JOPLIN, Mo. —
For Sean and Chas Flanagan, The Bruncheonette was years in the making. Carved out of an old barber shop, the small restaurant, located at 424 N. Main Street, serves breakfast, brunch and lunch.
"I used to get my hair cut here" said Sean.
Even then he was planning for his own restaurant in the old building.
The goal for the menu was to bring aspects of fine dining to Joplin and include menu items not frequently seen in the rural Midwest.
Truffles, Missouri caviar and pork confit now share the menu with pancakes and biscuits and gravy. Since opening in October, the owners have been pleasantly surprised by how well their menu has gone over with the public.
"We're kind of doing what we want to cook and eat," Sean said. "I think I probably underestimated Joplin's sense of adventure."
The daily menu of breakfast burritos and "bennies" is supplemented with specials including beet hollandaise sauce, fried kale and lemon-drop Jell-O shots. The restaurant also has a small selection of beer, wine and brunch drink staples such as mimosas and Bloody Marys, which are crafted with the restaurant's own house-made smoked tomato mix.
Area restaurants have played a significant role in the Flanagans' lives. Between the two of them, they've worked at The Undercliff -- where they first met -- Instant Karma, Crabby's, Mohaska Farmhouse and Wilder's, among others.
After a brief stint living in Idaho, where Sean worked in a small cafe that he says was the inspiration for The Bruncheonette, the pair returned to Joplin with the eventual goal of buying the building and opening the place they had always dreamed of.
"We just waited and finally (the owner) wanted to sell," Chas said.
They heavily renovated the space, but have saved a few nods to the building's history, including a vintage church bench that sat in the barber shop.
Now, with what they describe as a "neighborhood restaurant" open, the Flanagans say their family is in the sixth year of a five-year plan.
In the future, the Flanagans plan to add a summer patio with outside seating, but the restaurant's early-morning to mid-afternoon hours are here to stay.
No dinner service allows the Flanagans to be home in the evening with their kids.
"I never had much of a chance to put the kids to bed at night," he said.
Customers and friends from other restaurants chat with Chas at the register and frequently shout out greetings to Sean while he runs the kitchen.
As the northern-most addition to the selection of locally owned restaurants that have begun peppering Joplin's Main Street in the past few years, the Flanagans have rejoined the circle of people who prefer to keep their business local.
"We have a couple of guys who come in, and after they leave they go up to Sawmill for lunch," Chas said.
As far as other local restaurants go, the Flanagans view them as part of the community, not as rivals.
"Someone was giving me grief the other day about wearing a Hackett's (Hot Wings) shirt," Sean said. "I was like, 'What? I love Hackett's.'"
The Bruncheonette is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.