Way back before flying became a matter of national security concerns, my father and several business associates had a several-hour layover in Kansas City. The layover was intentional so they could visit the famous Arthur Bryant’s barbecue in that fair city.
My father is a man who loves his barbecue. And he had great company in Jim Dible, who went on to become publisher of the Erie Times-News (Pennsylvania) after my father retired.
It was with that in mind, that I headed to Kansas City on business (not just a layover) to check out a possible new venture. The venture isn’t living up to the hype, but it was worth it to check it out. What I didn’t realize is that the
trip would include a day seeing the sights of Kansas City, starting with a coffee shop with a liquor license called Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters. Co-Founder Bo Nelson had an energy and vision way beyond coffee. When it became clear that keeping the jobs of bartenders and baristas separate was hurting business, he combined the two, finding it necessary to fire a friend who wasn’t embracing the cross-over concept.
Here is a coffee shop that can serve you Irish coffee at 7 a.m. Whoo-hoo! Plus he has found a partnership with a local producer to create a coffee-flavored liquor and is thinking about working with local brewers to can his coffees for quick energy-boosting drinks (hey, Starbucks does it).
Of course, we were on business. So just caffeine, please.
Then we were off to visit the home of the Kansas City Royals, which won the World Series in 2015 through team building and persistence. The owners remodeled the stadium several years ago – eliminating seats – to improve the experience for the audience. Miss Vickie, who was downsized by the Kansas City School District, for, in her words “being too experienced and too expensive” is a real asset to the team in terms of her tour guiding skills and passion for excellence. Sorry, kids.
Lunch, of course, stopped at Arthur Bryant’s – a legend in Kansas City. There was some heated discussion about whether it remains the best. Lesson learned here is to, repeat after me: Believe you are the Best. If you believe it, so will many others. I brought home some rub and sauce, purchased in the airport or it never would have made it home with today’s limits on liquids in carry-ons. The barbecue was very good. The experience – meh. No one seemed particularly happy working there. The floors were greasy. But, for $10.99, I could split a two meats (chicken and burnt edges) with fellow publisher (we were looking at magazine opportunities). Fries were extra.
When I came home after three days – pondering whether to move forward with the business venture – I could still say I had been to Kansas City and tasted the barbecue. I have a bag of Thou Mayest coffee, and a KC baseball cap.
I have returned with a profound appreciation for my home in the Gem City, named for the sparkling nature of the waters of Lake Erie.
What do you cook when you have spent 3 days on the road and come home late? I have potatoes from my CSA. These are great because the combination of boiling with baking soda and roughing them up a bit before roasting leads to a lovely exterior crunch.