is designed to attract entrepreneurs in the IT sector and bring them to downtown Kansas City.
Collaboration has played a key part in the city’s technology and entrepreneurial revolution, however the community has given Kansas City the push it needed for the revolution to work. The city is proving that hard work and determination from all of its citizens can actually do some good.
Finally, Kansas City is going to have the money necessary to send a streetcar on a two-mile route through downtown. Blair Stover has more information on this story below.
Voters approved tax hikes early this year, which will fund $100 million worth of public rail system in downtown Kansas City. It’s the first of many steps that taxpayers are hoping will help begin and continue a long leg of public rail projects, according to elected officials. Kansas City is hoping to begin rail construction this year and have the rail cars running by 2015.
Voters have approved a penny tax increase on sales along with property tax increases, which is going to help the city pay for any of the streetcars used. As of right now, streetcars are scheduled to run from Union Station to River Market. The good news for people that live outside of the area of the two-mile rail system is that only the people that live or have businesses within the
boundaries of that district will have to pay. The increases are scheduled to go on for 25 years and were approved by registered voters in the district.
Supporters of the project say that this is only the first leg of a bigger project and they hope to have a complete rail system that covers the entire downtown area by 2025.
There were many property owners, however, who opposed the decision because they don’t live in the area. They feel that because they have businesses in the area, they should have gotten the chance to vote.
If you live in the area, how do you feel about the tax hike? Share below in the comments.
Menard Inc., the famous home improvement chain, has announced that they are postponing their plans to enter Kansas City’s retail market. Blair Stover has more on this story below.
Jeff Abbott, a company spokesman for Menard, said in a statement made last week that Menard decided to postpone their plans to open a store in Independence and one in St. Louis due to economic issues. He went on to say that there were other stores in the Kansas City area that were being postponed as well like Northland, Overland Park and Belton.
Abbott went on to say that they are postponing the stores because of concerns dealing with economic concerns. Menard Inc. is worried that the country’s economic issues are only going to get worse and the government will impose further restrictions on businesses going into 2013. It’s a concern that has plenty of owners worried. Businesses are hoping that this train of thought is wrong however the outlook is bleak. If the economic conditions do improve, the stores will consider lifting the postponements.
Menard has proposed stores at Little Blue Pkwy South and I-70 in Independence; Plumm Rd and 135th St in Overland Park; N. Green Hills Rd and Missouri 152 in Northland; and at 163rd St. in Belton.
Menard, Inc. is based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has 270 stores covering Indiana, Kansaas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Kentucky and Iowa. The company is looking to expand in other states as well but have postponed in other states for similar economic concerns.
Overland Park’s Prairie development is getting a new splash of culture soon and it is coming in the form
of a Japanese restaurant and Sushi Bar that is very famous in the St. Louis area – the Wasabi Sushi Bar. Blair Stover has more details on these openings below.
The new restaurant is scheduled in two areas at the moment: one will be in Prariefire’s district later on this year and the other will be early next year between Nall and Lamar Avenues and 135th Street. Both 3,000 square foot restaurants are expected to be huge successes.
Wasabi’s first Sushi Bar opened up in St. Louis back in 2003 and has grown to eight locations in St. Louis and Colorado. The traditional Japanese foods are offered but there are other foods on the menu, such as breaded deep fried pork and grilled salmon. There are even drinks that are not your usual Japanese drinks. For instance, the Asian Pear Sake is a huge success. The restaurant has happy hour and children menus as well.
Keith Enockson, who is the main spokesman for the Wasabi chain, said that the Prairiefire location was perfect because of the neighborhood it was in. Prairiefire is a 58-acre development which will have restaurants and upscale shopping stores. There will be a bowling alley, a theater and a fresh market.
Most of the people who will be living in the area are excited about the new restaurant as they have heard nothing but great things. We will just see how much more the area can flourish.
Just a few days before Christmas, someone made their Christmas a little brighter by picking the correct numbers on the Powerball. Blair Stover has all the details below.
