Wednesday, February 8, 2023

KC’s Update – What Happened After Bar Rescue

KC’s before Bar Rescue

KC’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill was opened in 2002 in Kansas City. Owner Bill Papon then turned it into a private bar to evade Missouri’s smoking ban and this decision helped bring in more patrons while monthly profits flew up to $41 grand. Papon basked in success through the years but his health went on a steady decline, ultimately leading to five heart attacks and a triple bypass surgery.

Bill Papon

While he was on recovery Papon handed over the reins to longtime bartender Elizabeth Jones as he saw the same spark in her when he was around her age. Papon’s faith in Jones was so strong that he groomed her as the buyer of KC’s when he retired instead of handing over the business to his son Ryan who worked in the establishment part-time. As Jones paid for co-ownership in an installment basis while shouldering the establishment’s responsibilities Papon remained in the bar as a patron, chugging down booze with the other customers and encouraging the bartenders to overpour on purpose so everyone was bombed.

With profits on the red and investments at stake Papon and Jones called for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue.

KC’s on Bar Rescue

KC’s looked very uninviting from the outside with a dimly-lit exterior and a bland signage, not to mention having a very ordinary-sounding name. Taffer’s first pair of spies, who weren’t members of KC’s, were denied entry by the bouncer without being offered an on-the-spot membership. The second recon duo, now members, was allowed access and they witnessed how bartender Shawna smoked during the shift and used the same hands to grab olives and handle money without washing. Their order of martini was “crap” and the Mozzarella sticks took a whole minute of chewing before it could be swallowed. When the spies complained about the items and tried to order something else Shawna ignored them and gave them the finger. To top it all off a raccoon bolted into the bar and ran on the counter while leaving droppings on the floor.

The old exterior

Having seen enough Taffer walked into the bar but was initially blocked by an inebriated Shawna as he was “not a member”. He eventually got inside and talked to Papon but Taffer then walked out shortly as the owner was very apathetic towards the bar. The Bar Rescue host returned the following morning with everyone sober and inspected the paperwork Papon and Jones had about the latter’s co-ownership status. Some of the documents lacked necessary signatures and seals and Jones could be sued for $50 grand if things go south. Taffer reassured the two that he will fix things with the help of a lawyer. Afterwards bartender Tony Devencenzi taught the employees how to not overpour while chef Tiffany Derry had the cooks clean up the equipment first before teaching them the right way of frying.

For that night’s stress test Taffer invited hundreds of members and encouraged them to bring along non-member friends so the bar could get an outsider’s perspective. Slow service and the lack of a system were some of KC’s main problems, and the raccoon once again made an appearance on the ceiling and rained down flakes of wood as it gnawed on the panels. After the test Taffer and the experts huddled for the bar’s new concept which involved flavored bitters and a buffet line.

The next day a critter control team arrived to end the raccoon infestation once and for all. Devencenzi introduced the cocktails Rob Burgundy and Members Only which were tailored to suit the dulled taste buds of smokers, while in the kitchen Derry whipped out fresh greens for the buffet. Taffer brought in local attorney Ross Keeling to check the documents and the calculations revealed that, for Jones to get full ownership of KC’s, she had to pay almost $300 grand. Jones realized that the price was incredibly unfair as she could open up her own establishment for around $200,000, and Papon refused to lower the bar’s price despite its diminished value. Jones eventually decided to drop her plans of buying KC’s and said her last farewells to the staff.

Classy new exterior

Taffer left Papon and the staff to discuss KC’s direction now that Jones was out of the picture. Ryan offered himself as the new manager and everyone agreed to it. Taffer then revealed the blueprints for the bar’s new theme with a new exterior and a customized buffet aisle that can be transformed into a pool table at night. 36 hours later KC’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill was renamed to Johnson County Line with crimson being the dominant color on its previously-bland façade. The interior displayed class with new furniture, an elegant liquor shelf behind the counter, and a free vacation promo for members who signed up the most number of new blood in a single week. A Smoke Eater system ensured that the air was clean for non-smokers, and new service stations and POS systems on the bar area hastened serving times.

During the reopening patrons loved the buffet line and the transformation of KC’s into a classy members-only bar. Taffer left the premises after a successful rescue of not only a bar but a family business.

KC’s Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update

The bar’s success continued two months after the rescue with new members flocking in and Ryan geared for succession.

Back to the old ways

However the name didn’t last long and the establishment went back to being KC’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill. It was noted that the show enforced a strict dress code that prohibited jeans, cutoffs, colors, and hats, and the act drew the ire of the bar’s regulars who also expressed their hatred towards the new name and concept. Some of the bartenders replied to the comments and stated that they had no choice regarding those matters and vowed the return of KC’s.

KC’s is still open but with only a few reviews on Facebook, and their Yelp page’s latest feedback was way back 2015. The more recent reviews were in Google with praise directed towards the staff and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Click here if you want to check out their Facebook page. It is still being updated with events pertinent to KC’s but not much status updates and visitor posts in these recent times.

Anthony Coyle
I write about anything and everything that catches my fancy, but mostly I try to provide the answers to the questions our readers ask every day. I'm also the guy who's always glued to an LCD screen of some sort.


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