Remembering Larry Stewart, Kansas City’s Secret Santa

Larry StewartFrom our archives….

Remembering Larry Stewart (1948-2007)this holiday season.

Stewart rose from poverty to become KC’s Secret Santa for 26 years. After the owner of Mississippi’s Dixie Diner gave a homeless Stewart $20 back in 1971, he vowed that if he ever had the means he would do the same for others…and boy did he. Stewart gave more than $1.3 million over the years – many times as crisp $100 bills to strangers on the street, in laundromats and gas stations. Beyond tha…t, he and his “elves” (including KC’s own Buck O’Neil and former Chicago Bear Dick Butkus), would personally hand thousands of dollars to someone in need of surgery or to others devastated by hurricanes, fires and 9/11.

Stewart graced Town Topic many times to spread good cheer, and was described by one employee as “an angel from Heaven”. Upon meeting him Oprah Winfrey exclaimed, “Why you are Santa incarnate right here!” You can read more about Stewart in the book, “Santa’s Secret, A Story of Hope”.

Stewart was quoted as saying, “Anyone can be Santa. You don’t have to give away money. You can give a smile or look someone in the eye and listen.”

I think we can all do that, don’t you?

Happy Birthday Carol-Le!

Carol-Le ElliottHappy birthday to Carol-Le Elliott! When Carol-Le’s boyfriend convinced her to try one of our burgers several years ago, she had no idea she would fall in love with Town Topic. She has now made lunch at Town Topic her birthday tradition, driving every year from St. Joseph, Missouri. Carol-Le, we adore you as much as you adore us! Happy birthday!

Two Kansas City Institutions – Hallmark and Town Topic!

HallmarkTT1 001HallmarkTT2 001When Hallmark created a jukebox Christmas ornament several years ago, they wanted to include a photo of a local diner in their catalogue. What Kansas City diner did they choose for inspiration? Town Topic, of course! It was so fun to have our 19th and Baltimore restaurant included in Hallmark’s 2008 Dream Book! Don’t forget to buy your Hallmark ornaments this year!

From across the pond….

EdGashEnlandBBQA belated shout out to Ed Gash from Swindon, England! Ed has stopped by Town Topic each of the past three years while he’s here to compete in the American Royal BBQ. He and his team finished 7th in the brisket category in 2013, and 3rd in the chicken category in 2012 – an incredibly difficult feat considering that thousands compete in the competition. BBQ is gaining popularity in England thanks to people like Ed. Can’t wait to see you next fall, Ed! Check out his team at BunchofSwines.com