Actually, it's a framed LeRoy Neiman print of Brett, and no insult was intended by the placement of the lithograph. It just happened to fit perfectly in that narrow space. Like every other inch of wall space at the seventeen-year-old Chappell's, the walls in the men's room are covered with photographs, magazine covers, postcards, pennants and every other kind of sports memorabilia.
At Chappell's, the collection of sports treasures is much more eclectic and a lot more historic than at George Brett's (see review). Jim Chappell keeps his most valuable stuff locked up, like the autographed Babe Ruth baseball or the counterfeit Lamar Hunt Trophy. But there are plenty of equally rare heirlooms in the dining rooms, too, including an autographed menu from the long-razed Jack Dempsey's Restaurant, one of the first sports-celebrity hangouts.
Customers occasionally offer to buy some of Chappell's collection, but the answer is always no. "A lot of these things were given to me as gifts by athletes and customers," Chappell says. "I couldn't turn around and sell them." That includes the 1974 World Series trophy that former Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley gave him. And the shoes signed by Joe Montana.
He still buys the occasional historic relic, such as his rarest piece, the 1931 Indianapolis Star trophy given to a young Purdue student named John Wooden. But Chappell has nearly run out of display space inside the restaurant. He still has fifty helmets in the basement yet to hang up on the ceiling.
And on the subject of history, the century-old farmhouse in Lee's Summit that restaurateur Greg Hunsucker lovingly restored and turned into the Tuscany Manor (300 Missouri Road) will close at the end of this month after a three-year run. The restaurant was a huge hit when it first opened, but the post-9/11 economy severely damaged the Manor's weeknight business. Hunsucker also operates the venerable V's Italiano Ristorante. V's, Hunsucker says, is "more than holding its own," which has made the Tuscany Manor losses even more noticeable.
"I don't think Lee's Summit is ready for an upscale restaurant," Hunsucker says. "The community really prefers casual dining and sports bars."