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15 Jan 2010


The Top Five haunted restaurants


The Muehlebach's Le Bistro is gone...but the ghost never left
Last week's Pitch review of the new Jack Gage American Tavern revealed a secret: the building is haunted. Several employees say there's a ghostly presence in the building, but no one knows who the poltergeist might be or when it might have settled into the 82-year-old building -- which has been a dry cleaners, a pasta joint, a gay bar, a jazz club and a Chinese buffet.


But Jack Gage American Tavern has nothing on the restaurant in this week's Cafe review. The building at 931 Broadway that's home to the Majestic Restaurant was opened in the early 1900s as Fitzpatrick's Saloon, with a busy brothel on the second floor. There's something about former whorehouses attracting ghosts: The stone mansion at 3607 Pennsylvania, currently the home of The Writers Place, was a cathouse in the 1950s and '60s and reportedly has several resident ghosts, including one who reeks of cheap perfume. Some ghosts, you see, make their presence known by their signature aroma, like the ghost who haunts the bar at the new Succotash.

If you're not afraid of spirits, go ahead and make a reservation at one of these five restaurants:


5. The Savoy Grill: One of the more famous haunted venues in town, the hotel opened in 1888 and the downstairs restaurant, the oldest dining room in Kansas City, began serving steak and lobster fifteen years later. The best-known ghost in the hotel is Betsy Ward, who reportedly still occupies Room 505 after dying in her bathtub more than a century ago. But former Savoy Grill servers insist the dining rooms are notorious for strange sounds after hours. Room service, anyone?

4. The Hotel Muehlebach: Once Kansas City's finest hotel, the Muehlebach has had its ups and downs over the last few decades and is no longer home to famous dining rooms -- Cafe Picardy, Cafe Trianon -- or the Le Bistro cocktail lounge, which promised "The gaiety of Paris..." according to a 1960s postcard. There is still a restaurant in the hotel, the forlorn Pam Pam Room (which should not be confused by the excellent coffee shop of the same name at the old Alameda Plaza Hotel) and there has been at least one ghost sighting there. So you might say that the hotel's best-known resident ghost, The Blue Lady, not only outlasted the hotel's upscale restaurants -- she may be wandering the halls and lobby, still looking for them.

3. Jack Gage American Tavern: There's a poltergeist residing there, but it hasn't ordered the chicken and waffles yet.

2. Succotash: The new location of this popular bruncheonette, 2601 Holmes, was the former Dutch Hill Bar & Grill for many decades. One of the regulars was a man named Radar who smoked cigarellos. Owner Beth Barden says her staff can smell those distinctive little cigars every so often, proving that Radar is still around -- and possibly running up a tab.

1. The Majestic Restaurant: According to the restaurant's new operator Fred Sebree, Jr. (his family renovated the century-old building more than two decades ago) the former Fitzpatrick's Saloon has no less than sixteen ghosts. As to who has actually counted them or can tell one poltergeist from another, that's another mystery completely. But that's Sebree's story and he's sticking to it.



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