Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City

With the temperature in Kansas City lately being from 90° to 100°, it is no surprise that families are trying to find ways to keep their little ones busy during the summer months that does not involve being outside. This past weekend, my husband and I decided to take a stroll through our very own backyard and head to Crown Center.

Lathrop GPM’s Kansas City Office is located a block away from Crown Center, a popular shopping center complex with stores, dining, Sea Life aquarium, LEGOLAND, and even an ice rink. But many people miss the best part of Crown Center: Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant. At this locally owned restaurant, famous for its old-fashioned hamburgers, you can experience the fun and delight of your meal being delivered to you and your family by their signature overhead train.

According to their history page, Fritz and Virginia Kropf started their own fifties-style drive-in restaurant decades ago at 32nd and Brown Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. He later opened a second location, but a tight labor market made management of both locations difficult. Considering this problem, Fritz’s ingenuity and inventor skills led him to develop a food delivery system that he designed and tested in the basement of his home. The patented system was primarily intended to help with the shortage of labor but would become the major attraction to this fine establishment.

The system was nicknamed the “Skat Kat” and was first installed at the 18th street location in the early 1970’s and against Fritz’s objections became widely known as a train. Fritz gave in to the theme and we cannot imagine it any other way. The Crown Center location opened shortly before Christmas in 1999 in conjunction with the re-opening of Union Station and the three locations continue to be family owned and operated.

Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant is a testament to the hard work, effort, and ingenuity it takes to create and maintain a business. From suffering through a labor shortage and growing through government safety regulations, this family took on the challenges as they came. They continue the restaurant’s tradition of serving great food with a twist!

We are glad that we were able to take our little one, Leo, as we tried to escape this heat. Leo was excited for the train, and even spotting his favorite - Thomas the Tank Engine - hanging out with the rest of the delivery trains. A true 5 out of 5 stars in his eyes. We always forget about this hidden gem, but we encourage you to visit!

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