KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Charlie Hooper’s is back. The Brookside mainstay was closed for months due to a fire and they’re reopening their doors on Friday.
A kitchen fire evacuated Charlie Hooper’s on June 16. They expected to be open quickly. Now, finally it’s happening.
Charlie Hooper’s really is an institution in Brookside. It’s been there for 35 years. It was nominated this year for Best Neighborhood Bar in the Pitch. Not much has changed.
“We wanted to make sure that when you walked in to Hooper’s, it looked the same,” General Manager George Clarke said.
While the kitchen was down, there was time to spruce up the front of the house, which got just a smidge of smoke damage. However, they didn’t want a full facelift -- just a little Botox
“It’s kind of like having a classic car and we’re just kind of giving it a new facelift, like a new headlight or maybe new upholstery, but the overall feel of Hooper’s is staying the same,” Co-Owner Andy Llewellyn said.
“We added a couple of new TVs,” Clarke said.
Clarke said the beer cooler was a long-awaited upgrade. It’s the same size and has the same sizable selection, but it’s a snazzier showcase for what will be colder beer.
“We put better lighting in there, the new doors, new cooling equipment, stuff like that,” Clarke said.
The ceiling and lighting in the dining room is new too, but it’s hard to tell.
“Yeah, you had no clue,” Clarke said. “That’s a good thing. I want it to look better, but I don’t want you to notice it.”
Some things they wouldn’t dream of touching.
“You still got Hooper’s,” Clarke said. “You still got the old ceiling tiles that look like some drunk guy punched in the middle of the night.”
The kitchen is the only thing all new. It’s off limits for a full month to make way for investigators from five insurance companies: the bar owners’, the building owner’s, equipment manufacturing company, and maintenance company.
“Our ANSUL system didn’t fire,” Llewellyn said.
That’s a fire suppression system that should have kept a grease fire in the broiler from getting as big as it did.
They open tomorrow at 11 a.m. On Monday starts a week of giveaways from brands they work with like Four Hands, Boulevard, KC Bier Co, Martin City, and Dogfish Head. Plus, there will be what the general manager is calling “grand prizes.”
“We’ll be updating people on social media to see what those are,” Clarke said. “I got a Dogfish Head record player.”
They’re going to do the grand prize every night, but that particular prize is going to be next Saturday.
As for the staff that you’re used to seeing behind the bar and out on the floor, the owner said he had an insurance policy that covers lost wages and that includes a typical tip amount. So, they weren’t left out in the cold and 95% of them will be returning.