Whatever Happened to Counter Service

counter service, jesse kalin brown

Recently, I had a conversation with a client about his wife being in memory care. “Joe”, who recently went through the Medicaid process with our firm, has meals a few times a week with his wife. They regularly eat at the community where she lives in Olathe, Kansas. During this conversation and while eating the incredible German chocolate cupcakes he brought in, Joe commented that he still enjoys eating out at local restaurants. Being able to qualify for senior discounts for quite some time, Joe and his wife used to make a hobby of searching out weekly specials and discounts. He says that, if you hit the right specials at the right times, you can eat cheaper going out than staying at home. Of course, if you don’t order drinks he says. Now this is a theory I’m interested in trying.
Since living apart from his wife, Joe commented how much he misses going out to eat in the company of his wife. Despite this, he said he still enjoys going out, albeit by himself most days and Joe still makes the weekly rounds hitting some of the best specials in town. Joe says its just not the same without someone else to sit with and talk to, but did comment that having his iPad to read or “act” like he’s reading makes feeling comfortable easier. Funny, I think we’re all guilty of that.
This conversation reminded me of an old hometown favorite restaurant, Tippin’s. For those living in Kansas City for some time, you’d remember that, back then, they not only had a lot of great pies, but a few restaurants too. I remember eating at their Metcalf location on a regular basis with Sue, she would order the French Silk and my favorite Pecan. We always enjoyed the food and old-time courtesies of dining back then.
One thing Tippin’s restaurants had at every location was counter service. One could always count on at least a few single souls, mostly seniors, reading the paper or chatting with others at the counter, with attached swivel chairs. This was a staple of their ambiance, and card games could also be found being played in the back midday. Should we start a bring back Tippin’s restaurants campaign or what?
Other iconic Kansas City restaurants with counter service that are still around are Winstead’s, Town Topic, and Pegah’s (which has a location in what used to be Sterns, if you’re up to speed on all things Old Shawnee and an old IHOP, both of which had large counter service areas). For some time now, Town Topic has been quite the hot spot for millennials and hipsters, making it less desirable for some seniors, but quite an interesting development in the possibilities of counter service making a comeback. Franchises like IHOP, Denny’s, Perkins, Shoney’s and Waffle House were all once known for their counter service, but these restaurants are either losing locations or updating with limited counter service or none at all.
How about you? Do you miss the old counter service style of restaurants? Wish they would bring it back? Or know of any secret gems around KC that Joe or other seniors around town would enjoy? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to share them with our clients.

Berger Estate & Elder Law P.A. has been finding solutions throughout Kansas City for over 30 years providing Trusted Counsel with Proactive Solutions for many. Give us a call today at (913) 491-6332, visit our website berger-lawfirm.com or stop by our conveniently located offices at 11233 Nall, Suite 140 Leawood, KS 66211 for more information.


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