Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Exit Dave Enter Dave

Joyce Smith of the KC Star is reporting that the deal to replace Famous Dave's with Old Chicago in the Power and Light district might not happen after all. It seems that the Flying Saucer might have complained a little bit about having a restaurant concept that is in direct competition with them.

When I wrote about this last month I speculated that having a Rock Bottom Brewery in that location might be the best thing for the beer world. And that the competition would actually be beneficial for Gordon-Biersch and the Flying Saucer.
The P&L could be a destination for beer geeks. It's already a pretty good spot to pick up some good beers. You can get a nice dinner and brewpub beer at Gordon-Biersch and then spend the rest of the evening at the Saucer enjoying every beer style imaginable. With 2 breweries and a great beer bar, the P&L could have a real identity other than white douche capital of KC. Then if all went well with 2 brewpubs, maybe Schlafly or Upstream or some other good brewpub from the midwest, would want to locate in the neighborhood. A cluster of brewpubs, this is what dreams are made of.

I stand by this idea. But, apparently, being part of the Power and Light makes businesses think they are above competition of like concepts. But I would argue that, with the possible exception of the Flying Saucer, all the bars and restaurants are competing for the same group of white single douchebags in their twenties with no brains and money to spend on Bud Light.

If that is the Power and Light's idea of a destination night out, I'll pass. I'd like to think that the Power and Light would strive to be a little more than a Gonorrhea delivery system with no real redeeming services like good food and quality drink.

That being said, I'm pretty indifferent to whether the space goes back to a Famous Dave's or turns into an Old Chicago. Either one will be a top 5 place to go in the district. I don't think it's going to matter too much, because the novelty of the Power and Light is wearing off. Either they're going to have to offer quality dining and drinking establishments or they're going to turn into Navy Pier (which couldn't suck more).

Since I am a KCMO taxpayer, I'm pretty upset that I have to drive on steel grates every day while these P&L businesses offer product that I find stupid, overpriced and unattractive. In the meantime, these businesses actively seek to make the rest of KC worse by not allowing festival liquor licenses and lobbying against Westport and the River Market. All the while they are getting tax breaks and special laws that benefit them. How long are we going to let these people get away with it?

This P&L thing is turning into a real budget boondoggle for the city. And we're not helping anything by continuing to go down there and spend our money just because we have concert tickets. I suggest going for a drink in the River Market or the Crossroads before your concert until crapholes like McFaddens, Vinino and any other Cordish company concepts are closed and other bars and restaurants take over.


  1. I hate P&L as well and I talk about boycotting it but make a rare exception for Flying Saucer (although I won't go for a beer that I am aware is served elsewhere in town) and Gordon Biersch who are the only source of consistently good authentic German Style beers in the country.

    I hate it first because, well, I have already been to 4th Street Live in Louisville which is near identical. At least the Louisville variant has a reasonably good fake English Pub (called, I believe, The Pub).

    I hate it second because of the overtly racist dress code.

    I hate it third because, leave it to The Funk to revitalize downtown KC in a way that makes people wish for a return to the days when the Mafia ran the city.

  2. This is bullshit. I was looking forward to having someplace to grab food before Royals games during the work week. Honestly, the Peachtree is the only place down there I would go out of my way to eat at.

  3. You guys are a bunch of haters. If it took P&L to get Flying Saucer here, then it is worth it. This is not Denver or Portland. The public is not educated about beer. We don't have a vibrant brewery scene. We are a city of bud light drinkers who, when they want something exotic reach for that crappy beer we all know as Boulevard Wheat. It is unrealistic to think the downtown is suddently going to transform into some sort of beer mecca.

    In fact as I type this, I feel you shouldn't be angry at the P&L, you should be angry at Boulevard for forcing that less than mediocre wheat, and if we're really lucky, Pale Ale, down out throats at nearly every resturant in town who wants something other than bud, miller, coors. Boulevard is our bud, miller, coors, and they consistently crowd out any other micro who may want to grow their local distribution.

