I Choose Burgers, Not Boobs

“This is one of the worst cataclysms in Kansas City Dining history.”
Scooter J. Murdock

The past few months have seen rumors running rampant and I’m sad to say that the rumors are finally proving to be true. The absolute gem that is the Westport Flea Market will be closing it’s doors soon. I don’t know how soon, but if you’ve received the latest coupon for the Flea, then you’ll read on it, “Last chance to get a flea market burger.” That coupon expires on November 11, 2005. Is that the closing date? Who knows. Will I go and eat massive quantities of flea burgers? Damn yes.

Closing aside, the most troubling aspect of this entire deal is what will replace the Flea. Gone will be the building and all the people who sold their crap in there, all of it replaced with a nice, new, shiny Hooters.

Yes, Hooters.

Done barfing yet? I’m not. This makes me sick. Westport doesn’t need a Hooters any more than it needed a Johnny Dare’s (which, is now closed... shocking, I know). Westport is all about the small, unique shops, boutiques and restaurants (sans Chili’s, Starbucks and Sonic). When I go to Westport, I go for Murray’s Ice Cream, Mesa Wraps, and McCoy’s. Or I go for beers at the Stagecoach, Harry’s (the original) or Buzzard Beach. Never for those other, chain-based, stores.

Westport doesn’t need a Hooters. Unfortunately, with the amount of bachelor parties that roll through there, it will probably work out for them. Gross. Gross food, even grosser girls. What a joke.

What Scoot said above is so true and I couldn’t agree more. If you’d like to send Hooters a note on what you think about them opening a place in Westport, then by all means, don’t let me stop you.

+ original post date: October 19, 2005 11:30 AM
+ categories: KC, WTF


(comments rss feed)

I'm sure Hooters will have burgers, too. Jeez. And beers for that matter. It's all the same, dude, except now you get to see titties. And judging by the looks of the girls that usually work at Hooters, there'll even be some fleas there as well. So quit your bitchin' and be prideful and honorable of this. Consider yourself lucky. My city only has one Hooters. Fortunately, though, it's near the mall.

+ author: Crasymaker
+ posted: October 19, 2005 11:54 AM

Have you seen that Mesa Wraps moved over by Californos?

Too bad the burritos taste like ear wax, ever since the management changed.

+ author: bev
+ posted: October 19, 2005 04:51 PM

Well, Hooters PR got an email from me. I'll let you know if they write back. Here's what I sent them:

The absolute last thing I would ever want to see invade Westport in Kansas City is a Hooters chain restaurant. Iíve been tolerant of your family-friendly-strip-club when it appeared in various suburbs surrounding the places Iíve lived, but now youíve given me a reason to hate Hooters with a dedicated passion. With your arrival comes the demise of a much loved Kansas City icon known as the Westport Flea Market, home of the best burger in Kansas City, period. Do you have any idea how many people will be outraged by this gross incursion of corporate fun on our hallowed dive?

If youíre thinking about disregarding this email as the inconsequential ranting of a local who probably wouldnít have frequented your restaurant in the first place, consider this: Iím a 28 year old heterosexual male who likes to drink a lot of beer and look at hot girls in revealing clothing. Does that fit into your target demographic? I think it might be dead center.

Iíve eaten at your restaurant before in various locations around the country and moderately enjoyed myself. But with Hooters trespassing into a beloved, primarily local business area with such blatant disregard is unforgivable. Not only will I never set foot in your new Westport location, but I will never set foot in any Hooters ever again. And believe me, I am definitely not the only one.


Aaron Weidner

+ author: Aaron
+ posted: October 20, 2005 08:56 AM

Here's what I sent...

I am a a fan of Hooter's, I have eaten at your stores several times and I always cheer when you prevail over NIMBY's trying to prevent you from opening entirely appropriate suburban locations.

However your current attempt to start a franchise in the core of Kansas City has crossed the line. Not because of the area you have selected (Westport), but because of what you are going to tear down to build your new restaurant.

The Westport Flea Market is one of Kansas City's oldest and most beloved institutions. It is rich in local history and is a favorite regional draw. Numerous people make sure to include it as a stop whenever they visit from out of town.

Destroying the Flea Market will anger and alienate a massive number of locals who would otherwise be your target demographic. You truly have no idea what you are getting yourselves into if you proceed with this horrendous plan.

