Ah, the Country Club Plaza in the spring. There’s nothing like it. The fountains are bubbling, the shoppers are milling about and the patio of The Classic Cup café is completely full. The Classic Cup is one of the focal points of the Plaza—and it has been attracting Kansas City residents and visitors for over 30 years. But did you know that The Classic Cup wasn’t always located so prominently on the Plaza? As a matter of fact, 20 years ago, before The Roasterie became the coffee provider for the famous Kansas City restaurant, The Classic Cup was located in Westport.
History of The Classic Cup
Classic Cup opened 33 years ago by Charlene Welling in a small location in Westport. The store primarily sold cheeses, coffees and candies. A quick three years later, Charlene decided to open a 27-seat bistro one night a week. She immediately turned to Michael Turner as the executive chef. He has been serving up delicious eats at The Classic Cup ever since. Chef Michael now works with The Classic Cup’s current owner, John Meyer.
Chef Michael has seen it all—from the opening of The Classic Cup on the Plaza in 1989 to the closing of the Westport location in 1998 (the building is now the home of Thai Place). Michael was even the main point-of-contact when Bean Baron Danny O’Neill approached Classic Cup 20 years ago.
Classic Cup Partners with The Roasterie
In its beginnings, Classic Cup was serving larger, national brand coffees and getting it shipped from Cincinnati, San Francisco and Oakland. When Danny brought in his blend (straight from the basement), Michael’s eyes were opened to a new opportunity—the Classic Cup could dramatically decrease its carbon footprint and still provide delicious coffee from a local roaster.
“When Danny showed up, he helped us see the light,” explains Chef Michael Turner. “We were paying way too much on shipping. Plus, he threw in some great equipment, offered to do our entire inventory and made the process very easy.”
More Than Business Partners
Throughout the past 20 years, Danny and Michael became not just business partners, but close friends. Michael was even invited to take part in The Roasterie’s annual bean-hunting trip to Costa Rica in 2005.
“Every single day, every single experience and every single coffee I tasted in Costa Rica gave me an appreciation for the entire coffee process,” says Chef Michael. “From picking to husking to drying to pulling the film off—I still can’t believe coffee is as cheap as it is. It is an amazing process.”
But it wasn’t the awesome trip to Costa Rica that has made Michael and The Classic Cup stick with The Roasterie (although it certainly didn’t hurt!).
“We’re in a business that is concerned about the quality of the product,” he says. “Danny has instilled in everyone how important the preparation of a good, quality product is. The consistency, quality and partnership with The Roasterie salespeople has made us stick. To top it off, they make the process very easy on us.”
Chef Michael also comments on the variety of coffee that The Roasterie provides. When The Classic Cup was getting coffee shipped from other cities, the only roast they could get was Colombian. The variety just wasn’t locally available.
“Danny saw a niche to bring coffee variety to the Kansas City area,” says Chef Michael. “He ran a smart business and capitalized on it. He was one of the first—and our loyalty remains with The Roasterie.”
The Classic Cup Café Blend and Other Products
The Classic Cup’s signature blend utilized the Kansas City Blend as its benchmark. The Classic Cup Café Blend has been specially designed to complement a light and fruity menu with a sugary peach aroma and crisp acidity.
But Classic Cup offers more than just Roasterie coffee to its patrons! Chef Michael has used all sorts of Roasterie products including the Super Tuscan Coffee Barbeque Rub, Super Tuscan Coffee Barbeque Sauce, and Roasterie espresso for chocolate desserts. Michael has even seared beef tenderloin with finely ground Roasterie coffee. What does the chef want to experiment with next? The coffee balsamic vinaigrette (not yet available)!
We would like to thank Chef Michael Turner for selecting and sticking with The Roasterie as The Classic Cup’s specialty coffee company for the past 20 years. It’s because of our first customers that we are experiencing the successes that we are today. To 20 more years of fun, adventure and spirit with The Classic Cup—cheers!