It's not that
hard to find the one-month-old Hobo's Grill & Bar, even if I got lost twice trying to find it.
The saloon is due east of the Isle of Capri Casino. Turn right on Kansas Avenue, look sharp for 1036 North Agnes (across the railroad tracks) and there it is, an unassuming little building surrounded by unassuming little houses.
This joint used to be called the River's Edge before two former bartenders at the Peanut - longtime UPS employee Dave Hugo and mixologist-cook Bob Morris - and a third partner purchased the business and spent a lot of time and money cleaning it up.
"We've painted it, put in new carpeting," says Dave Hugo, who retired from UPS after 25 years and decided to own his own bar instead of working part time for someone else's saloon.
Morris, who oversees the kitchen, has a unique legacy in the local bar business. Not only has he worked in some of Kansas City's more iconic taverns and restaurants, he's the great-nephew of the legendary Milton Morris, who operated the great Milton's Tap Room during its glory days at 3241 Main.
Morris isn't making Hobo's (which is named for both the nearby train tracks and a Morris relative known to his friends as "Hobo") a gourmet spot, although he plans to start offering dinner specials later this summer. The current menu is heavy on sandwiches (a good Reuben, the pork tenderloin, a Philly cheesesteak, burgers), chicken wings, spaghetti and meatballs, and chili dogs.
Hobo's is currently serving breakfast from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays ("The truck drivers coming through here haven't discovered us yet," Morris says) and the lunch-dinner menu from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Later in the summer, Hugo and Morris plan to keep the kitchen open later.
There are homemade desserts, too, created by Barb Temple, a friend of Bob's. "She brings us three different choices every few days," Morris says. Last night's choices were Italian cream cake, cheesecake and chocolate-pecan pie.
"I had no idea this venue even existed," Hugo says, "until Bob brought me to look at it. But the neighborhood is great, and our customers have been so supportive. They like the food, too."