Two nights ago, in the evening of Feb. 19th, my favorite, most favorite, literally, my most favorite restaurant blew up.
There was a gas leak in the building, and when it was noticed, there were slow-moving precautions being made. They decided to slowly finish dinner service and close up. No immediate evacuation, as they didn’t think it was too serious. Later, we learned that the gas smell was so bad, people could smell it blocks away. In this slow-moving process to finish dinner and do side work for the restaurant, it blew up. The restaurant, JJ’s, is located on the Country Club Plaza, a very rich part of our city, that is full of fantastic places to eat, and shop, galleries, expensive homes and condo’s, coffee shops, book stores, and salons, it is a very poplar place to be and be seen. I love the Plaza.
My sweet friend, James Louf, sent me a text making sure I wasn’t in, or near, the explosion. The news reached him in Boston in what seemed like minutes!! I had just flipped on the TV to watch the devastation that was happening just 15 minutes away from my house. I text James back that I was fine, but in shock at the whole situation. I knew one server that worked there, and one Chef. ( This is the industry I’ve worked in my whole life. I don’t talk about work much, but I am an ACF Certified Chef, 16 years experience… Until last summer when I started working for a car dealership, I have lived and breathed the hospitality industry. Mostly fine dinning, which I love. Food to me is art on a plate.. another form of ‘creating’ to me. Cooking really Zen’s me out. When I’m not a working Chef, I cook a lot at home, which makes my husband a very happy man!! )
Anyway, there were over 20 people seriously injured and one fatality. One girl did not make it. This news came last night. It was one of the servers who worked at JJ’s. My heart breaks for the victims and friends and families involved with this terrible situation. I had a lot of fond memories at JJ’s. I had dinner there every year for my birthday. I’ve sat at that bar for the reverse happy hour many nights, with great friends, enjoying exquisite food at half price!! JJ’s is a Kansas City landmark, known for its extensive wine list, with wines that have been aging for thirty years in its cellar, from Bordeaux, France and Rioja, Spain, and Alsace, on the border of France & Germany. They say they lost over a million dollars in wine alone. Wow.
When things like this happen, I am reminded of appreciating what I have in my life. You see the community come together to put back the pieces of the fallen part of our city, while we mourn anyone we’ve lost, and pray for those who are injured. Kansas City will miss JJ’s. There is no replacing a great place like that. The girl who died, Megan, will be missed terribly. I will put her and her family in my prayers.
Bless our city, and those who are effected by this tragedy.
~ J. Lefever ~