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Lots of love (and a little hate) for local businesses in the media this week
There has been plenty of praise, and a little ribbing, for some local businesses in the media this week.
The Pitch’s venerable food critic Charles Ferruzza penned a lengthy love letter to Kelly Manning and Tavern in the Village in this week’s issue. Yes, he worked in a couple of pokes at what he views as weak spots on the menu. But overall, Ferruzza had excellent things to say about the area’s newest restaurant:
…[Manning] really gets the demographic of Prairie Village and the surrounding suburbs. Manning seems to have figured out that the patrons of his first restaurant wanted a neighborhood joint that wasn’t anything like a neighborhood joint…
Manning’s Tavern is the Martha Stewart version of a neighborhood joint. It’s so tastefully constructed that it evokes a Midwestern country club — without the pool or the golf course and not so exclusive. Anyone passing through the heavy front doors gets the same cheery service. Yes, Manning learned a few valuable tricks in his years at Morton’s, including the art of treating ordinary schlubs like VIPs.
And Steve Rose dedicated his entire column in yesterday’s Kansas City Star to the wonders of Rainy Day Books in Fairway. In an industry where even the big corporate bookstores are falling, how does Vivian Jennings hang on?, Rose asks:
Borders, which is in bankruptcy, has announced it is closing its 91st and Metcalf store.
Barnes & Noble is also in financial trouble and has announced it will be closing stores across the country, possibly including the one on the Plaza.
If a mega-store can’t make it, how can a tiny Rainy Day Books make it?
The answer is that Jennings saw an opening for a niche no one else was filling.
She went ultra-personal when everyone else was impersonal.
She pampers each loyal customer, recommending books to their tastes. And, perhaps most important, Jennings has put Kansas City — and her bookstore — on the map.
But Jennings’ neighbors to the west on Shawnee Mission Parkway, couldn’t have been as pleased for their turn in the media limelight. San Francisco food writer and former Kansas City resident Michael Bauer made a point of letting readers of the San Francisco Chronicle’s food blog that his last trip to Stroud’s was a “Fried chicken disappointment.”
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