KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Juggling customers and condolences, L.C. Richardson's granddaughter, Tausha Hemmett, said a piece of him stays with her each time she rings up another customer.
For Richardson, his legacy is his customers, who kept the phone lines busy in the days that followed his death. Richardson died Wednesday at 86.
“His customers were his family,” Hemmett said “If there’s anything that I want anybody to take away from this, it’s (that) he loved everyone as if they were his family.”
Jill Silva, a former food editor for The Kansas City Star, agreed: “He’s become a real touchstone for a lot of people who come to visit Kansas City. They want to go to L.C.’s."
Opened in 1986, LC’s Bar-B-Q still serves as a staple-stop for generations of families on their way to tailgate at the Truman Sports Complex.
“The amount of support he gets for Chiefs and Royals games is unreal,” Hemmett said Friday, reminiscing about her grandfather’s impact on the community since he moved to Kansas City in 1953.
She added, “The fact that they come in and talk to him before they tailgate, they take his food there and tailgate they eat here and tailgate — that warmed my grandfathers heart for him to be able to socialize with Chiefs and Royals fans."
It’s a customer connection that has continued for parts of five decades at LC’s Bar-B-Q on Blue Parkway, where smoke still fills the small dining room just off the beaten path.
The building is nothing fancy, just a spot for good food and good company.
“It’s the feeling, the soul of barbecue, getting to know the people who are part of making your food every day and I think that’s why Kansas City loves its barbecue, because it also loves the people who make the barbecue,” Silva said.
Silva said even though Richardson may not have touched every piece of meat, it felt like he did.
“Through the years, you gain a lot of friends and the most remarkable thing about it is, you gain friends you don't even know, that know you,” Bill Chaney, a veteran barbecue brick pit builder, said.
Chaney built the smoker L.C. Bar-B-Q’s uses to this day.
Hemmett, who worked alongside her grandfather since she was 12, said he loved his customers.
“It didn't matter if you were coming for 40 years or the first day, he loved it, he loved it, he loved it," she said.
Richardson's family has passed along their sincere appreciation for every phone call, card, and meal ordered in the days that followed his passing.
A public viewing for Richardson will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Watkins Heritage Chapel in Kansas City, Missouri.