By D’Ann Dreiling
If you’re ready for jammin’ and jivein’ in the summer of ‘21, head to B B’s Lawnside Bar BQ, 1205 E. 85th Street. ( Troost ) Jazz, blues and country bands reverberate in this incredibly unique Kansas City Landmark every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night from 7 ‘til 10. On Saturday afternoons from 2 to 5 it’s time for a jam session with Momma Ray at the mic. “Any musician who CAN, come on up”, she invites. And these musicians who CAN will astound you with their talent. Saxophones, harmonicas, guitars, keyboard, trumpets, drums come together with amazing music. Momma Ray, quite the singer herself, invites vocalists to take the mic.
The Travel Channel lists B B’s as one of the top five places to go for barbecue in Kansas City. Once you’ve tasted their ribs you’ll be saying, “Good-bye Jack and Joe and hello BB.” Television’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured their burnt ends, pulled pork and barbecue sundae on their TV show. BB’s was also used as the backdrop for Anthony Bourdain’s show, No Reservations.
Blues and barbecue were the passion of owner Lindsay Shannon, former KC disc jockey, blues aficionado and founding member of the KC Blues Society. He began experimenting with barbecue recipes in college and married Jo, a Louisiana girl with her own southern recipes. In 1990 they quit their jobs and bought their “dream” complete with its 50 year old barbecue pit made from granite stones gathered from the streets around 16th and Vine. “Count Basie himself may have walked across these stones,” Shannon reminisces.
Adding to the cooking expertise of the restaurant are the Nickle brothers. “My brother and I were on the barbecue circuit,” says Jimmy Nickle, general manager. “We entered official contests all over the United States, accredited by the KCBS, and became the Grand Champion Winners.” His brother Mike is the pit master at BB’s and now a certified judge for the Society. Brother Kenneth has joined forces with the two, giving B B’s Lawnside Barbecue the best barbecue trio of cooks in the business!