Archive for Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kansas City Connection: A legendary burger

June 8, 2014

The other day on my lunch break, I was craving a cheeseburger but was a bit dismayed about my options. Without a car, I was limited to Burger King (no thanks!) or one of several places that would likely cost upward of $15 — not unreasonable on occasion, but a bit of a waste when dining solo.

As I walked aimlessly south through downtown Kansas City into the Crossroads, I came across the iconic signage of a building I’ve seen hundreds of times but never actually visited: Town Topic.

With single hamburgers for $2.59 all the way up to 1/2-pound cheeseburgers for $7.49, I knew this was the affordable, reputable spot I was looking for. Now when my friends started arguing about who has the best burgers in town, I’d no longer have to hide the fact that I’d never visited the legendary Town Topic.

“Legendary” in this case is no exaggeration, either. The joint was opened in 1937 by Claude Sparks at 24th and Broadway, and today the two Missouri locations are just down the road at 2021 Broadway (open 24 hours, seven days a week) and 1900 Baltimore (7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday). A satellite location in Mission is open for breakfast and lunch at 6018 Johnson Drive.

The thin, juicy burgers are similar to those at Winstead’s, with perhaps even more flavor, and the venerable joint is also known for its inexpensive, classic breakfast items, homemade chili, hand-dipped malts and fresh slices of pie (downtown locations only). Next time you’re craving a burger and want an exuberant medium between fast food and “gourmet,” give Town Topic a try.


With that particular appetite taken care of, let’s take a look at some of the excellent entertainment options this week.

Pop pianist and songwriter Ben Folds joins the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, with guest conductor Aram Demirjian. Both performances have limited tickets remaining, so the symphony recommends calling the box office directly at 816-471-0400 to purchase or find out more information.

Deadheads should check out Bob Weir and Ratdog at the Midland Theatre on Saturday (Ratdog, I recently learned, is the name of Weir’s group and not an individual with an unfortunate nickname). Tickets cost $35 to $55 for the 8 p.m. show, and are available at

The 20th annual Parkville River Jam takes place from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at English Landing Park.

The event includes some of the best jazz and blues performers in the area, including harmonica virtuoso John Paul and his Flying Circus (9:30 p.m. Friday), jazz singer Angela Hagenbach (3:30 p.m. Saturday) and blues band Katy Guillen & The Girls (5:30 p.m. Saturday).

The event also includes fine arts booths, kids activities and lots of food and drink. Admission is free.

Dragon Boat Festival

This spring, Kansas City and its sister city of Xi’an, China, received the prestigious Sister Cities International Arts and Culture Award, an honor that will be celebrated this weekend at the 10th annual Dragon Boat Festival, which takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on Brush Creek in the Country Club Plaza.

Four new fiberglass boats are being shipped from China especially for the boat races, which will begin around 10 a.m. The festival also includes dances and stage performances, children’s activities, food, arts and crafts.

Visit for more information.

18th Street Fashion Show

Saturday is also the annual West 18th Street Fashion Show, which has grown from a modest neighborhood event to one of the premier fashion events in the region.

This year’s theme, Ceremonial Summer, will showcase nearly 100 looks from 18 garment designers and 18 accessories designers.

The event starts at dusk (8 p.m.) on 18th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte.

A limited number of seats are available for sale, or spectators can watch from the street. Visit for more information.

Nearby, the Crown Center Antique Festival will bring together over 100 booths featuring pottery, china, toys, linens, furniture, books and more on the Crown Center Square from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo. Have an upcoming event you’d like to see featured in Kansas City Connection? Email us about it at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.