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The group picks up Jones' food trail again in the East Bottoms on Guinotte Avenue, where seafood vendor Fabulous Fish is tucked between the river and the railroad. Heavy industry and the memory of it give way here to mobile homes until a tiny pocket of development comes into view at the intersection of Guinotte and North Montgall.
Across from the Local Pig butcher shop, Jones enters the former Heim Brewing Co.'s bottling hall and spends a minute sorting out how to silence the alarm. It's a place he's familiar with — he spent last month on the roof to help cut out a 100-foot skylight.
The former warehouse, owned by McDonald and Krum, is mostly empty but tidy. It's being used for brewery storage with kegs, signage and an old company-branded pickup truck parked inside. A small cluster of oak barrels contains test batches of vinegars.
"I think there's a lot we can do with fermentation in the next year or two," McDonald says. "There's scotch and balsamic vinegar and sausage."
"It's this idea of bringing all these local producers together," Krum adds. "Something funky and authentic and gritty where you got sausages and local flowers and vinegar."
Krum has in mind a scaled-down version of New York City's Eataly or one of the McMenamins properties in Oregon. The "adult playground," as he calls it, would likely also include a Boulevard tasting room. As the demand for tours has outstripped the capacity at the brewery's Southwest Boulevard headquarters, the duo has toyed with opening a second "Boulevard experience," a place not to make beer but to serve test and seasonal brews.
"Kansas City needs to play to its strengths," Krum says. "We're not Silicon Valley. We don't have beachfront property. We have an incredibly vibrant food and arts scene. If you could enhance that, you could have something real and sustainable."
Back in the sunshine, Jones introduces the group to Jeffries, the contractor from the house on Holly, who is also Local Pig's landlord. This is how Jones' world works. Krum and McDonald, who were eager to see development in the East Bottoms, knew Jeffries from the West Side and sold him the buildings at 2612 Guinotte and 2618 Guinotte (home to Local Pig).
"After 30 years, I'm realizing more than anything that my real skill has been to build community," Jones says.
Jeffries' workshop is on the first floor of the building next door, and Fungi Business, his fledgling shiitake-mushroom operation, is in the basement. In a 210-square-foot space and climate-controlled walk-in cooler, Jeffries can grow a new batch of fungi every 21 days. Just a few weeks ago, Jones made his first restaurant delivery for Jeffries, dropping off 3 pounds of mushrooms at Anton's Taproom.
Connecting the delivery service, the renovation of the Heim plant in the East Bottoms and the greenhouse in the West Bottoms is, for now, nothing more than Jones' enthusiasm (and the bed of his black Ford). And even if the food trail that would formalize those connections doesn't take shape the way he envisions, Jones has already set a lot of people walking on his path.
That's the thing about the wind. It changes things.