Jess & Jim's makes you feel right at home
by Mark Crouse
Kansas City Sports Dines Out
Needless to say, the world was a much different place in 1938. To put into perspective how much has changed since that year, consider that the pinnacle of personal technology was the birth of “Xerox” imaging. World War II was a year off and the Great Depression still gripped America. Walt Disney was releasing Snow White and Orson Welles panicked most of America with tales of invading Martians.
I point out these facts to put into perspective how long Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse has been in business. I had the pleasure of visiting this hallowed landmark in Martin City and spending three hours finding out for myself why this Kansas City legend not only endures but continues to be arguably the finest steakhouse around. I’m a latecomer, though in this discovery. Playboy Magazine, USA Today and others have beat me there.
There is a tangible air of obligation to the past that defines the atmosphere here. It is an obligation born of integrity and best stated in Mike and Debbie Van Noy’s statement to their customers. The Van Noy’s believe that our customers are the reason for our existence; that character in business today means security and happiness tomorrow; that an organization can only be dealt with on value, quality and integrity; and that by service to our fellow man, we will justify the confidence placed in us. For proof, I’ll offer this fact: six of the servers have been at Jess and Jim’s for over 30 years. Many more restaurants founded in 1938 would be operating today if they believed and practiced this.
We feasted on homemade pickled beets; a Sampler platter of appetizers, fresh salads and hearty, chunky steak soup. Then, still sizzling (literally) from the kitchen, came the Playboy Strip (25 oz. at $29.95) and the filet mignon (14 oz. at $25.95). Jess and Jim’s serves only Angus Beef and the difference is noticeable to even the uneducated palette. On top of that, Mike Van Noy cuts all of his own meat, ensuring only the finest cuts are served.
All of these portions are generous and served hot from the kitchen. However, you must keep room for the now famous twice baked potato served here. Don’t substitute anything for this. A massive, absolutely delectable baked potato that is actually a meal in itself.
The service and hospitality at Jess and Jim’s is truly as good as the food. Family operated, Mike and Debbie Van Noy consider their staff close family. The rookie waitress has been there 7 years. The Van Noy’s take care of their first rate staff and they take care of you. The motto mentioned above is a living, breathing way of doing business here. Our service throughout the night was nothing short of perfectly pleasant. You’re not going to get the pimply-faced server running to ask the pimply-faced assistant manager what the specialties of the day are. You’re going to get caring, expert attention from a well taken care of staff.
Jess and Jim’s also has a thorough web site, take out service and a newly remodeled banquet room that seats seventy people. It’s located at 517 East 135th Street in Martin City. A short drive from I-435 and a negligible distance for the quality and service.
It had been almost 15 years since I visited Jess and Jim’s. With my gut full of high quality fixings, my hands full of boxes of leftovers and a toothpick in my teeth, I stepped into the cool Martin City night thinking Jess and Jim should be damn proud of what they started and what the Van Noy family continues.