Artist Spotlight – Awesome Town Topic photo taken by local photographer Nick Vedros in the 1980s. Vedros was one of the first photographers in the Kansas City Crossroads District. On the day this photo was taken, Vedros and his girlfriend, Patti (now his wife of almost 30 years) were in his studio at 19th and Main (located above a palm reader, no less!). Patti looked out the window and shouted at Vedros to get his camera. Vedros wasn’t in the mood to take photos, but after Patti told him he’d be sorry if he missed this shot, he grudgingly glanced out the window….and “saw these incredible clouds”. He rushed outside and began taking photos, looking for “a foreground to go with the background”. Then he spotted Town Topic, and he knew he had his shot. Vedros is a frequent visitor to Town Topic, saying, “It holds a special place in my heart.” Check him out on facebook or on his website at http:www.vedros.com. Photos are available for purchase.
Here is a young Claude Sparks at a 1932 White Castle employee banquet in Kansas City. Claude is the 4th person from the front on the left (you may have to click on the photo to see the whole thing). Claude moved to Kansas City from Golden, Missouri and worked as a cab driver before starting at White Castle, which, of course, paved the way for him to start Town Topic Hamburgers. He’s just 24 years old in this picture. Looks like a pretty fancy banquet!
The original Town Topic Hamburger stand at 2442 Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri. Owners Claude Sparks and Haywood Billings (behind counter from right to left) each pitched in $500 to buy the restaurant back in 1937 – a lot of money in the midst of the depression! Claude borrowed his from his maternal grandfather, and later bought out Haywood’s half. They were both true entrepreneurs.
Today is National Have a Coke Day! Town Topic has been serving Coca Cola since 1937. We sold it on our first day of business, and we never stopped. We used to sell it by the bottle, but I think it’s even better served over crushed ice, which is how we serve it now. So come on – stop in and have a Coke..and a smile.