Sunday, July 28, 2013

1940: 100 E. 63rd Street

Another in a series of posts based on the tax reassessment photos of 1940. Learn more here.

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 The three-story house just east of the Brookside shops sits on a spacious lot that spans the width of the block between 62nd Street Terrace and 63rd Street. The back yard faces the front yards of other homes in the Morningside subdivision.

For this reason – its unique size and presence in a quiet residential neighborhood – the neighbors have objected to the house's recent identity: a chicken dinner place called the Twin Pines Inn.

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Beyond the hamburger joints and barbecue stands, this is a steak-and-chicken-dinner town. You can eat a fine meal at the Southern Mansion downtown or the Westport Room in Union Station or any number of restaurants where the menus are diverse, with items ranging from fresh rainbow trout to broiled lamb chops to liver and onions. And you can grab a good meal at simpler places like the Ever Eat CafĂ© or Walker’s Lunch or the Forum Cafeteria.

But some of the most popular menus are headlined by chicken and steak, as in “Our famous chicken or steak dinners,” which is what’s featured at the White House Open Air Gardens out at 85th and Wornall, (where you can “Dance under the stars nightly.”) Nearby, Tootie’s Club Mayfair also serves music suitable for dancing along with its steak and chicken dinners. And the Harrison Chicken Dinner Farm on U.S. Highway 50 has “Family style fried chicken! Fried in butter!  All you can eat!”

There’s the Green Parrot just across the state line in Kansas (“Our Specialty – Fried Chicken Dinners”) or Stroud’s at 85th and Troost (“Complete chicken dinner 55 cents – Club steak dinner 50 cents”) or go a block north to the air-conditioned Richey’s (“Chicken and steak complete dinners 55 cents”) or to Sni-A-Way Gardens, Highway 50 near the city limits  (“Steaks, chicken dinners and sandwiches”) or the Old Plantation out east on 40 Highway (“Chicken or steak dinner, $1– Drive out where it’s cool!”)

Other than chicken and steak, the common denominator is location: These places are found just outside the city limits, not in proximity to upper-middle-class homes.

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Earlier this year twenty-five residents of Morningside filed suit against the owners and operators of the Twin Pines Inn, charging violation of city zoning laws. A judge granted an injunction, and now the house with two small pine trees flanking its entrance is once again a private residence in a quiet neighborhood.

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