Brookside East Welcomes New Businesses

butch photo

 

 

The Brookside East area continues to grow,  with more businesses on the way! Developer Butch Rigby recently finished adding a second story on to 633 E 63rd St and has several new tenants lined up for the building:

New Strong and Counseling Services LLC  –  counseling

Wize Webz – advertising/web marketing office

Architexture Salon – hair salon

Vijay Home – home furnishings shop/design studio/showroom (Sept opening)

This building is already home to several thriving businesses, including BKS Artisan Ales, Can I Have A Bite?,  and Farm Dog Studios.

Rigby is also renovating additional buildings along E 63rd St,  and is now working on 701 and 751 E 63rd St.  The updates will feature a mid-century modern theme, with green and brown tones and rustic wood; new glass exterior and new plumbing and HVAC.  He’s hoping for more retail and restaurant space here along with office tenants, with a focus on locally owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

If you haven’t been on 63rd St east of Oak lately–take a trip!  Thanks to Butch Rigby, many new businesses and eateries to explore!

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Classic Cookie Now Open For Dinner

One of Waldo’s best breakfast and lunch spots–The Classic Cookie–is now open for dinner!  The Italian themed menu is served Thursday through Saturday, 5-10pm.

classic cookie

 

Local owner Leslie Stockard started the business in 1998.  The daytime menu features the famous cookies of course,  plus simple breakfast favorites like pancakes and biscuits and gravy; for lunch, there’s simple sandwiches, soups and salads. The food tastes like your Mom made it just for you!

I haven’t stopped by to try the dinner menu but it sounds delicious:  several starters, like meatballs, mushroom turnovers and a Tuscan bean dip.  There are soups and salad, plus several main courses including pastas, Parmesan chicken and meatloaf..plus beer and wine.  Gluten free pasta is available along with many vegetarian options.  Finally…there are a few desserts!

Stop in and try the new dinner menu the locally owned and operated The Classic Cookie, 409 W Gregory in Waldo.

 

 

Legendary KC Small Shop Closing Soon

sheehans store

After 33 years of serving Kansas City residents, Sheehan’s Irish Imports is closing at the end of the month.  It’s current location is on the border of Brookside and Waldo, at 410 E Gregory.  

Sheehan’s Irish Imports is one of those classic, family owned small businesses.  Daughter Katy Sheehan told me her mother Peggy started selling Irish products as a hobby out of her home in 1985. As the business grew, Pryde’s offered her a space in the corner of their building in Westport. The next move was to a larger, free standing store at 1412 Westport Road, then a final move to the Brookside/Waldo location in 2015. Katy and her sister Molly have operated the store for the past several years.

sheehans katyLike every other retail business, Sheehan’s has been affected by globalism and online sales. Katy says “these days, you can find Irish products everywhere”–for example, the popular Inis perfume they carried can now be ordered through Amazon or found in various other local tourist shops.  Katy and Molly enjoyed running the store, getting to know customers, promoting Irish products and offering excellent client service.  Now it’s time for a new adventure, as Katy says one of her goals in retirement is to visit every U.S. national park.

From now until closing June 30, 2018, everything on the store is on sale — 40% off.  You can browse through Irish CDs, religious items, baby clothes, keychains, jewelry, hats, caps and of course, warm Irish sweaters (this winter, you’ll appreciate that bargain sweater bought on a 90 degree day!). Thanks to the Sheehan family for their decades of serving KC residents!  And as a final note, Katy told me KC Needlepoint is moving from 105 E Gregory into this space. 

sheehan peggy

 

 

 

Edible Cookie Dough Shop Opens in Brookside

Who doesn’t like to sneak spoonfuls of cookie dough when all the ingredients are mixed together in the bowl? Now your cravings can be satisfied with a visit to the new Sweet and Simple shop in Brookside.  It’s a store with various flavors of safe-to-eat cookie dough…what a concept!

