Thank You Mister Robinson

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Photo by Chris Cummins Kansascity.com

(Note: I wrote this piece last week upon hearing this untimely news.)

I never worked for Paul Robinson.  To the best of my knowledge I never even waited on him.  When I read today that he passed away on Monday it probably should not have affected me the way it did.  Honestly, I am not sure that I have any right to be writing this post.  Mr Robinson had a greater impact on thousands of lives than he had on mine.  Still I can’t help but feel sadness at the loss of a man who was a restaurant legend in the truest sense of the word.

I grew up with the legend of Gilbert/Robinson.  Two restaurateurs that changed the face of the industry and ran nearly every great dining spot in town.  At one point “GR” ran nearly all of the restaurants in Kansas City’s main dining district, The Country Club Plaza, as well as concessions for the airport and both stadiums.  It boggles my mind to think of a single company controlling such a large number of the city’s outlets.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

Plaza Art Fair

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For those of you from Kansas City, I wanted to provide a recap of the most popular part of the Plaza Art Fair.  Sure they call it an art fair, but by far the most common activity is eating the food offered by Plaza restaurants while walking the streets sipping a cocktail.  When I made passing mention of it in a previous post, I searched unsuccessfully for a site detailing the food offerings. So on Sunday afternoon I went back to the art fair to photograph the booths.  Hopefully this provides you with fond memories during the 51 weeks worth of waiting for next year’s event.

For those of you not from KC, this is interesting on a different level.  The Country Club Plaza is Kansas City’s premier dining and shopping district.  During the art fair over 100,000 visitors will come to The Plaza to see art and sample some of the local restaurant’s fare.  This not only represents a great marketing opportunity, but also a huge opportunity to generate revenue.  A successful art fair booth can generate $20,000-$50,000 in revenue on top of a large spike in business inside the restaurant.  In order to seize this opportunity you must build, staff, and stock a freestanding restaurant complete with kitchen.  The visual appeal of your booth, the quality of your offerings, and the value you provide will determine your success.  It is a high risk venture with the potential to do more volume in the free standing booth than most restaurants in America will do in a week.

Some restaurant chose not to participate this year.  Notable no shows included The Cheesecake Factory and Buca Di Beppo.  I tried diligently to document all those who did participate.  I also did some research and as best I can tell will be the first to reveal to the internet the winner of the Plaza Art Fair best booth award.  Here are the booths in alphabetical order.  Click any picture to see a larger version.  A breakdown of their food offerings can be found here.

810 Zone

Blanc Burgers and Bottles

Bo Lings

Brio

Classic Cup

Figlios

Fred P Ott's

Houston's

In gre di ent

Jack Stack

Kona Grill

M&S Grill

O Dowd's

PF Changs

Plaza III

reVerse

Ruth's Chris

Starker's

The Capital Grill

The Granfalloon

The Melting Pot

Tomfooleries

Topsy's

And The winner of the 2010 Plaza Art Fair best booth award goes to……

McCormick and Schmick

I hope everyone who attended had a great time.  I hope everyone who didn’t get to make it found this post a nice way to enjoy it vicariously.  I hope everyone who worked it for three days straight recovers soon.  This is a great event for the area and one that definitely draws customers down to the Plaza.  Only 51 more weeks until the 2011 Plaza Art Fair.  I hope my body has recovered by then.

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