Hitting the Powerball is every lottery player’s dream and to do it right before the holidays must have been the greatest gift from Santa one could ever get. The winner is now $50 million richer (before taxes) after purchasing the ticket somewhere in northeast Kansas.
The winning numbers came out to match the winning ticket down the line: 5, 8, 20, 23 and 30 which included the Powerball – 3. Lottery officials say that the holder of that ticket should sign it immediately and then put it away until they can turn it in to lottery officials. The winner could take annuity payments which are paid yearly over the course of 30 years or they can choose the normal track of a lump sum. If they choose the lump sum, the final total will end up being $32.7 million, according to officials.
The northeast region of Kansas is where the winning ticket was bought but it also includes a total of 21 counties: Nemaha, Marshall, Doniphan, Brown, Pottawatomie, Riley, Atchison, Jackson, Wabaunsee, Geary, Jefferson, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Leavenworth, Osage, Johnson, Franklin, Douglas, Miami, Lyon and Morris.
When they Powerball starts back up, it will return back to a $40 million base for Saturday’s drawing. In the history of Powerball drawings, the biggest winner Kansas has ever had was a gentleman in Great Bend, who won $96 million in November of 2009. However, there was a person that lived in Franklin County that shared their Mega Millions winnings of $656 million this past March. The winner ended up bringing home $157.9 million.
So next time you buy a ticket, remember, it’s happened once before here in Kansas City and it can happen again!
For over six decades, the city has been a vital place for providing jobs to the federal base and it continues to do so today. In fact, the U.S. government contracts at least 41,000 people just in Kansas City alone and pays out more $3 billion a year. But the good news does not stop there. For every government job that Uncle Sam provides, there is at least one private spinoff job attached to it and possibly more.
Just last month, the federal authorities stated that they will need another 800+ people over the span of the next year. This is on top of the fact that the NNSA (Nat’l Nuclear Security Admin.) is scheduled to start moving nuclear weapons parts into a new facility located near the area. This will also keep about 2,500 jobs around for another 5-10 years.
Here are some other jobs that the government keeps around:
1. Agribusiness. With increasing world population, the search for food is greater and the government wants to stay on top of this.
- 2. Construction. State and federal governments are always looking to build, so they need workers to do so.
- 3. Power. To grow any country needs energy. The two main sources today are oil and renewable energy sources.
- 4. Environment. This type of business is the type the government wants to be exploited in a conscious and responsible way to generate wealth to companies who need the materials available in the environment.
- 5. Health. Concern about the quality of life only increases, as life expectancy in the country.
The great thing about generating jobs, whether they are new or sustaining the old, is that they help generate money for the area and that is exactly what every place like Kansas City needs.
The smell of gingerbread in the air and chasing it down with eggnog is on everyone’s mind as people walk from door to door caroling every chilly night. Memories stack up and new traditions are made but, as Blair Stover points out below, Independence has plenty more to show:
Santa Sightings: The mall at Independence Center and the nearby Bass Pro Shops are prime locations to find Santa, so if you have little ones that want to meet Santa, this is a great time to give them the chance.
Shopping: Shopping during the holidays is easier when you know what you want and there is a yearly “Holiday Open House” for people that love arts and crafts. Stop by on December 21st and visit the Englewood Art Walks.
Frontier Fun: The National Frontier Trail Museum holds a “Holiday Kickoff” every Thursday at 2pm where you can experience a walk featured through the Museum’s “Christmas in the West.”
Historic Home Tours: Now until December 30 (with the exception of December 23 through 25), you can see some of the most historic homes and buildings in Independence. Some of these include the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, Marshal’s Home at the 1859 Jail and the Vaile Mansion. You can see all three homes for $15 or just one for $6.
There are plenty of things that are going on in the city of Independence and if you need to find out more about these or a number of other things, you can call 800-748-7323 or you can visit www.visitindependence.com.