As Ron Quick makes the 20-minute drive from his Olathe home to his Kansas City, Kan., restaurant and back again, his vehicle serves as a rolling billboard for his business.
By JOYCE SMITH
The Kansas City Star
Quicks Bar-B-Q & Catering Co. is one of the latest area operations to go mobile. Its new Quicks on Wheels food truck is a good marketing tool for the restaurant at 1007 Merriam Lane, and it is helping expand its catering business.
The new truck made its debut at a Sporting Kansas City private tailgating event this month. Now the plan is to do a lunch route, rotating in corporate parking lots.
I eat barbecue every day, but I dont expect everyone else to. So we will go to different buildings, said Quick, owner and operator of Quicks with his wife, Janet. People who have only 30 minutes for lunch can run out and get a sandwich and go back to relax.
The Quicks on Wheels is a bright burnt orange, with flames coming up the sides and a pink pig circled by the Q in Quick. It will serve a limited menu, mostly beef, turkey, burnt ends and single rib bones, along with such sides as hickory smoked beans, potato salad and chips.
Quicks regular menu includes a variety of appetizers and sides, salads, barbecue sandwiches, tenderloins, chili dogs, fish and dinners. It also has a novelty item, the popular Big Dog a half-pound, spiral-cut, deep-fried hot dog loaded with chili, cheese, and onion which a table of six split up to share this week.
Quicks is now in its third generation. Rons father, Earl Quick, founded the restaurant in 1964 with just a handful of tables. Rons son, Dustin Quick, is general manager.
Dustin will probably take the truck out to special events. But Ive been inside these walls for 40 years. I wanted to get out from behind the counter and get out among the people, Ron Quick said.
A little bit of JJs restaurant lives on in some unique lighting pieces created by a former JJs bartender.
Jim Ligon started Vintage Edison two years ago, using recycled wine and spirit bottles and boxes from JJs and other restaurants. This weekend he will display some of his wares at Booth No. 8120 at the Greater Kansas City Home Show and the Flower, Lawn & Garden Show at Bartle Hall.
Vintage Edison combines two areas that have had a strong influence on him bartending and electrical work.
Ligon grew up in New Orleans, where his grandfather was an electrician. The boys in the family could hardly wait until they hit seventh grade and were allowed to go out on residential calls during the summer. In high school they moved up to commercial jobs.
But after his grandfather died, the business closed and Ligon went on to college.
Along with the electrical work, his family influenced his bartending career by taking him along with them to neighborhood bars when he was growing up. Sometimes he would sit in on the live music acts, playing spoons with his brother.
It was always a gathering space. People looked forward to being there. When you see the same people several times a week, you go through life stuff, all the good things that happen, all the bad things, Ligon said.
He became a bartender at JJs in 2008. In the next few years he tired of tossing away really cool bottles, many hand-blown. So one night Ligon tinkered around until he turned two Patrón bottles and a whiskey crate into a unique light fixture and posted a photo on his Facebook page.
Friends asked for more designs. He tried different colors, sizes and boxes. Then Cellar Rat Wine Merchants took notice and asked him to set up a presentation in their Crossroads shop during a First Friday event.
Now he has residential and retail clients, including Louies Wine Dive in Waldo. Pieces start at $150.
Ligon plans to make Vintage Edison a full-time job and is looking for a small space in the Crossroads where he can set up a studio and then show his works on First Fridays. He also may pick up a bartender job or two temporarily.
He wasnt working that night in mid-February when an explosion leveled JJs. But within seconds of hearing the news, Ligon was working his phone, calling co-workers and getting just their voice mail. Soon he had set up a command post at a Westport bar where workers and friends could gather as they awaited news. Within hours he also was helping to put together a fundraiser.
The word family gets tossed around a lot in this business, but we were a family. Were all going to be OK, Ligon said of his former JJs co-workers. But he lamented that we arent together.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.