    Before someone tries to pull the, "but boulevard wheat is an outstanding american wheat ale" crap, I'll point out that bud, miller, coors are also technically superior for their style of americal light lager. They, like blvd wheat (and pale ale) are still crap.

    Before you bitch about these other people killing your beer scene, look to your neighbor who has managed to do it long before the P&L ever came along.

  4. Andy, we are a country of domestic drinkers. In any city you go to, the majority of people are drinking a Bud/Coors/Miller out of a bottle. The Flying Saucer isn't doing anyone any favors when I can go to Harry's Country Club on the way home from work or Barley's next to my house. Unless you're a big fan or subpar food and staff turnover.

  5. I like Boulevard Wheat dammit!!

  6. Cordish and its tenants continuing to think they're above having competition is ridiculous. Do they not think Shark Bar and Tengo Sed are going after the same audience? Or PBR vs. Angel's Rock Bar? C'mon...Old Chicago is a family style restaurant with a fantastic, reasonably priced beer menu. Flying Saucer is a higher-end place that's more about beer than food, with prices that reflect that. The beer's good but freakin' expensive. Get over yourselves Cordish, or one day you'll be left with nothing when the JoCo crowd finds its next shiny bauble.

  7. I tried Famous Daves and was not impressed. But I hate the fact that one of the few locally-owned P&L establishments has failed.

  8. Muddy Mo, Famous Daves isn't locally owned. Its a Minneapolis joint I believe.

    If you don't want P&L, check out Crosstown Station across from the KC Star building.

  9. "I'd like to think that the Power and Light would strive to be a little more than a Gonorrhea delivery system with no real redeeming services like good food and quality drink."

    I believe we have the quote of the month there. Now I need to clean the tea off my monitor

  10. I have a different take on the point Andy was trying to make about Boulevard's popularity. Bars and restaurants in cities without decent local breweries will reliably offer the terrible national brands and not even consider a small micro.

    The nice thing about KC is that you can go to a dive bar or little food joint and be reasonably confident that Boulevard will be there, usually on tap. Other towns are stuck with Bud and Miller products. You can also go into a chain restaurant and find Boulevard here, when normally you would have Sam Adams, Fosters and Blue Moon on the high end of the price spectrum. In this respect, having Boulevard in town is a very good thing.

  11. Boulevard wheat and pale ale are both good beers. They're not adventurous by any stretch, but they are good. If Andy's tired of them he should just say so instead of throwing a temper tantrum. Boulevard has not made it difficult for other breweries to get taps in Kansas City. Lots of places have lots of different taps. I was at a place in Martini Corner a few weekends ago and they have no Boulevard taps and several Schlafly's on, in addition to other stuff.

    Personally I'd love for KC to get something like the Map Room in Chicago.

  12. I don't think the problem in KC is the ability to get a lot of beer from out of town. Most of the breweries which have distribution in Missouri are sending kegs to KC. I think what we lack compared to, say, San Francisco is lots of good beer brewed within 100 miles.

    Now if I don't have to choose I would be happy to have more beer bars AND more breweries.

    Having been to some of the legendary beer bars (eg Toronado) I am usually underwhelmed. Most of my favorite places have been, smaller beer bars (like Concordia in Portland) or Belgian themed places.

    What I dislike about the local beer bars is that they are either buying too much of a given beer or selling it too slow. Concordia had 14 taps but if you went two Fridays in a row at least half would be different. Each tap would always be something similar (one for a local lighter beer, one for a local stronger beer, a couple for belgians etc etc) but they would go through a single keg and rotate through at least 4-5 different kegs before they repeated.

    So 14 taps but if you go each week access to around 40-50 beers each month. Contrast this with Flying Saucer which has 110 taps or whatever where all but a couple are fixed indefinitely. It looks impressive but the true variety that place will offer over time to a repeat customer is not that large.

  13. The most important thing to remember is: Flying Saucer will have a cask of Hopslam to the best of my knowledge on March 4. Cant wait.