“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”
Martin and Cindy Blair are both from Kansas City. They went to the University of Kansas, met in Topeka at a dive bar, and were married in Kansas City. But 35 years ago, a job offer sent them to San Diego.
After a year or two they really missed Kansas City BBQ.
The Blairs decided to open Kansas City Barbeque in downtown San Diego, giving the place a Midwestern, down-to-earth feel. Only two years into the business, they were approached by a location director who wanted to film a few movie scenes in their restaurant. Cindy Blair says it was one of the best marketing decisions they ever made.
Two iconic scenes from the movie Top Gun were shot at the restaurant: the one where Goose plays "Great Balls of Fire" on the piano, and the closing scene with Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. You can see poster of the Plaza and, if you look closely, a Kansas state flag in the background.