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Fire Heavily Damages Historic Hotel Savoy In Downtown Kansas City

Missouri Valley Special Collection
Kansas City Public Library

A fire at the historic Hotel Savoy in downtown Kansas City, Mo., late Thursday damaged several floors of the building, which used to be known as a frequent stop for several U.S. presidents.

Firefighters told KSHB 41 Action News that the fire started due to "inattentive cooking" in the Savoy Grill. There were no customers in the restaurant at the time. Residents of the apartments above evacuated without injury. 

The Hotel Savoy dates back to 1888. In its heyday, it drew in celebrities and politicians such as Harry Truman, who was a regular at the restaurant. 

Credit Jason Baker / KCUR
The outside of the Savoy wasn't clearly damaged by Thursday's fire, but the inside was reportedly thoroughly scorched.

Charles Ferruzza, Central Standard food critic and writer for the Pitch, has written aboutthe Savoy Grill before. To him, the restaurant represents an important place in Kansas City's history.

"It's the oldest restaurant in Kansas City, and still looks like it did in 1903," Ferruzza said. "If Kansas City lost the Savoy Grill, it would be a great tragedy."

Ironically, parent company 21c Museum Hotels had plans to spend $47.5 million for a large-scale renovation, and received tax-increment financing from the city to do so. It isn't clear how the fire will affect those plans.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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