Thousands of Big 12 fans spilling out onto downtown streets between games is a win for many nearby businesses offering special prices and deals.
By JOYCE SMITH
The Kansas City Star
In a prime spot just across from the Sprint Center in the Power & Light District, Johnnys Tavern is perfectly positioned to fuel the hungry and thirsty crowd. But the owners are not just relying on their location. They also are beefing up service in an effort to be one of the fastest spots in town. It has a pared down version of its regular menu but still with more than 50 items to speed up kitchen orders, and three different beer kiosks along with its bar to speed up bar service. A special server wanders the restaurant with a tray of hamburgers and pizza slices to sell on the spot. Johnnys also is opening at 10 a.m. today through Sunday, an hour earlier than normal to accommodate the crowd.
Also in the P&L District, Chase Odenreider, co-owner of Envolve Boutique, was busy stacking Effing Gear team T-shirts Thursday, designed to draw in fans along with Keep Cool watches that can be customized to team colors.
We have been preparing all week, Odenreider said. You always hope the local teams make it as long as possible. It keeps the people around.
Balsanos Gelato Café nearby typically closes about 9 p.m. but will stay open as long as customers are coming in. Although it doesnt serve alcohol, that makes it a draw for younger college students and families.
The Big 12 has other retailers in the district introducing new items that they plan to offer long-term. The Polished Edge Fine Jewelry store, for example, recently added new lines that would especially appeal to college-aged customers like Alex and Ani, Elle and Fossil. Latteland Espresso & Tea introduced its new $4.99 breakfast sandwiches on Thursday.
Most of the game-day specials are concentrated in the P&L District, but other nearby operations are getting into the spirit, too.
Dukes on Grand, just to the south of the Sprint Center, said it offers everyday low prices so it isnt offering Big 12 specials. However, it does have beer to-go and has set up an extra beer kiosk to service the crowd.
We have our garage doors up so you can enjoy the weather and our new 70-inch screen to enjoy the games, said Justin Quigley, managing partner.
The Cashew, at 2000 Grand Blvd., hopes to draw Big 12 fans a few blocks south with free shuttle and free parking, along with two-for-one Rock Chalk martinis and a game-day menu that includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas and pizza. Tomboy Design Studio at 1817 McGee St. is changing out its apparel in its window display all weekend long to reflect the team colors of each game.
But the Big 12 doesnt boost revenues for every business.
Polished Nail Salon had steady traffic Thursday but still less than usual.
We let our customers know what the situation is and see if they want to reschedule. Its very festive but not fun to be stuck in traffic, said Tiffany Nguyen, manager.
Other Big 12 specials near Sprint Center:
• Angels Rock Bar: Live music on Sunday.
• Cosentinos Market Downtown: From 11:30 to 1 p.m. today the master distiller for Jack Daniels will be onsite. Boulevard Brewing Co. also will have a tasting from 3 to 7 p.m.
• Drunken Fish Sushi Restaurant & Lounge: $2 shot specials, $3 beer specials, $4 appetizer specials and $5 sushi roll specials.
• The Dubliner: Breakfast from 9 to 10:30 a.m. today and Saturday, and 7 to 10:30 a.m. and Sunday.
• The Garment District boutiques: $5 Martinis and 15 percent off clothes and accessories.
• Latteland Espresso & Tea: spend $20 and receive a $5 gift card.
• Memas Old-Fashioned Bakery: Brightly colored Jawhawk cookies for $3.95.
• PBR Big Sky: Jello wrestling Sunday night.
• Pizza Bar: Opens at 9 a.m. today through Sunday, two hours earlier than normal. It also is offering a breakfast pizza.
• Providence New American Kitchen & The Drum Room Lounge: Outdoor grab-and-go bar selling beer, pop, water and vodka-based punch, and game day menu featuring items from $7 to $9 like a Campo Lindo chicken sandwiches or Boulevard beer duck sausage bratwurst.
• Whopper Bar: Two sandwiches for $5 Whopper, Original Chicken or BK Fish in any combination.
• Z-Strike Bowling: Special menu dedicated to Jayhawk fans including personal pan pizza for $7 and salmon salad for $10. The Big 12 Powerhouse 12 meatballs, 12 slices of pizza, 12 boneless wings, 12 beer battered onion rings, 12-ounces of Sweet Potato Poppers and 12 chocolate milkshake shots for $35. Domestic bottle beers for $5 and 16-ounce cans for $5.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.