When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Calvin Vick and Kinley Strickland to close down their popular KC Daiquiri Bar in Kansas City’s Power and Light District, the duo had just completed a very successful first year. Patterned after the New Orleans daiquiri bars, the concept was new to Kansas City. However, thanks to some creative marketing, and strong drinks, the 80-seat capacity restaurant and bar at 1116 Grand in KCMO, had become a community favorite. Prior to the COVId-19, the duo had established relationships with most of the major food delivery services and they had hired a lobbyist in Jefferson City, with the goal of getting a bill passed to legalize alcohol drinks to go. It turned out the pandemic helped their “to go” effort, with the state -- as a way to help restaurants -- temporarily suspended enforcement of the state’s to-go alcohol laws. The change proved to be a boom for the company, with packaged to-go daiquiris – especially their popular gallon -jug size – proving popular as a party-to-go.
That was just the beginning of the duo’s successful pivot. Vick spent most of 2020 working with community activist MORE2 to get the City of KCMO and its catering vendor, Lowes, to open up catering opportunities at the Kansas City Convention Center to Black-owned businesses. Once that opportunity became available, KC Daiquiri, partnering with a group of four of Kansas City’s finest Black chefs, successfully competed for and received one of the two catering agreements awarded to Black businesses. This month, the results of the duo’s year of hard work and visioning is coming to fruition. This week, the duo opened a KC Daiquiri Bar location at the new KC Monarch Stadium at the Legends in western Wyandotte County. Up next, KC Daiquiri Bistreaux, a brand-new location for the duo, scheduled to open later this month in Overland Park, KS.
Different from their downtown location in many ways, the Bistreaux will have a larger focus on food, but the popular daiquiris will still be there. Vick says to think Pappadeaux, the popular Texas Cajun restaurant chain. The menu will feature a complete menu of Cajun dishes,
with the duo putting into full rotation some of the popular specialty dishes that were only available at the downtown location on a limited basis.
The much larger location will accommodate up to 200 guests, and instead of a party vibe, the bistro will be a family-friendly establishment. The restaurant, which Vick says is tentatively scheduled to have a soft opening on May 15, will be located at 8725 Metcalf, Overland Park, So, thanks to creative thinking and vision that found this duo shifting and pivoting, they appear to have thrived. No wonder when we first asked Vick how the pandemic impacted them, he answered, “it was good to us.” Yes, it was.