Update: Yesterday, Fat City reported that Mike's Tavern, owned by Ray Dunlea and James O'Brien — the operators of Cantina del Ray and The Gaf in Waldo — would begin serving Mexican food on Monday. The reason? Cantina del Ray permanently closed for business on August 11. Read on...
Mike's Tavern, a popular watering hole in the Rockhill Ridge neighborhood near UMKC and Rockhurst University for 48 years, is getting yet another personality change. Two years ago, Berry Anderson reported for Fat City that the saloon (which, she said, used to have "that smell") at 5424 Troost had been sold by owner Kurt Wirkin to Waldo restaurateurs Ray Dunlea and James O'Brien, the operators of the Gaf Pub & Grill and Cantina del Ray restaurant on Wornall Road. Dunlea and O'Brien definitely cleaned the joint up, but the parking lot never looked as full as it did back in the venue's more lowdown, stinkier days. But there's a bold new sign painted on the south side of the building: Mexican food Mike's Tavern & Cantina del Chef. Cantina del chef?
"Starting Monday, at lunch, we'll be serving a Mexican menu," a Mike's Tavern employee told Fat City. "We'll offer food at lunch and dinner. We'll essentially be serving the same menu as Cantina del Ray. But we'll still be called Mike's Tavern."
An employee of The Gaf told Fat City that Waldo's Cantina del Ray is moving lock, stock and tortilla warmers to the Mike's Tavern location. There's already a new tenant in the old location at 7100 Wornall Road. "A Des Moines company has taken over the space," she said. "It's going to be a wine bar."
The Gaf will take on a few Mexican dishes from the Cantina del Ray menu, but the full menu — including traditional Tex-Mex dishes like guacamole, bean dip, shrimp cocktail, nachos, tacos, burritos and tamales — will be offered at Mike's Tavern.