‘Arnold’s American Grill’

Lee's Summit JournalFebruary 12, 2014 

Catchy name, eh?

I thought “Amigo Arnold’s Mexican Cantina” might be a little too much, what with there being another Mexican cuisine joint nearly across Third Street.

And the “Arnold Hall Hamburger Haven,” well, that’s just cheesy.

So, Arnold Hall might be a restaurant now.

I guess this would be a good time to tell the Lee’s Summit Arts Council that the flimsy requests for direction for an indoor arts locale and for the future downtown Lee’s Summit outdoor performing arts facility isn’t really needed any longer.

Better yet, just buy everyone on the LSAC a gift card to the new establishment. Maybe leave an open tab for them at the bar, too.

Parody aside, the big news in Lee’s Summit this week is, I suppose, that we are on to Plan M (or maybe N?) for Arnold Hall.

Once we get to Z, I propose we take its usage back a few decades and make the Lee’s Summit City Council start meeting in the cold, empty building again until they can get this right. That might speed things up a bit.

Backing up a bit, news came out Feb. 9 that the city is going to put out a request for a proposal for Arnold Hall, and this was based on conversations the city had in closed council session about a restaurant group (who probably had a very famous name in a very prominent location near Lakewood).

This group, reportedly, wanted to move in to the still-vacant Maxwell’s space in downtown Lee’s Summit at Third and Douglas streets. For a variety of reasons (price, amenities, ease of transaction, existing TIF headache) that didn’t happen.

The newfound private interest in Arnold Hall prompted the council to approve looking at bids for purchase and potential use of the site.

Two things to keep in mind: First, just because it going out to bid and a restaurant group drove this new wrinkle doesn’t mean a restaurant will eventually move in. Second, the city can divide the 123 Third Street “parcel” into two pieces. Those bidding on Arnold Hall would get the building and parking in the back. The lot to the west of Arnold Hall would still be the site of the downtown outdoor performance space that was approved by voters last April.

I don’t know enough about restaurants to know what kind of parking potential owners are looking for and if our current offerings fit the bill or not.

I do know that artists and others in that realm around Lee’s Summit have already expressed surprise and some disappointment at the new plan.

Hopefully we will stem those concerns immediately as we continue to tout art in all forms, around Lee’s Summit.

If that corner is to be a hub for artistic endeavors, then perhaps the best name for a new restaurant is “Arnold’s Arthouse: Creative Pub & Grub.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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