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‘Ruthelle’s’ Returning to 18th & Vine

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

Adam Jones, who’s redevelopment portfolio include the Westside and West Bottoms, is going east to the 18th & Vine District with an artsy project featuring barbecue and soul food along with a dollop of local jazz culture.

He’s renovating a small two-story building at 1819 Vine into a restaurant and night club and naming it “Ruthelle’s” after Ruthelle Winkfield, the woman who ran a hair salon for many years in the space.

A big mural of Ruthelle was recently completed on the side of the building by street artist Michael Toombs and Jones also plans to add a neon sculpture by LA artist Nikita Gale based on a note jazz great Charlie Parker wrote to his wife, Chan: “I adore your every move.”

A portrait of local jazz great Ben Webster will be part of the KC Jazz Hall of Fame at Ruthelle’s. (Image courtesy Adam Jones)

The artwork is part of a $20,000 grant he received from Dashboard, an Atlanta non-profit dedicated public art intended to raise social awareness.

Jones also has commissioned 18 portraits of local jazz greats that will be part of his Kansas City Jazz Hall of Fame installation at a 50-foot long outdoor pavilion planned for the back of the building.

The portraits were done by an old classmate of his from the Kansas City Art Institute based in Long Island, Cliff Baldwin. Chuck Haddix of KCUR, a longtime connoisseur of local jazz history, helped select the musicians for the gallery.

The building had been vacant since the 1980s and Jones acquired it about six years ago. It originally was built around the turn of the 20th Century for a Black doctor who had his office and residence there.

As part of his redevelopment plan, Jones reached out to his neighbor, the Zodiac motorcycle club, to make sure his idea was compatible and wasn’t viewed as gentrification.

The project is being financed by Lead Bank and the total redevelopment cost was estimated at $175,000. The schedule calls for the exterior work to be completed by year’s end and the restaurant and club opening in late spring 2022.

Exterior work at Ruthelle’s is expected to be completed by year’s end.

Jones’ project is only a block away from two other larger development plans either under construction or in the works for the 18th and Vine area.

The first phase of the proposed One Nine Vine mixed-use development, a $25.6 million apartment building with ground floor retail, is scheduled to be considered by a city development agency in early September.

It’s proposed for the southeast corner of 19th and Vine.

And work is underway on the 2000 Vine project which is renovating two, 150 year-old buildings at 2000 Vine into office space, retail and a proposed microbrewery.


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