The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 29, 2014

Wally Kennedy: KFC out in Joplin, Arby's back in

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s like musical chairs. One day, there’s a restaurant there; the next day, it’s gone. And now, another restaurant is taking its place.

Joplin once had two KFC restaurants; now, it has none. The KFC at 20th and Main streets was the first to close. That was followed by the recent closure of the KFC at 24th Street and Range Line Road. I have been told that the restaurant lost its lease at the second location.

You have to go to Webb City now to get KFC. I spoke with an employee of the KFC in Webb City last week who told me that they are seeing a lot more business. There’s nothing wrong with a little driving to get the fried chicken you prefer. I drive to Barto’s Idle Hour in Frontenac, Kan., for that very reason — that and the polka music.

Before the tornado, Joplin had two Arby’s restaurants. One of them was at 2401 S. Main St. The other was at 2130 S. Range Line Road. Joplin is getting at least one of those Arby’s back, and it could occupy the spot where the KFC once operated at 24th and Range Line.

But Arby’s is not ready to confirm that. While it says it is coming back to Joplin and hopes to open by midsummer or the later part of August, it is not saying where.

This information is coming from a spokesman for the United States Beef Corp., based in Tulsa, Okla. The company is the largest Arby’s franchisee, operating 325 restaurants that employ 7,000 people in the Midwest and West.

Arby’s, known for its roast beef sandwiches, was the first nationally franchised, coast-to-coast sandwich chain. It has been in business since 1964.

No word on what’s up with KFC. It may have just flown the coop.

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