Kansas City's most famous bartender, gravel-voiced Harry Murphy, is hoping to open his newest namesake saloon and restaurant, Harry's Country Club (112 East Missouri), in the River Market by mid-October. Although Murphy and his partners didn't plan to gut the interior of the former Big Daddy's restaurant, that's exactly what happened. "You know how it goes," Murphy says. "You fix one thing, and you see five other things that don't work."
With some help from Dolphin Gallery proprietor John O'Brien, Murphy says he's turning the space into something that "looks like an old 1940s honky-tonk or an American Legion Hall from 1949." Painters are giving the walls an aged, tobacco-yellow glaze, and a construction crew is installing a 30-foot bar. Murphy hired chef Howard Boyd, a former coworker at the Hereford House in Leawood, to create the menu.
"We'll be serving sandwiches, salads and a few entrées," Murphy says. "And, yes, the place will be smoker friendly."
Typically, where there's smoke, there's fire, but a few blocks west of Harry's joint, entrepreneur Larry Mallin reluctantly turned off his chile roaster last week at his outdoor Hatch Chile of KC location at Fifth Street and Wyandotte ("Hot Time Tonight," September 25). Mallin didn't return our call, but his voice mail greeting says it all: "I was forced to throw away approximately 600 bushels of green chiles, almost half of what I had shipped in, mainly due to a total lack of interest in green chile in this town."
Anyone forced to dump all those chiles would be understandably disgruntled, and Mallin's tone is bitter. He notes that savvy transplants to Kansas City were chile chasers, but "[the] general population had no clue what green chile is about, and it's not going to happen in this town ... " Mallin adds that he suffered a "substantial financial loss" on his pepper project, proving that it takes more than green to make green. If you know what I mean.