Not even Prohibition could stop The Peanut, one of Kansas City’s oldest pubs. Back in the 1920s, it operated as a speakeasy from its home at 5000 Main Street, stealthily serving illegal alcohol.
“It had different cuisine over the years, like barbecue,” owner Melinda Kenny said. “People used to illegally order a pail of beer for 75 cents and take it home.”
Kenny and her husband Rich purchased the bar and restaurant in 1981, making them the fourth owners of the Kansas City institution. Rich died in 2007. Kenny owns the South Plaza location and the one at Ninth Street and Broadway.
The Peanut is best known for its chicken wings and—Kenny’s personal favorite—its BLT sandwiches.
“I got the idea from my Dad,” she said. “In summer, he got whole wheat bread and put sharp cheddar, red onion and homegrown tomato with salt and pepper on it. I thought it would be good with bacon. It makes an exceptional BLT.”
Kenny offered simple advice for enduring as a business: “Be consistent. Know what you’re doing. We do what we do and do it better all the time.”
She’s proud of The Peanut’s legacy. “I consider us to be a landmark destination like the Savoy Hotel,” she said. “We’re the last of the neighborhood dive bar and grills.”