It's funny how the fate of the Wish Bone still gets longtime Kansas Citians in a stir. After all, it wasn't the only converted mansion where diners could order fried chicken and steaks. The Green Parrot and Victor Hugo's both met the wrecking ball before the Wish Bone, which sat on the corner of 45th and Main streets.
Nostalgia lingers for the Wish Bone because its signature salad dressing, created by the restaurant's first owners, the Sollomi family, remains a staple of supermarket shelves. Phil Sollomi sold the restaurant to Joe and Dora Adelman in 1946. The Lipton Company bought the salad-dressing recipe in 1957. And Joe Adelman -- who came to America from Russia with Stan Glazer's father in the 1920s -- sold the restaurant to Glazer in 1979.
"I bought it for $105,000," Glazer recalls. "It was in shambles! There was a layer of grease and cigarette smoke on everything. It probably hadn't been cleaned in years. I had a sale and sold a lot of the antiques and paintings and earned back $50,000. Then I gutted the place."
Borrowing $1.5 million at Carter-era interest rates ("I was paying over 24 percent at one point," Glazer says), Glazer turned the shabby, genteel Chapman mansion into a dazzling restaurant and disco called Stanford's East.
"It was just exotic," Stanford says, recalling the marble tabletops, corduroy wall covering and leaded-glass windows over the booths. He turned the basement into a dance club with a mirrored ceiling and called it Club Manhattan. "It was members-only, and they had solid brass cards," he brags.
But it took $175,000 a month to break even, so less than a year later, Glazer turned Stanford's East into a "cowboy saloon" called the Outlaws, filling the walls with stuffed squirrels and moose heads. But the Urban Cowboy craze didn't last, and within seven months that place closed, too. The building was torn down in 1982.
"It would still be there today," Glazer says, "if it wasn't for Mr. Jimmy Carter."