Winstead’s: 101 Brush Creek Blvd

 Posted by at 4:10 am
Oct 052009
 


Hey guys, check out Winstead’s awesome website. Go ahead and click, I’ll wait…

Like anyone who’s been around this long, Winstead’s gets a pass on the technology front.

This local chain has been around since 1940 when Kathryn and Nelle Winstead moved from Illinois to open a drive-in burger joint on Brush Creek Boulevard near the Plaza. I can only assume that this is the same building as the one that sits there today, but it almost looks too well-preserved.

While it’s not the best place for lunch in the world, Kansas City should be proud of Winstead’s, particularly this original location. They serve cheap, old school food here and manage to pull off the nostalgia schtick without beating you over the head with it. Thin, griddled burgers are the staple, served with condiments pre-applied and thick slices of white onion. The latter is particularly notable because raw onion is not the most popular ingredient these days, much less 1/2 inch slabs of it. It takes balls to cap off a burger with something like that. Of course, you can always order your burger with grilled onions instead, which many people seem to prefer. Whatever.

Winstead's

And the burgers are pretty good in my humble opinion. The patties are little free formed discs which are smashed flat on the grill. They arrive wrapped in wax paper on blue-accented Winstead’s china. The burgers won’t knock your socks off, but every once in a while I get a craving that only a double from Winstead’s will sate.

The fries and onion rings are only slightly more than fast food quality and preparation. Not bad, but neither one really does it for me.

There are a bunch of other things on the menu including breakfast items which they serve until 10:30 a.m. This means if you show up hungover on a Saturday looking for breakfast at 10:45, you’re getting a burger.

The interior space is very interesting, despite a somewhat unfortunate teal and puce color scheme. It is a wide open room with art deco homages like these ceiling lights.

Winstead's

Winstead’s is probably the cheapest place in town to offer waitservice as well. The servers here are pretty darn quick and know how to get you in and out in hurry.

Most people who read this blog have probably eaten at Winstead’s, and I can’t add much to your interpretation of the experience. But I enjoy checking it out once in a while. The burgers are good and the ambiance is pretty interesting. They have a few locations around the metro including one on Metcalf in Overland Park and one on Shawnee Mission Parkway. I enjoy the original location most of all. The people watching is pretty much unparalleled and the service seems to be better there.

I’d love to hear people’s memories of Winstead’s, good or bad. This place has been around for years and supposedly played a role in the social lives of many teen in the 60s and 70s.

If you want to learn more there is a nice, short bio of the founders on the Web courtesy of the Kansas City Public Library.

Winstead's on Urbanspoon


Top photo courtesy of Brandon Burke on Flickr.

The Mixx: 4855 Main St.

 Posted by at 2:20 am
Apr 172008
 

All I can say is that the Mixx is one of those places I will go to only grudgingly. Are you one of those people who enjoys:

going to popular movies on opening night?
the chaos of the Apple Store?
Oklahoma Joe’s on Saturday afternoon?
Disney World/Land?

You see, I’m not a people person. And when aforementioned “people” involve JoCo baby shower attendees, a plethora of three-year-old children and people eating lunch before seeing yet another boring white guy speak at the Plaza Library, well I get a little bit grumpy.

But the Mixx is totally good for those all too infrequent healthy/fresh cravings I get, particularly on weekend afternoons after a week of BBQ, Mexican food, brown-bag sandwiches, and deep fried delicasies. Well, at least I don’t eat snack cakes any more, unlike some other people.

This is one of those build-your-own salads places. This is something that is done to reasonably good effect at grocery store salad bars, but the Mixx takes it to the next level. They have some very nice ingredients that cannot be found in the average salad bar, not even the highly-praised whole foods variety. Yeah I eat at whole foods once in a while, so what? So basically you can go into the Mixx and order mixed greens, romaine or spinach; topped with a protein like grilled salmon or chicken, and your choice of any number of cheeses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It’s an airtight gimmick, it’s delicious and it works.

There is always a line at this place, they do a very good business. You have to order at the counter and your salad is made to order. But it can be slow-going. As my co-diner noted “they always act like they are so surprised to be busy.” And it’s true, it’s always a barely controlled mayhem behind the counter, but fortunately the staff is exceedingly kind, which almost makes up for paying $12 for a friggin salad.

Yeah, it ain’t cheap and you will spend that kind of money easily if you’re planning on drinking anything other than water. The desserts are a frequent temptation as well. I believe their cupcakes received one of those ubiquitous “best of” awards from the pitch a year or so back, and the cookies are excellent. But bring your goddamn wallet.

After recieving food from the counter you pay and navigate Kansas City’s most cacophonous dining room to find a place to sit. Seriously it’s so loud mostly becuase there are always tons of kids in there. And the table are, like 1 foot closer together than they should be so it’s always dicey keeping your salad bowl upright while squeezing past some oblivious, no-job-having aging beauty queen and her brood. Seriously the seating area is loud, which normally would be fine, but I just wish that a place so close to the library would be a little mellower. For instance, they sell beer, but I can;t imagine kicking back and having a few at the Mixx for chrissakes. It’s just not a fun place to hang out.

Being situated so close to the Plaza branch of the KC Public Library is great–it’s almost the default restaurant for the institution. I personally think it’s nice to be able to check out some books and read them over lunch at the Mixx. Or you have someplace to eat before/after a program at the Library. But the whole vibe there sort of bugs me. If they waited on me or had a salad bar, I might like it more. Yeah, crazy right?

Read more:

Mixx on Urbanspoon

Yelp