sweet and simple front

When I stopped by recently to check out the place, the manager explained edible cookie dough is a new concept for the Midwest– it’s already popular in California and New York.  All flavors are made in house, followed by a cooking and chilling process.   There is a “signature” flavor, which tastes like a basic vanilla flavored dough; other options include Birthday Cake, S’Mores, Finding Dory, Mint and Chocolate Bliss.  Of course there are many, many toppings you can add (crackers, pretzels, nuts, sprinkles, candy, etc–.25 each) and the flavored drizzle squirts are free. One scoop is $5, two for $7.50. 

sweet and simple flavors

 

Sweet and Simple also makes smoothies and  milk tea (bubble tea) with several flavor choices–and some unusual ones, like white gourd, tamarind, and lycee.  Local owner Diana Dang also owns BKS Nails in Brookside.  She wanted to be in Brookside for this second business because of the neighborhood vibe, the friendliness of the people and how they support “mom and pop” shops and stores. 

sweet and simple

 

This bright, clean store has some indoor seating and a few games for kids–Scrabble and Connect 4, which is a nice touch…interactive play instead of screens!  Hours are Monday – Thursday 10:30am-8:30pm; Friday and Saturday 10:30am-9:30pm and Sunday noon-7.  Sweet and Simple is located at 326 W 63rd St, in part of the former Reading Reptile space. Stop by, enjoy a treat and welcome another new local business to Brookside!

A Brooksider Walks Into The Starbucks…

There’s been a lot of discussion between Brookside/Waldo neighbors about the new Starbucks setting up shop in the heart of the shopping district.  So many passionate remarks against a national chain moving in; others seem to welcome the homegrown USA company that treats its employees well and produces a quality product.  Does there have to be a feud between Starbucks and Roasterie patrons? Can’t we all just get along?

Starbucks inside

 

Starbucks mural

I visited the Starbucks earlier this week.  It wasn’t very busy, probably because it was over 90 degrees outside at 4 in the afternoon!  It’s a spacious store, with plenty of seating and a large counter, plus plenty of windows to people watch the pedestrians. I like the drawing on the west side of the building, and the inviting tables and chairs outside. 

Coffee at this level is very much a personal preference — I find Roasterie coffee tastes smoother, and it’s hard to find another coffee spot that so expertly creates  the foam latte topping as well.  Roasterie offers a wide assortment of locally made snacks, chocolates and pastries, and at both thank you Brooksideplaces you can order ahead so you don’t have to talk to a human. But I do enjoy Starbucks coffee, generally the servers are friendly (excluding airport Starbucks in my experience!)  and it can be less expensive than Roasterie.  For example, a 16 oz bag of beans at Starbucks runs $14-$15; at Roasterie the 12 oz bag of beans start at $14.  Lattes, straight gray coffee, expresso and teas are competitive in pricing. 

There is definitely a ‘vibe’ difference between the two stores.  Roasterie is more industrial, gray;  it has the big  open windows, a patio and games for the kids. Starbucks is a brand new store, all prettied up and organized with wood accents and sleek long counters.  Roasterie feels comfortable, local and unique, partly because I’ve been going there since it opened. The Roasterie logo is unique to KC; I can walk into any USA Starbucks and know I’m in a national chain shop. 

My first choice is to support Roasterie.  Brooksider Danny O’Neil took that ugly corner that was once an abandoned gas station (where I got carjacked) and turned it into one of Brookside’s most beloved and popular hang out spots. This was the first Roasterie Cafe location  in Kansas City, and now there are  at least six Cafes around the metro area…indeed it is a locally based chain.   The company does a lot to support local kids’ sports teams and donates coffee to community organizations.  They mix up special blends for area restaurants and organizations. Will Starbucks do the same?   

