Savoy Hotel and Grill
The Savoy Hotel and Grill is a historic hotel and restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri. The Savoy Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the United States west of the Mississippi River. The hotel closed in 2016 to undergo extensive renovation by 21c Museum Hotels and reopened in 2018.
Savoy Hotel and Grill
|Location||219 W. 9th St. and 9th and Central Sts., Kansas City, Missouri|
|Area||9.9 acres (4.0 ha)|
|Architect||Van Brunt & Howe|
|Architectural style||Art Nouveau|
|NRHP reference No.||74001073|
|Added to NRHP||December 30, 1974|
Kansas City's Hotel Savoy was built in 1888. It was built by the owners of the Arbuckle Coffee Company. In 1903 the original hotel was remodeled and the west wing was added featuring the Savoy Grill dining room. The Savoy Grill is the oldest restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri.
In the early 1900s, the Savoy was a luxury destination for travelers arriving by train in Kansas City. It was the first hotel seen by travelers as they entered the city from the old Union Depot. With the depression of the 1930s and the later shift toward suburban living, the hotel began to fall into disrepair, although the restaurant remained active. The Savoy was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 30, 1974., and renovation of the hotel into a bed and breakfast began in 1985. The renovation project was undertaken by owner Don Lee. Lee had purchased the Savoy Grill in 1960 and the entire Savoy Hotel in 1965. During the renovation, care was taken to preserve original pieces of the hotel that were still in usable condition, including the original reception desk and stained glass artwork. The Savoy Grill also still includes the original carved oak bar, high beamed ceilings, murals painted in 1903 by Edward Holslag, and the famous Booth No. 4, which was frequented by Harry and Bess Truman.
The Savoy Grill, located at 9th and Central, is a longstanding Kansas City, Missouri fine dining establishment that was founded in 1903 and gained historic landmark with the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Many notable figures have visited the restaurant including Harry S. Truman who made frequent visits over his lunch hour when he was the owner/operator of a downtown haberdashery. Booth No. 4, known as the presidents' booth, has been host to Warren Harding, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. During prohibition, rather than remove the bar, drapes were hung up to conceal its presence. The Grill is most famous for its seafood and steaks.
It's slogan in the 1960s and 1970s was: "The Savoy Grill: A new, different, and exciting restaurant over sixty years old".
"The original Grill Room is surrounded by The Savoy Murals, painted by Edward Holslag in 1903 when he was in his early thirties. Those murals depict the pioneers' departure from Westport Landing and their journey along the Santa Fe Trail. Holslag, who was a pupil of The National Academy of Design and John LaFarge, is represented at the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C. The Savoy Grill Murals have been included in the Smithsonian Institution's "Bicentennial Inventory of American Paintings." "
Staff members and hotel guests have reported hauntings at the Savoy Hotel. In the late 1800s, Betsy Ward lived and died in room 505 of the hotel. One story claims that she committed suicide in the bathtub. Another story claims that someone else was involved with her death. A turn-of-century 32 caliber pistol was supposedly found sealed in the wall when the apartment was renovated. Hotel guests and staff have heard strange voices, seen shadows, and heard doors open and close on their own in and around room 505. Stories also claim that the spirit of Fred Lightner still haunts his apartment at the Savoy. Other hauntings include a feeling of being followed on the second floor, where a restaurant manager was stabbed to death by the dishwashers in 1990. Other phenomena include very clear EVPs and pictures with orbs and apparitions. Many have reported the sighting of a small girl in Victorian dress on the fourth floor, and the elevator repeatedly gets stuck on the fourth floor or will send passengers to the sixth when they push the fourth floor button.
On October 23rd, 2014 a major fire destroyed the kitchen of the Savoy Grill. The historic restaurant area was not destroyed but sustained significant smoke damage. The fire was caused by a cook who was not paying attention. The restaurant was closed down and the hotel was evacuated.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- "Haunted Places". Red Bridge Report. October 2010. p 12.
- "Owner tries to build on success of restaurant to refurbish hotel." The Southeast Missourian. June 7, 1998. 7C.
- About Us
- "Savoy Grill Fire Destroys Kitchen". KCMB Kansas City News. October 23, 2014.