Thursday, October 25, 2007
Head NORTH to Chappell's!
Posted by Wes Port
The other night, I had the privilege of discovering for the first time, North Kansas City’s pride and joy, Chappell’s Restaurant and Sports Museum. I’d call it a sports bar, but from what I read on the back of the menu, the owner would rather it be known as a fine dining experience. The place reminded me of Player’s Bar and Grill in Wichita back in the good ol’ days before it left is charming space to build a cold, sterile, bright new building in order to expand. The food and beer remained typically fantastic, but they lost the cozy atmosphere of the former location. That coziness has now found me once again, inside Chappell’s North KC pub!!! I was in heaven! I was giddy!!
In an almost dazing, swirling awe, I walked into a room crammed full of trophies, team pennants, and a sea of helmets dangling from the ceiling. It was bliss! The place wasn’t busy, it was a Tuesday night, maybe fifteen people were scattered about watching a game or talking over beer. I took a seat at the bar and continued to gawk at the extremely impressive collection of memorabilia that crowded every square inch of wall and ceiling space in the restaurant. The place truly did feel like a museum--and it was CLEAN! Have you noticed how some bars with “lots of stuff” are filthy dusty from years of neglect? This place was spotless. I wondered silently to myself how often they take down the helmets to give them a good waxing.
My sense of awe however, went downhill pretty quickly. It took one of the workers FIVE minutes to even recognize that I was sitting at the bar, and when she did, she wasn’t what I would call friendly. Nope, not even a nod or a “Hi, how’s it goin’?” like you always get at QuikTrip. I was trying to decide if someone had called in sick and the staff was overwhelmed with the fifteen people needing service all at once, or if she really didn’t like her job. I guess that’s not important, but it showed. Not a great first impression. The owner, I assume, was walking around near me and never once asked me if I’d been helped. I’m sure I looked like a lost puppy who just needed his bowl filled with beer, but no one seemed to pick up on that… I asked the bartender if I could see a menu, and she forgot to reach behind her to get me one. Several minutes went by before I had to stop another waiter to ask for a menu the second time. That was irritating. Oh, if only they’d known that Wes Port was in the house! My first thought was, “Man. This is totally going the blog.” At least the Samuel Adams came out nice and cold. BUT, it was a little short on the pour and it had a big head---but come on, who doesn’t like some big head every now and then?!
The place cleared out somewhat, and to my relief the service improved. The bartender smiled and seemed to grow more attentive the longer I stayed. But it was hard to shake that negative first impression--that negative first impression about a place which was touted to be North K.C.'s “absolute bomb!” I guess my expectations were too high. I tend to let that happen. It's hard to keep from becoming over-excited when going to a new bar for the first time!
The menu was impressive! There was a wide variety of food; something for every taste. Traditional sports bar, er, restaurant fare. I went with the Chappell Burger on an English muffin, and it was really good, but I don’t think I’d order it again because the muffin was hard, as an English muffin should be. It just didn’t feel quite right to eat it with a hamburger. The curly Q fries were most excellent! Hard to screw those up…
I was a little surprised by the lack of televisions. Usually a sports bar has wall-to-wall screens to capture any and all sports action. If you want to be surrounded by LCD displays, you need to go to heaven, a.k.a. Buffalo Wild Wings (which is another sore spot for me at the moment, as they have no intentions in putting one near downtown—my god, it’d be a freakin’ GOLD MINE! Hello people!). So if you don't mind the lack of technology and would just as rather wrap yourself in sports history and good atmosphere, Chappell’s is where you need to head!
Even with some slight disappointment, I’m excited to return again. The lack of friendliness I’m sure was just a fluke. It must have been an off night, or perhaps just a full moon. I’m willing to give it a go again! I would like to spend some more time walking the walls to take in more of their amazing collection.
I highly recommend you check the place out, and I really hope they smile next time and make me feel like they’re glad I’m there.