I’m sure I’ll stop in the Starbucks at times too. It seems the idea of Starbucks coming to Brookside is worse than their actual presence.  If the local and national landlords that rent Brookside space on both sides of 63rd St are smart, they will keep the area primarily locally based owned and operated businesses.  That is what keeps our neighborhood so special–the one of a kind stores & restaurants, the personal service, the unique items you can buy here in Brookside and Waldo. Not every local business can afford the pricey rent in this highly trafficked area, and sometimes local Brookside businesses lose their lease (for example, Shopgirls).  If the landlords want to make the focus all about how much money they can make by courting only national chains, the area may not thrive as it does now.  I don’t think that will happen.  Brookside has changed over the years, and various services and restaurants will continue to open and close.  So, now we have yet another chain, to go with Jimmy Johns, Panera Bread, Baskin Robbins/Topsy’s, CVS, Tuesday Morning, etc.  Brookside/Waldo residents are known for patronizing home grown businesses–for now, the mix between local/national stores seems to work. 

 

2018 Brookside Art Fair This Weekend-May 4-6!

brookside-art-banner-2018

I always felt like the Brookside Art Annual really starts  off the summer season of festive outdoor events, even though technically it’s still Spring!  This is the 33rd year for the art fair. Here are the details:

Hours are Fri 5-9pm; Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 11am-5pm.  Free activities for kids on Saturday and Sunday;  music in the evening, and local Brookside businesses (Carmen’s Cafe, Charlie Hooper’s, Avenue Bistro, Sweet and Simple)  will have food booths for noshing and drink.  Please do not bring pets!

The Art Annual is set up between 63rd St and Meyer Blvd, just east of the tennis courts.  Watch for extra pedestrians, strollers and children in the area this weekend. It is easiest to park a few blocks away and walk to the tents.  Be sure to stop in one of Brookside’s many shops/restaurants/services while you are in the neighborhood!  We appreciate our local business owners and the Brookside Business Assn that coordinates this popular event every year.

 

 

New Community Space Opens in Brookside

If your Brookside/Waldo home has a front porch—you know how relaxing and welcoming the space can be.  For those of us without that amenity, please enjoy the new front porch at HJ’s Youth and Community Center, 6425 Wornall.  The sleek new building joins the campus of St Andrew’s Episcopal Church at Meyer and Wornall.  HJ’s gathering place is open to all area residents, not just members of the church.

Fr JohnFather John Spicer, Rector, at St Andrew’s, has been watching the construction go on the past several months.  He’s so excited about the new space, and eager to show it off to the Brookside/Waldo residents. As he explained to me, “We want this building to be a place of intersection between the church and the community.”  St Andrew’s Youth Ministry will meet here, along with Boy Scout Troup 16 (here for more than 90 years!).  Other groups are welcome:  community meetings, business associations, classes for couples and parenting, financial seminars.  Special events like wedding receptions, anniversary and birthday parties can be hosted in the space; there is a catering prep space/kitchen (alcohol permitted) and there will be a staffed coffee/snack bar with a special Roasterie Blend coffee named for the church.  So if you are weary of working from home, or need a break while walking the trail, stop in the lobby of HJ’s, grab a beverage and relax on the patio!

front

 

east wall

 

A lot of dedicated, design conscious thought went into the appearance and amenities of the outside of the building so as to engage the neighborhood residents and passers-by.  On the east side, there is a fire pit on a patio (pictured at left) and a water station. A bike repair area will soon be installed for those who use the Trolley Track Trail.  Father John hopes to host summer movie nights on the building’s east wall.  The front porch will have Adirondack chairs and a bike rack.  And notice the large steel WELCOME sign on the west and south side of the building!

HJ’s Youth and Community Center will host an Open House for the neighborhood this Saturday, April 28 from 1-3pm.  Please stop by and see this beautiful space that everyone is welcome to use and enjoy.  Oh—and if you are wondering about the pumpkin and Christmas tree sales, they will still take place here! For more information, call the church at 816 523 1602.  Online space reservations will soon be available at www.hjsbrookside.org

welcome