photo by Ellen Swanson
“A double with ketchup only, a fifty-fifty with fries and tater tots and a chocolate shake please!”
A big R.I.P. to those words.
Just hearing the name Winstead’s makes me crave my go-to order from my go-to restaurant, although it’s only been four days since I had it last and a tear almost comes to my eye when the fifth autocomplete Google search for “Winstead’s” is “winstead’s closing.”
Winstead’s has been a staple in my life since I was little — its melt-in-your-mouth burgers practically stream through my blood, considering my aunt worked there when she was a teenager. With different locations diminishing before my eyes, one on Metcalf Ave. in 2015, and two others on Metcalf Ave. and Antioch Rd in the past year, I can hardly imagine what the future holds for my favorite micro chain burger joint.
Now, with only six locations remaining (two within 6 miles from East), my chances of being able to share the joys of Winstead’s with my future family are rapidly diminishing, almost faster than my friends and I can finish a Skyscraper Milkshake.
The saddest part of Winstead’s disappearing is the thought of losing a sense of community. Where else would everyone go on a Friday night after East beats Shawnee Mission South at an away soccer game? Mr. Goodcents around the corner? No thanks. The green vinyl booths and neon lights are surprisingly inviting and make you feel like you’re at Pop’s Diner in the latest episode of Riverdale.
Pre-football game traditions, first dates, post-volunteering outings, birthday dinners, 2:45 AM fries cravings — I can attest that Winstead’s is the perfect location for any of those occasions.
I believe that Winstead’s is a must if you ever find yourself in the Kansas City area, contrary to the negative Yelp reviews. What some people refer to as “outdated,” (*cough, cough,* Karen A. from Illinois) I see it as vintage charm that has hardly changed since the 1980’s.
Although I enjoy walking through the doors of any Winstead’s, my favorite location is the Plaza one, where it’s bustling all night long, especially on weekends. The Roe Ave. location isn’t as always as busy, but the food measures up the same.
The crown jewel chain of Kansas City has been open since 1940, and it would be terribly sad to see a local landmark become just a distant memory of the past.