Vic Allred, founder of Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, was thinking about expanding his restaurant business when he took a hard look at his 39th Street location.
It included a corner bar, Jimmy’s Jigger, that didn’t draw much traffic during the day, mostly just serving as an overflow dining room for Jazz.
“Maybe the easiest way to open a new restaurant is to open one in a place I already had and maximize revenue there — a second concept, a second menu under one roof,” Allred said.
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Allred said the space was once a livery stable, then a speakeasy during Prohibition, and then it opened in 1933 as a Bigger Jiggers. But many loyal customers just referred to it as “the joint.” Jimmy Bowers, who died in 1995, owned and operated it as Jimmy’s Jigger for 38 years.
Allred took over in late 1993, operating the Jigger in the corner space while converting the rest of the space into one of his Jazz operations. But Jimmy’s has since served the Jazz menu.
“I was blessed to get to know Jimmy a little bit. After getting to know him it was very easy for me to see why he was so successful for all of those years,” Allred said. “His personality said ‘hospitality’ and he was real generous with a lot of the students, gregarious and gentle.”
Now Allred has rebranded the location as Papa Vic’s The Jigger, with a tagline of “The Little Joint that Jumps.” It has a sports bar theme and its own menu featuring such items as barbecue pig wings, Grand Slam Shrimp with Boom Boom Sauce, fresh Gulf oysters, a variety of tacos including chipotle chicken, and the popular Black & Bleu Burger.
“We haven’t sold a lot of the Crimson and Bleu — breaded chicken livers with hot sauce, blue cheese crumbles and celery — but when people try them they really like them,” Allred said.
Allred also took out the Jazz memorabilia for a sports bar theme. His booth in the back features The Woodlands racing track and some of his personal photos of sports celebrities.
He’s also shellacked other sports memorabilia to the tabletops — the Kansas City Athletics, the Royals, the Chiefs, and the University of Kansas — most pre-1980s. Programs and magazine covers line the walls, even an original program from the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin.
Fitting, Allred said: “There was a lot of history that went down on this corner.”
Smish Smash food truck
Chef Bradley Emery worked in Washington restaurants for 16 years. But he longed for his own restaurant with an eye toward providing for his children’s future.
“But you need a mountain of cash for a brick-and-mortar operation,” he said.
Instead he has opened a chef-driven food truck with his wife, Valerie, and mother, Kathleen Brooke of Olathe.
Smish Smash Sandwich Co. offers such grilled sandwiches as The Muenster Smash with Muenster cheese, sliced smoked turkey, cucumber and tomato, and the Smash This with black forest ham, turkey, smoked bacon, Swiss cheese and Smish Smash’s signature mustard spread. There is a brick platform on Smish Smash’s grill and as the sandwiches bake, another brick is “smashed” on top
“It’s an old Italian way of making sandwiches. They would put sandwiches in the oven and pull out a loose brick to press it down. It cooks it from the top and bottom at the same time,” said Bradley Emery.
Sides include broccoli apple salad and grilled Parmesan green bean fries.
Smish Smash has already set up at a county fair and food truck events. This week they plan to set up for lunch Wednesday and Friday in downtown Olathe.