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Stephenson's No More...


blakegwinn
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I know this is a D.C. chat board but I also know there are a few Kansas City ex-pats hanging around so I decided to share this. My dad called me yesterday to tell me the restaurant where I (and my little brother after me) bussed tables all through HS and waited my first table closed down last week. I hadn't thought of the place in years but when I heard this I definitely got a little sad. It was a family run operation for 60 years, and when I say family run I mean, Ric Stephenson was the GM and there every day, Leslie Stephenson took customers to their tables, Leann Stephenson waited on them, little Tad Stephenson walked around and passed out complimentary fritters, and Old Lady Stephenson did the books and passed out checks on payday.

Most weeks I was putting in 40-50 hours (while in HS) so I spent most of my young life at that place and hanging out with fellow employees after work. Throughout high school most of my girlfriends* (used loosely...) I had met there, all of my best friends were fellow busboys and almost every party I went to was a staff party. To this day the first and only people my brother and I call other than family when we go back home are ex-employees of that old place.

The manager who wrote the busboy schedule had started as a busboy there when he was 15 back in the 60s and had never worked anywhere else. I waited on Walter Cronkite several times, routinely served people who had eaten there every anniversary for 30, 40 and even 50 years and the place had been a favorite of the Trumans. We actually had a banquet for my own grandparents 40th in one of their banquet rooms.

I admit the food wasn't great and hadn't changed in 40 years, it was getting dirty and rundown and much of the regular clientele had actually started to go teats up but I spent more time at that place than my own house and I will miss it. I am sure most people here won't have any interest in this post but I thought a few of you might be interested in reading the story and some of the comments left at the bottom. This is just a classic example of a restaurant that just couldn't compete with all the chains that popped up around it and couldn't keep up with changing times. Just another one of these old family run dinosaurs that are now almost completely extinct.

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Stephenson's was the go-to place for my family's big dinners. It was a fixture of my childhood, and it's sad to see it go. I had planned to take my wife there someday, for nostalgic reasons.

I also saw in that article that Nichols Lunch closed, which I did not know. That was the site of my parents' first date. (Of course, they got divorced. So maybe it deserves good riddance.)

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It is such a small world! I remember eating there on a layover in Kansas City in 1984! One of the flight attendants I was flying with had grown up in KC and had fond memories of the place back then! I don't remember the details of my meal, but I do remember it was fun and one of the first enjoyable "adult" meals I ever had.

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