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At The Brick in the Crossroads Arts District, these Kansas Citians 'just get to feel at home'

A woman in a black shirt stands behind a bar.
Claudia Brancart
/
KCUR 89.3
“I’ve been serving some of the same people and their family for 20 years," Sheri Parr, who owns The Brick, told KCUR's Up To Date.

The Brick, a celebrated dive bar in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District, has been serving affordable comfort food in its low-key digs for over two decades. "They’ve become a sort of family to me,” owner Sheri Parr says of her long-time customers.

Malorie Feighner, a server at The Brick, heard about the beloved dive bar and restaurant at 1727 McGee St. in the Crossroads Arts District long before she applied for a job.

“I work in the service industry, and it’s really well known as a place to come and hang out and just relax and kind of get away,” she says.

Known for its extensive menu of comfort food, particularly a meatloaf sandwich (which can be ordered vegan), The Brick has something for everyone.

“During our lunch, it's usually a lot of construction workers and office workers coming in here to eat,” Feighner says. “And then at night, it's a bunch of people who love music. So it brings in a whole different type of crowd.”

Sheri Parr bought the bar in 1999, back when The Kansas City Star was right across the street.

“It had been a newspaper bar for 33 years. And then somebody had it six months, somebody had eight months, and then somebody had it a year and they'd kind of run the business into the ground,” Parr says. “And then, I bought it and I opened it up.”

Almost everything on The Brick’s menu costs less than $10, which is a rarity in downtown Kansas City these days. It's something Parr is intentional about.

“I’ve been serving some of the same people and their family for 20 years. They’ve become sort of a family to me,” Parr says. “I just want people to feel comfortable coming in — anyone.”

Two women eat burgers and fries at a diner-style booth.
Claudia Brancart
/
KCUR 89.3
Almost everything on The Brick’s menu costs less than $10 dollars, which is a rarity in downtown Kansas City.

Rodney W. Hall’s been working at The Brick for over 14 years, and he’s seen a lot change in the neighborhood since the aughts. Back then, he says, it was just The Brick and Grinders, a live music venue and pizza place.

Today, The Brick is neighbors with a bank and a church.

“I’m really, really impressed,” Hall says. “Now who would have thought that a bar and a church would have been there and we get on all just perfectly fine?”

Kris Hiestand has been a regular at The Brick for 20 years. When he walks through the front door, everyone greets him by his first name.

“I mean, the food's great. But, you know, I think with me, it's just — it's very unpretentious feeling — for lack of a better term. Like, it's not trying to impress anyone, like it just kind of is what it is. You just get to feel at home, no matter who you are.”

For Hiestand and Hall The Brick is more than just their neighborhood bar. It’s their place.

“You know, I'm 67. I get my Social Security check. I can leave any day of the week. But I belong here,” Hall says.

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Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
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