Remember This? Gates Ol’ Kentuck Barbecue

Dorri Partain
Contributor


Countless barbeque restaurants dot the neighborhoods in and around Kansas City today, but during the early years of the 20th Century, ‘que was only found in the predominantly Black neighborhoods.


Henry Perry, a Black cook born and raised in Tennessee, is now credited with bringing the Southern tradition of slow-cooked meats slathered with a tangy sauce to Kansas City; his first storefront business was located at 1514 E. 19 St. by 1900.


Perry had expanded to three locations by the time he passed away in 1940. His restaurant at 17th and Brooklyn was purchased by Charlie Bryant, who then sold it to his brother Arthur. Arthur changed the sauce recipe to appeal to a wider customer base, and capitalized on the proximity to Municipal Stadium, just a few blocks south.


Meanwhile, Ol’ Kentuck Barbeque at 19th and Vine offered not only barbeque meats, but also had a liquor license. George W. Gates (1908-1960) was also born and raised in Tennessee, and as the father of three, was looking for a more stable income. He had worked as a railroad waiter and postal worker, but the idea of operating a tavern appealed to him – until his wife, a devout Methodist, argued that his business should focus on food, not whiskey.


Luckily for Gates, a cook named Arthur Pinkard worked at Ol’ Kentuck at the time of purchase in 1946 and had previously worked alongside Henry Perry. Pinkard taught Gates the slow cooking process and Gates created his own sauce recipe.


A fire in 1951 moved the business to several nearby locations until 1957, when Gates’ Ol’ Kentuck opened at 1221 Brooklyn. Gates’ son Ollie learned the business as he grew up, and the restaurant eventually changed its name to Gates & Son. Ollie opened his own place at 31st and Indiana following a dispute with his father, but bought the Brooklyn location from his mother following his father’s death in 1960.


The surrounding Gates Plaza, which added additional businesses to the 12th and Brooklyn hub, was built in 1975 and Gates built five more locations in the greater Kansas City area, as well as bottling the famous sauce for retail sales.


Gates is still owned and operated by the expanding Gates family.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Remember This? Alvin & The Chipmunks

    23 hours ago
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor If a chipmunk could sing, what would it sound like? Under the stage name of David Seville, […]


    Steaming through Missouri history on the Steamboat Chester

    23 hours ago
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This Fred Harvey postcard shows a scene near the Municipal Wharf at First and Main streets. Two […]


    Remember This? Tax mills

    April 14th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor How do you pay a fraction of a cent? This was the dilemma when the Missouri Legislature […]


    Winwood Beach: the Atlantic City of the West!

    April 14th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher A mere three stops after boarding the interurban car of the KCCC&SJ’s (Kansas City, Clay County & […]


    Remember This: L’eggs

    April 7th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Just like the bright plastic candy-filled eggs found in Easter baskets or backyards, L’eggs hatched a new […]


    Kinney Shoes: The same shoe for less money

    April 7th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News To dovetail with our “Remember This” feature of the week that remembers L’eggs Panty Hose, we […]


    Remember This? Sacagawea dollar coins

    March 31st, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Nearly two centuries following the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, their young Native American guide […]


    Dedicated sisters founded Children’s Mercy

    March 17th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Katherine Berry was born in Cave Spring, Ky., in 1860, eight years after her sister, Alice Berry […]


  • Remember This? The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    March 17th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor The interesting life of Missouri native Margaret Tobin Brown has been presented in two acts on stages […]


    Remember This? Patty Duke

    March 10th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor In movies and on television, America watched Anna Marie “Patty” Duke grow up. Born in 1946, she […]


    From Bawdy House to House of God: the Life and Times of Annie Chambers

    March 10th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Born near Lexington, Ky., on June 6, 1843, young Leannah Loveall would go on to live a […]


    Remember This? Little LuLu Moppet

    March 3rd, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor She may be little, but she hasn’t aged a bit while providing laughs to generations. “Little Lulu” […]


    “Her husband may have built landmarks, but Sarah Coates helped build lives.”

    March 3rd, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Sarah Walter Chandler was born on March 10, 1829, in Kennett Square, Penn., to Quaker parents John […]


    Lincoln Electric Park, a delight to the city’s Negro population

    February 24th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News As part of our Black History Month, we revisit a set of images we ran in […]


    Remember This? Ragtime two-step

    February 17th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor More than 70 years after its composition, a Ragtime two step became a chart-topping recording. “The Entertainer” […]


    Paseo YMCA plays major role in Black History

    February 17th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week, as part of our ongoing Black History Month series, we spotlight the Paseo YMCA located […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.