There are numerous other locations in Kansas City that a Hooters could easily go into without destroying one of our most cherished institutions. Please consider a location downtown near the convention center. Or open in one of the existing buildings a block or two east, or where an ugly strip mall now sits a block west. But please do not destroy the Flea Market!!!!!

I am a 35-year-old male, and I will never set foot in any restaurant that replaces our Flea Market, and will encourage everyone I know to do the same.

Scott Murdock
Kansas City, MO

+ author: ScooterJ
+ posted: October 20, 2005 09:53 AM

You are all foolish if you dont see that this is where America has been headed for a decade. Eliminate all locally owned business for national chains. No more local office supply/stationary stores, just Office Max, no more local burger joints, just Applebees and Chilis, no more local record stores (including Recycled Sounds which closes soon) just Best Buy's. The sad part is every single one of you who shops at or has shopped at a Wal Mart, Target, Circuit City, or ANY other big corporate chain/big box store is to blame. Not the Hooters corporation. The American public voted with their dollars. If you polled 100 people on the street over which restaurant theyd like to eat at 80 of them would say Hooters. This is the American way. Flash, style, looks and atmosphere over quality. Call me the Devils advocate, but don't blame Hooters.They are just doing business the American way. Why not write to the Westport Chamber of Commerce, they are as much, if not more, to blame for selling out to big business.

Nobody raised a fuss when Chili's, Starbucks, et al, moved into Westport...which is when a fuss should have been made, to stop right then and there the corporate takeover of Westport. Your letters are too little too late I believe.

+ author: nobody in particular
+ posted: October 20, 2005 11:37 AM

We vote everytime we purchase something. And some of the candidates are shittier and more deceptive than the slickest and sickest politicians (but just barely). The forces of capitalism control the world economy and therefore control the mostly powerless governments that we in a "democracy" elect. Who did you vote for today? It's generally agreed that large corporations are responsible for much of the pain inflicted on the world today. That's not some conspiracy theory that we just pulled out of our asses - like most of our theories - that's just the way it is. Let's see... slave wages at McDonalds. Environmental destruction courtesy of Shell. A litany of despicable crimes care of the fuckers in the tabacco industry. The brutality of the meat and dairy empires... do I need to go on? What keeps all this shit in business? Why do we keep buying into it?
Every stinking day, everywhere we turn, these greedy fucks make sure we are constantly assaulted by images that tell us who we should be, what we should want, how we should look and, of course, what we should buy to fit our spherical bodies and minds into the square receptacles that they have created for us. It's an ideology and it becomes a way of life. It becomes a constant struggle to fulfil ourselves by accumulating and consuming material things that we don't need... or even really want. Our real needs and desires are neglected and repressed, replaced by a false, pre-packaged, reactionary impulse: BUY OR DIE!!!
It could be considered a political act to patronize businesses like Taco Bell, 7-11, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Shell, etc... when we give these multinational bag-hairs our money, we are saying, "we support the evil practices of this evil corporation." IS THAT WHAT WE MEAN TO SAY? NO! So what can we do? How can we put our political beliefs into practice? Well, we can stop supporting evil. It isn't hard. In fact, it's the easiest - and one of the most effective - forms of political activism! Whenever and wherever we can, we've got to avoid giving our money to these greedy, sour-parts-shaving corporations and explain to our friends and families why we don't/won't support these kind of businesses anymore. We've got to look around our communities and start supporting local, independently owned and operated food-stores, book-stores, record-stores, restaurants, music-stores, clothing-stores, theatres, hunting-and-fishing supply-stores (ha, ha... just making sure you're still awake!), or any other kinda business you can think of. Just think of what it would be like if we all thought and cared about what we are voting for with our money. We could, dare I say it, change this crappy excuse for a world... or even just a small corner of this crappy excuse for a world: our communities! We could, we can, we must make a real difference!

+ author: Panic
+ posted: October 20, 2005 11:44 AM

"People can get a burger anywhere, they come to Chotchkies for the atmosphere and the attitude. Thats what the flair's about. Its about fun."

1st Shift Manager

+ author: Stan
+ posted: October 20, 2005 11:52 AM

Good comments and good suggestion on the Westport Chamber, though there's not an actual Chamber to write to. Right?

I wasn't around when either Chili's or Starbucks went in, but I'm pretty sure that a lot of people made a fuss when Starbucks plopped down on the corner of Broadway and Westport road (link). So much, in fact, that there happens to be a great little coffee shop right next to it that Starbucks failed to put out of business.

