Kansas City Homecoming

Wishbone Restaurant
When Phillip Sollomi opened
the Wishbone Restaurant at
45th and Main in 1945, fried
chicken dominated the menu.
But his customers returned
for the salad dressing.

It was a Sunday in February. It was also the day after my dad had returned home to Kansas City from an assignment in Korea. Plans had been made weeks ago by my Mom. We were going to go to the Wishbone Restaurant for a celebration. Nothing would stop us. Not even the weather. It was snowing. It was snowing a lot. It was a blizzard, but we were going. The four of us climbed into our 1956 red Ford and off we went—out of our garage and into the winter whiteness, a dot of color on the deserted Holmes Road. There were no other cars. Just us.

Dad was driving. He laughed and said to my Mom, “Car's still running great. I can see that you have taken good care of it.” She blushed with pleasure and laughed too. The car slid a little and Mom squeaked with fright. Dad turned into the skid and the car straightened out.

We were on our way. My brother and I sat in the back seat peering out of the windows at the snow beating on the windows. Dad drove slowly, carefully, down the middle of the road as there seemed to be no other cars on the road. We finally approached the Nelson Art Gallery and Dad turned left on 47th Street heading toward the Plaza. We were almost there. Finally, Main Street appeared and there it was: a big, old, beautiful three-story house on the corner of Main and 45th street. It was elegant and beautiful. Dad pulled into the parking lot. There were no other cars to be seen.

“Oh no,” Mom said. “What if they aren't open?” Our mood immediately became morose and miserable. What if?

We all buttoned up and opened the car doors allowing snow to rush in and blow a cold wet wind on our faces, chilling us. We trudged across the parking lot, heads down against the wind to the double-door entry way. Were they open?

They were! Mr. Sollomi himself greeted us. He was the restaurant's owner and his mother's recipe for “The Kansas City Wish-Bone Famous Italian-Style Dressing” became famous and is still marketed by Lipton.

We were led into a beautiful room decorated in green. A fire was burning merrily in the corner. Antique tables were set with crystal goblets, shiny silverware, and white china. The standing, tall folded napkins saluted us proudly. We were the only ones there. We were seated at a round table by a window, and the waitress filled our water glasses. We feasted family-style on spicy yummy salad, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The snow outside cocooned us like a snow globe and made us feel safe and warm. We talked and laughed and had a good time. We were together again.

Linda Bureman
July 26, 2008