South KC Perspective
Bannister’s New Beginning
By John Sharp
With construction beginning on the next two office towers at the Cerner Innovations Campus near the former Bannister Mall, the long awaited retail rebirth in the area finally appears to be occurring.
It started with a new and expanded QuikTrip on the north side of 87th St. just north of the Cerner Campus, a new Hardee’s on the south side of Bannister Rd. southwest of the campus and a major interior and exterior renovation of the Wendy’s next door.
Just east of the fast food restaurants, work is now progressing at a fast pace to remodel the former Kmart store on the southwest corner of Bannister and Hillcrest Rd. at 5615 E. Bannister Rd. into a climate-controlled CubeSmart storage facility with around the clock video recording.
CubeSmart is already accepting no obligation reservations for eight different sizes of storage units at the site, plus parking for vehicles and boats.
The Café was a vision of Bishop Travis Shockley who told me he wanted a nice place for residents to gather to conduct business or just relax with their friends and neighbors.
Situated in a totally remodeled portion of the building with a conference room for small meetings, the Café blends its own coffee and offers hot and cold coffee drinks, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate and fruit and protein smoothies as well as pastries, cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies and small pecan pies. On Saturdays, it offers breakfast the entire time it is open.
Hours are from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed Sunday.
On the south side of Bannister Rd. a little northwest of the Home Depot, two new businesses are open and a third just east of them should open soon.
First to open about a year ago was Cabinets to Go at 4601 E. Bannister Rd. which buys all wood cabinets and different types of flooring and countertops directly from the manufacturers and sells them to homeowners, remodelers and contractors, eliminating middleman markups.
It specializes in kitchen cabinets and countertops, bathroom vanities and cabinets, and flooring. It has over 60 showrooms throughout the nation, but none in Kansas and only one other in Missouri in the St. Louis area.
It is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Adjoining it on the east in the same building, is recently opened World Smart LED KC which sells LED (light-emitting-diode) lighting products for residential, commercial or office use.
Headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, with several locations in the southeast U.S., the company advertises its products as “the smarter choice in lighting” since LED lights are many times as energy-efficient and long-lasting as incandescent bulbs and significantly more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than compact fluorescent lights. LED lighting is rapidly gaining in popularity and is expected to soon account for over half of all lights sold.
The firm is hosting its formal grand opening day Wednesday, April 18. Retail customers will receive an 11 percent instant discount all day, and there will be special reduced pricing for contractors and bulk orders. Refreshments will be served.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Big Momma’s bakery/café which built a loyal following at its earlier locations in Raytown and Crown Center is remodeling the building at 4707 E. Bannister Rd. just east of World Smart LED and hopes to at least have its take out bakery open by the beginning of May.
Joyce Brown, co-owner with her husband Fabian Brown, said Big Momma’s is unique because its recipes for cinnamon and dinner rolls have been handed down for generations and also because it gives other bakers the opportunity to have their goods sold there.
Big Momma’s is famous for its homemade cinnamon rolls which come in three sizes – the bite-sized Mini Momma, the medium size Little Momma which she said was not really little and the Big Momma which she said is about the size of a dinner plate and big enough to share. It also sells homemade bread, cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other pastries.
Its breakfast and lunch sandwiches are made to order on homemade bread, and Mrs. Brown said its homemade chicken salad sandwich is by far its most popular. It also offers homemade soups.
The take out bakery/café will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Mrs. Brown told me she hopes to open at least three more locations throughout the metropolitan area in the next few years.
Directly north of Big Momma’s is Manila Bay Ihaw Ihaw Filipino restaurant, 4800 E. Bannister Rd. Manila Bay Ihaw Ihaw is a take-out, call in, and eat in restaurant specializing in genuine Broaster Chicken and authentic Filipino cuisine. The restaurant set up shop in 2016.
“We were the first business to move into the area around Home Depot because we saw a great opportunity for the future of the area due to the Cerner complex,” says owner Phil Thayer. “We do have a city wide reputation that is bringing people into the area.” Thayer says it is the only Filipino restaurant in a 400 mile radius.
Manila Bay serves breakfast, chicken dinners, and biloa platters. Hours Tuesday through Friday are 11:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday 11 am to 8 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 3 pm. They are closed Monday.