West Bottoms

Davin Watne

Walk into Haw Contemporary in the Stockyards district of the West Bottoms, and in one gallery, artist Davin Watne has built a 30-foot long wall. There are nearly 40 paintings in a collage — small and large, clamped together — stretching the length of the room.

The exhibition, Picture the Wall, is, in part, an artistic response to Donald Trump’ s call for a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border during the 2016 presidential campaign. And it carries on a long tradition of, as Watne puts it, "oil on canvas as a means to convince" the public. 

The Marmot / Flickr -- CC

Summer's on the horizon. And as temperatures start to rise, our thoughts turn to the drinks and dishes that'll help keep us cool.

From an old-school shrimp cocktail to spring rolls — and, of course, don't forget ice cream and shaved ice — KCUR's Food Critics searched out the best iced and chilled dishes in Kansas City on Central Standard.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Courtesy Historic West Bottoms Association

It’s hard to tell the story of Kansas City’s West Bottoms without lapsing into a folksy, fairytale-quiet voice: Once upon a time two rivers met in a place that was both Kansas and Missouri…

Yes, and long ago it was called the French Bottoms because that’s where the French and Native Americans traded.

Two hundred years later, “trade” is one of the newer components being reintroduced to the four square-mile tract that makes up the West Bottoms, about 30 percent of which is in Kansas. Dining is already well-established.

Karen Neoh / Flickr -- CC

There’s a lot that can go between two slices of bread.

Portable and fuss-free — no need for utensils — sandwiches are perfect for work lunches or picnics.

stu_spivack / Flickr -- CC

It’s hard to go wrong with fries.

They come in all sorts of shapes and textures, and they’re a great vehicle for dipping sauces, seasonings or even gravy.

Whether you prefer thin and crispy, thick and pillowy-soft inside — or waffle-shaped, crinkle-cut or curly — on Friday's Central Standard, KCUR’s Food Critics searched out the best fries in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Whether they realize it or not, many Kansas Citians have probably seen Wilbur Niewald’s paintings. They might even have seen the artist at a canvas in one of the city’s parks.

Erin / Flickr -- CC

Brunch can take on many different forms.

There’s the all-you-can-eat buffet, complete with waffle and omelet stations.

And don’t forget the boozy brunch — quite possibly the only time of the week where one could have a drink in the morning without feeling too guilty.

On Friday's Central Standard, KCUR's Food Critics took their annual look at the best brunch dishes in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

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Forget the sad desk lunch. The lunch break is a time to get out and explore new restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for something fast and affordable or luxurious — or something to grab and take to a nearby park (hi, spring!) — KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best lunch spots in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Bonjwing Lee, The Ulterior Epicure:

FoutchBrothers LLC

The Kansas City Council on Thursday agreed to sell Kemper Arena for one dollar to developer Foutch Brothers to turn it into a youth sports complex. 

Why a dollar?

“Because we couldn’t give it away. And also because it saves us money in the long run so we don’t have to spend millions to tear it down and we don’t have to spend millions to keep it up,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said during Thursday's city council meeting. 

Michael Korcuska / Flickr -- CC

From the old classics to “interactive” cocktails — and don't forget mocktails — there’s a drink for everyone in KC.

Whether you like your drinks fancy (made with local spirits, fresh herbs and juices and more) or something more simple (usually involving just one type of liquor), KCUR's Food Critics searched out the best cocktails in and around Kansas City in our annual look at libations.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Fort Osage CTC

First, we explore how vocational and technical education programs can help bridge the gap between job-seekers and middle-skilled jobs. Then, architect John Ruble explains the challenges urban planners face when designing everything from city buildings to U.S. embassies. Finally, running a successful food truck is about more than serving sliders from a van. We hear about the construction and operation of Kansas City's full-service kitchens-on-wheels.

Foutch Brothers, LLC

An ambitious $30 million plan to convert the Kemper Arena into a bustling center for amateur athletics won support for tax incentives Thursday from a public development agency.

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority approved a 12-year property tax abatement for the redevelopment project of the arena in the West Bottoms being pursued by Foutch Brothers. The PIEA also authorized up to $24 million in revenue bonds for the project.

Star Athena / Flickr -- CC

Some people have strict rules when it comes to cookies.

"Can we agree ... any cookie that does not have butter as an ingredient should never be made?" Charles Ferruzza asked host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Ferruzza, with our other Food Critics, searched out the best cookies in and around Kansas City — with and without butter.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Don't ask Todd Sheets about the first horror film that he made.

"It's godawful," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard. "Anything I made before '93 I kind of disowned."

Sheets started making horror movies in the late 1980s in Kansas City. He quickly earned a cult following; he was even dubbed the "Prince of Gore."

There's a lot going on in the West Bottoms. The American Royal is moving out, and artists and craft beer enthusiasts are moving in. The area is also the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which will funnel resources into creative visions.

A look at how these changes will affect the West Bottoms, plus an update on the American Royal leaving the area.

Guests:

Michael Bentley / Flickr-CC

A debate has been raging in the Crossroads and West Bottoms over a liquor licensing ordinance passed by the Kansas City council in April.

On Thursday, the council unanimously approved a compromise they hope will keep businesses and residents happy. 

