Houston's restaurant on Country Club Plaza closing Jan. 31

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 17:52:10-05

Houston’s on the Country Club Plaza is closing its doors on Jan. 31.

The restaurant is part of Hillstone Restaurant Group.

41 Action News wanted to learn more about the history of stores and restaurants on the Plaza, so we talked to local historian Monroe Dodd. 

"It was the idea of a very visionary guy named J.C. Nichols," a real estate developer who built and sold houses south of the Plaza, Dodd said. "And then he said, maybe I should give these people a place to shop."

The Country Club Plaza was built in the 1920s.

The area started as a place for everyday people to do everyday shopping. There was a post office, five and dime grocery store and theater.

RELATED | Former Houston's employees say goodbye to restaurant

Dodd says the Plaza didn't change until, "After the Plaza flood of 1977 when Brush Creek flooded. Until the 1970s tourists came here but it wasn't seen as that kind of destination. After that, with upscale chains of restaurants, department stores, jewelers and other things, it became the Plaza we know of here in the 21st century."

Dodd says churn and burn has always been the norm with retailers and especially restaurants, but it's still the "crown jewel" of Kansas City shopping.

Jordan Tucker has been coming to Houston's since he was a kid, back when there were two locations in the metro. 

"The Plaza was always my favorite because they have FAO Schwartz across the street so it's my favorite toy store and my favorite restaurant. I've been eating the chicken tenders since the age of 7." 

He joins the hundreds of others on social media who are sad to see the restaurant that's been part of the Plaza since 1987 say goodbye. "It's always been my favorite place and I would hate to see it go," he said.

On Houston's last day, more than a hundred people waited in line to eat at the restaurant one last time.

"I got here at 9:45. No one else was here, and so I sat in my car until I started seeing people walk up here," Kayla Housman said. 

When asked about work she responded, "My boss is the one that sent me up here." 

Some former employees also stopped by and shared their memories of working there. 

"I started working here when I was 20 years old," Stephanie Sanchez said. "Raised my family working here and this is like my family. When I quit, I felt like I was getting a divorce. I cried my eyes out. It took me a long time to get myself acclimated. I know it sounds pretty weird." 

The Country Club Plaza sent us this statement:

"We would be incredibly sad to see Houston's leave the Country Club Plaza after more than three decades. We have done all we can to convince the management to stay and we hope to continue our dialogue with that end in mind. In the event they decide to close, we extend our sincerest thanks for all they have added to the Plaza over the years. We wish them well."



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