And actually, I don't blame Hooters for this and I don't think my post came across that way -- I just don't want a Hooters in Westport... moreso, I don't want it to replace the Flea. But, like you said, they're playing the game by the rules that a majority of America has set up. Can't blame them for that, right? I'm more upset that the owner of the Flea didn't do more to make sure it stayed put, but with different owners. And please don't say we can't change things, because it's always a possibility. I think we have to at least try. If not, when the next chain comes in, you'll be able to say "no one made a fuss," and be right about it.

+ author: Seth
+ posted: October 20, 2005 12:00 PM

Well said. Excellent in fact. Although you do link the Hooters PR for people to write, when there are other city offices more to blame, and like you said, the Flea owners own desire to make a buck.

My only point is that if the Kansas City public, en masse, had paid more attention to the Westport Flea Market and not just the city dwelling urbanites, there would be no way a Hooters would be allowed to replace it. Bottom line is as much of a loyal following as it may have it will never do the same amount of business as a Hooters and that is really all that matters to those in charge. The public in large doesnt like to explore local things which are in fact usually far superior, they like the comfort in knowing that at any Chili's nationwide they know what they're getting. So until more people like yourselves get involved in making change, and that means not shopping at the most evil of all, Wal Mart, then nothing will change.

American consumers need an attitude overhaul, something they arent willing to do. Once they do, they would see that tearing down an institution such as the Flea for another pointless, tacky theme restaurant is terrible. However, when urbanites find something so good as the Flea I find they are reluctant to shout how great it is because they dont want suburban Johnson Countians to be involved, they want to hold it dear to themselves, which in turn means less business for said institution. Johnson Countians will be all over a Hooters before they hit the Plaza. Till all of those attitudes change it will be:

"We love us our theme restaurants, give us more!" -The American Public at Large

+ author: no one in particular
+ posted: October 20, 2005 12:49 PM

Im with Todd. Most cities dont even have a Hooters. How do you think THEY feel. This site isnt all about you Seth....er...no wait..it is.

+ author: stevepanic
+ posted: October 20, 2005 04:49 PM

Maybe this is the person we should be sending our letters to?

ekiekbusch@westportcid.com. That's the contact email address on the Westport Community Improvement District Web Site:

+ author: ScooterJ
+ posted: October 21, 2005 10:30 AM

Oops, shoula hit preview. Here's that web site:


+ author: ScooterJ
+ posted: October 21, 2005 10:31 AM

Good call Scooter.

+ author: Stevepanic
+ posted: October 21, 2005 11:09 PM

Just got this email back from the contact at westportkcmo.com.

"Hi Seth,
Unfortunately the property you are referring to is not in the boundaries of the Westport Community Improvement District so there is nothing we can do as an organization to regulate what business takes over that space. Reactions are very mixed within this group however. Some feeling the way you do and some, although not overly happy about the theme are happy to see an established, successful company come in that most likely won't be closing in the first year, which sadly seems to be the fate of a lot of the new businesses that come in to the area. Anyway, sorry I couldn't give you a better response like "we are working on it" or "yes we are fighting it"...the truth of the matter is, it isn't up to us and if it were, there seems to be so much mixed reaction that I can't say we would take a stand either way. If it is truly something you are interested in fighting and a cause you would like to take up, I would suggest going to the owner of the Flea Market and voicing your concerns with him. As far as I can tell he is the only one who has any say in the matter."

+ author: Seth
+ posted: October 24, 2005 04:34 PM

Well done Seth....nice to see we found out who the "culprit" is. Why is the owner selling it anyways? If you write to him, keep me/us posted.

+ author: stevepanic
+ posted: October 24, 2005 08:21 PM

Apparently the restaurant has been for sale since 1996 – haven't you ever seen the for sale sign out front? Yeah, me either. Also, it seems, that several business owners around the area are actually not too concerned that the flea would be gone and look forward to there potentially being a new customer base wandering through the area because of the addition of Hooters. Posh.

+ author: Seth
+ posted: October 24, 2005 09:51 PM


+ author: stevepanic
+ posted: October 25, 2005 12:35 AM

Apparently the restaurant has been for sale since 1996 ‚Äď haven't you ever seen the for sale sign out front? Yeah, me either. Also, it seems, that several business owners around the area are actually not too concerned that the flea would be gone and look forward to there potentially being a new customer base wandering through the area because of the addition of Hooters. Posh.

+ author: moncler damen vest
+ posted: January 28, 2011 03:14 AM

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