The ordinance limited the influence some property owners had over approval of liquor licenses. It had the support of many small businesses, who said it gave them more of a voice in the process.

You think this Republican National Convention is full of drama? The 1976 convention at Kemper Arena was the last contested party convention. It pitted President Gerald Ford, who rose to the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned, against Ronald Reagan, who was becoming the darling of conservatives.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A plan to turn Kemper Arena into a youth sports complex received a warm reception Wednesday at a city council committee meeting held at the facility.

Large, framed photos from soccer games, livestock shows and concerts line the walls – a glimpse of what the old West Bottoms arena used to be.

But with its only tenant, the American Royal, seemingly poised to move to Kansas, Kemper has sat largely empty in recent years.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

The Savoy, Putsch's, the Westport Room at Union Station... even Dixon's Chili. How have the stories of Kansas City's iconic restaurants intersected with our own stories? The conversation begins at the Golden Ox; it's coming back to life as a West Bottoms steakhouse, with a few updates.

Guests:

  • Charles Ferruzza, food critic, The Pitch and KCUR
  • Monroe Dodd, journalist and historian, KCUR

Why Is Downtown Kansas City South Of The River?

Jul 10, 2015
Vincent Parsons / Flickr--CC

There’s something pretty obvious about how the Missouri River divides Kansas City: All the tall buildings are on one side of the river. It seems downtown Kansas City is firmly entrenched on the south side of the river. But … why?

Rick McCharles / Flickr

If the West Bottoms stockyards district is where city meets country, and agriculture meets industry, then plans to move an American Royal event from the West Bottoms to the Truman Sports Complex represents a shift in that balance. But what does the news mean for neighborhood stakeholders?

Guest:

  • Bill Haw, Sr., owner of Haw Feedlots, the Livestock Exchange Building, and the surrounding 48 acres of West Bottoms property.

Brian Hillegas / Flickr

There's talk of a West Bottoms revitalization. But the truth is, every fifteen years or so, the industrial stockyards district experiences a new kind of renaissance. In the 80s and 90s, it was an underground arts thing. Now, it's food, festivals and antiques. Meanwhile, industry and architecture have maintained a quiet presence all along. From art to antiques, can revivals of the recent past inform the future of the district?

Guests:

A shortage of beds for Missouri inmates means a West Bottoms center for parolees and probationers will go back to being a minimum security prison.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Golden Ox, once the center of the Kansas City Stockyards in Missouri and one of the oldest restaurants in the area, is set to close Saturday night.

The steakhouse, a kitschy mix of cowtown and commerce, has been busy for the past couple weeks, in response to word getting out that it was closing.

The West Bottoms restaurant has struggled attracting folks to the area, especially since Kemper Arena stopped holding events, said Mike Holland, the Golden Ox general manager.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Frames have been used for centuries as decoration or to heighten the drama of a piece of artwork.

As part of an occasional KCUR series called Tools of the Trade — about artists and their relationships to the tools that make their work possible — we'll take a look at the complex creation of a very large frame.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Students from the Armourdale community of Kansas City, Kan., refer to their neighborhood as the barrio.

Today the neighborhood is predominantly Hispanic, but it wasn’t always this way. Armourdale, which was one of the first Hispanic communities to form in Kansas City, Kan., in 1886, went through an era when Hispanics were a minority. 

J.S. Clark / Flickr--CC

The developer who wants to rehab Kemper Arena and turn it into a youth sports complex made a pitch for his company's plan to a downtown lunch club Wednesday afternoon.

Steve Foutch told the Kansas City Downtowners it's possible city council members could move forward with a plan that both preserves Kemper and gives the American Royal the new arena it wants.

"Our designs show both buildings can co-exist in the location," Foutch says. "It's all about the logistics of the operation."

CC: SA2.5

The future of Kansas City’s Kemper Arena is murky. The city council is considering two proposals. One, from the American Royal, would see it torn down and replaced. The other, from the development company Foutch Brothers, would rehab it as the centerpiece of a youth sports complex. But last week, urban activist Jase Wilson wrote an open letter to the council last week with a novel proposal: Turn the arena into the Midwest’s only arena specifically designed to host competitive video game tournaments.

Tear Down Kemper Arena, American Royal Insists

Aug 15, 2014

The American Royal is sticking to its guns, insisting that Kemper Arena be torn down to make way for a new, smaller arena.

A council committee was looking favorably at a Foutch Brothers Developers' plan for a youth sports facility would save Kemper Arena. But the American Royal's plan now includes a youth sports aspect backed by Sporting Kansas City. And given that, plus disruption to the parking area and the annual barbecue contest, American Royal chairman Mariner Kemper says the old arena has to go.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Within the old bones of big brick buildings like the Columbia Burlap & Bag Co., in Kansas City's West Bottoms, new businesses, artist studios and restaurants are finding success in an area that still looks like it belongs in the late 1800s.

One spot that's finding particular success is the 12th Street Bridge and the surrounding buildings. First Friday "Warehouse Weekends" and antique shops bring in thousands of visitors each month.

But it wasn't always this way. In fact, parts of the West Bottoms were practically deserted for nearly 40 years.

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