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Yes, Kansas City, You Can Now Get Barbecue From A Vending Machine

04152020_Deborah and Mary Jones_Christopher Smith_Netflix
Christopher Smith
Deborah “Little” and Mary “Shorty” Jones own and operate Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas, where they have just installed their first barbecue vending machine.

A new addition to Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas, allows for contact-free barbecue ordering all the time.

Kansas City has 100+ barbecue joints. We should be able to get it at absolutely any hour we want, right?

That was part of the thinking behind a new barbecue vending machine at Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas. It’s likely the first vending machine of its kind in town.

The two Jones sisters, who own and operate the establishment, had been hearing from customers who wanted to come by after they closed or who needed a quick “grab and go” option during their lunch hour.

“We’re only open from 10:45 a.m. - 3 p.m. or we sell out,” says Deborah “Little” Jones. “Because we cook everything fresh and once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Jones Bar-B-Q

The vending machine options include the hits: beef, chicken wings, turkey, ham, rib tips, burnt ends. The latter two are the biggest crowd pleasers right now. The meat comes with coleslaw or potato salad, bread and a side of sauce. Oh, and there are slices of cake in there, too.

Soon, customers will also be able to buy bottles of their famous sauce from the vending machine. Kansas Citians might remember when Deborah and her sister Mary “Shorty” Jones decided to bottle their father’s tangy recipe on an episode of Queer Eye, the hit Netflix show that filmed two seasons in Kansas City.

Whether you think of vending machines as an enabler to our most impulsive culinary decisions or merely a convenience, it’s harder to imagine this coming at a better time.

But Deborah Jones says it’s been in the works since December, way before social distancing became a part of our lives.

“I said, 'You know, if you can get chips out of a vending machine, let me see if I can get some barbecue,'” she says.

Jones says it felt like a long shot when they first had the idea, but now that it’s here, it’s been significantly more popular than they expected.

“We try and keep it really stocked before we leave and then some time when we come in in the morning, it’s bare.”

Does the success mean more Jones Bar-B-Q vending machines throughout Kansas City? Unfortunately, probably not.

“I’m not as young as I used to be,” says Deborah Jones.

Deborah Jones spoke with KCUR at the end of a recent episode of Up To Date Special Coverage: Coronavirus In KC. You can listen to their entire conversation here.

Mackenzie Martin is an associate producer for KCUR's Central Standard. Reach out to her at mackenzie@kcur.org or on Twitter @_macmartin.

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