The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 8, 2013

Wally Kennedy: A burger sometimes leads to news

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s amazing how one thing can lead to another.

A friend invited me to have a hamburger with her at the Tropicana Bar and Grill, 3215 S. Main St. This establishment has a sign out front that says: “You have just passed the best burger in town.’’

I guess the sign wasn’t very convincing since I had never had a hamburger there before. I ordered a hamburger called The Snake. It had pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and bacon on it for something like $6.95. I figured they called it The Snake because the jalapenos would eventually come back to bite you.

I really didn’t need the bacon, but what the heck — it’s mowing season. In fact, I’ve been doing so much mowing of late I’ve shed some weight. I expect to break out the machete any day now to subdue the jungle that has become my yard. This is how I justified the bacon — guilt is a terrible thing to waste.

We had our food served on the outdoor patio. The burger was fantastic. The handmade patty had a dark grilled crust but the inside was moist. It was perfect. It was so large I could not eat it all. The sign was right. This burger is certainly a contender for best in town.

My favorable comments about its burgers led to the eventual discovery that the Tropicana will be moving to a new location in the tornado zone on South Main Street. The details have not been ironed out yet, but Adam Giebler, an owner, confirmed for me last week that a move is in the works.

That’s because something else is at play at 32nd and Main streets. The national pharmacy chain that has been looking for land at that intersection has apparently found it. The deal involves the Tropicana, the Cable One property east of it and the storefront that houses John Cotton Roofing. Other pieces of land might be involved. Details to come.


A former pawn shop and a used-car lot on the south side of the Gryphon Building, 1027 S. Main St., are in the process of being demolished to create more parking spaces for the Gryphon.

Michael Joseph, owner of the Gryphon, said about 52 spaces will be added along with additional landscaping.

This project will give motorists on Main Street a clearer view of the south side of the Gryphon, which has turned into a hub of activity in the midtown area. Table Mesa Bistro, the restaurant inside the Gryphon, is getting favorable reviews.

Joseph has expanded his presence downtown with the recent acquisition of the former Joplin Furniture Co. building at the southwest corner of Seventh and Main streets. The building currently houses the office of Tri-State Engineering and Fast Copy Printing.

Three upper floors of the structure have a combined 30,000 square feet of space. Joseph said he has not decided on whether to convert those floors into lofts or into office spaces. He said he intends to restore the building to original appearance. That conversion would be aided by historic tax credits. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places last year.

The structure, designed by famed Joplin architect August C. Michaelis, was completed in four phases over two decades, starting in 1899 and ending in 1923.

The lower floor was occupied by Anderson Drugs, Bormaster Shoes, J.C. Penney and Hornaday’s over the years. Joplin Furniture closed its doors in 1982.

There is a delicate side to this development. Joseph is seeking the Community Clinic of Joplin property, west of the building, for parking. The clinic, which does a fantastic job of serving the working poor and uninsured, would be relocated. It’s delicate because it’s going to take some real leadership and diplomacy to make that happen.


The Cuttaway Salon, 2129 S. Main St., will have its open house from 2 to 5 p.m. today. Chocolate-covered fruit from Carmen’s Apples, cupcakes from Cupcakes by Liz, and coffee from the Off The Tracks Coffee Co. will be served.

One thing you probably don’t know about the new Cuttaway is that it has a concrete storm shelter. That’s remarkable and smart.

By the way, Sonja Harper, the owner, is looking for a zebra-print rug for her shop. If you know where she can get one, let her know at the open house.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 623-3480, Ext. 7250; or send an e-mail to; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.

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