May 142009

This place is insane.


For people who like odd experiences, who like to challenge their notions of comfort, for those who can’t abide the ubiquity of tin ceilings, exposed brick and conical glass lampshades, this place is for you. The strangeness here is rivaled only be the old Nichols Lunch. And as with Nichols, just don’t expect to eat well.

Walking into Waid’s I found myself the object of dozens of octogenarian eyes and suddenly wondered if I had mistakenly walked into the dining room of a cheap retirement home. What in the hell was this place? It was quiet, dark and entirely devoid of any redeeming physical characteristic. I’m sure Waid’s used to be cute and retro, but they didn’t have the good sense to pursue a nostalgic vibe. Indeed the 1980s makeover is all too apparent, made more creepy by all of the seemingly unintentionally depressing details: hotel room art, drop ceilings, industrial carpeting, and the blandest of American diner menus.

If the Prairie Village Waid’s was a movie, David Lynch and John Waters would co-direct. There was the guy coughing and hacking up phlegm, three ladies going over every detail of their check to make sure they hadn’t been swindled and a certifiably crazy woman with papers and change all over her table.

My waitress had the sort of shocking cheeriness reserved for overprescribed mental patients and Maharishi disciples. I’m pegging her for the former. She had this odd way of speaking with incredible gleefulness and vigor while never really making eye contact. As I have implied, the clientele was almost entirely senior citizen–not a bad thing in and of itself, but I did feel odd, almost like an interloper into a world in which I did not belong.

Naturally Waid’s is not the sort of place where one expects great food. Ordering a salad never entered my mind, though they have several on the menu. I took forever deciding on my order because I didn’t want something gross. This was a futile pursuit. I can’t begin to tell you what to order here. You’re on your own.

When asked about the soup of the day, our server told us it was steak soup. “But it’s different than it used to be,” she said, “we used to make it with hamburger and now we use…you know, steak.” I did not order the soup.

I’m sure breakfast is passable at Waid’s, it’s not hard to make eggs, bacon and toast after all. Lunch is a different affair, presenting you with possibilities like chili dogs, tuna melts, fried cod, reubens and burgers. I wound up ordering the chicken fried steak sandwich for god knows what reason. Life is too short to eat one more substandard reuben. My sandwich came to me aptly presented but utterly bland and kind of dry since I opted not to use the cup of mayo they provided.


Despite a decent appearance my sandwich tasted like nothing and was cooked to death. The french fries, however, were woefully undercooked.

Chicken fried steak

You know the restaurant that you always have to take your grandma to when you swoop into town for a once a year Sunday lunch to stave off the crippling guilt of not really finding her that interesting? Waid’s is that restaurant. It’s crazy but a lot of older people have a singular ability to overlook the sheer creepiness of a place in favor of comfort and familiarity. They know the waitress, the know what they like to order, they know how much it will cost. They could be eating in a dungeon for all they care.

I, on the other hand couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming sense of drabness: scratched faux-stained glass, ancient institutional carpeting, water-stained ceilings and water glasses that had been through the dishwasher about 800 times too many.


Waid’s is a local chain and one that used to be fairly prevalent in the metro area as I understand it. From what I can tell, there are only 2 current locations: Prairie Village and South KC (and maybe Lee’s Summit?). I’m sure a lot of folks who frequent this place have done so for a very long time and don’t really pay much attention to the details anymore. I am not qualified (or old) enough to know if it has become worse over the years. In its present state, it is just another American casual restaurant in the vein of Big Boy or Denny’s. Thus Waid’s is an imitation of something that had no business being imitated.

Waid's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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  19 Responses to “Waid’s: 6920 Mission Rd – CLOSED”

  1. After umpteen years of monthly lunches at that Waid’s location, the elderly members of a community service organization I belong to have finally given up on the place and are moving to First Watch at Corinth Square.

  2. this would be a funny read when we meet there for an “old blogger meet-up” in 2025

  3. Did you lose a bet?

  4. These were two highlights for me:

    My waitress had the sort of shocking cheeriness reserved for overprescribed mental patients and Maharishi disciples.

    You know the restaurant that you always have to take your grandma to when you swoop into town for a once a year Sunday lunch to stave off the crippling guilt of not really finding her that interesting? Waid’s is that restaurant.I’m sorry you had to experience that lunch, but this entire writeup is brilliant. Kudos.

  5. “I took forever deciding on my order because I didn’t want something gross.” I hate when I find myself in this situation!

  6. Ha ha ha ha ha! I can honestly say I have never in my life been to Waid’s for anything other than breakfast. It’s pretty good, actually, old school, and no waiting in line like First Watch. I think the creepy 80s vibe is funny.

  7. Well, it’s not like I went to Waid’s with the intention of writing about it. It was just one of those moments where you realize you need to eat something quickly before you pass out (yes, there was a hangover involved). But after 5 minutes in the place I knew I couldn’t ignore it on the blog. This post basically wrote itself.

  8. I’m with phome…the fact that you were trying to not order grossness has me in giggles!

    But after reading your last comment about needing to eat something before you passed out? Um, did you notice that there was a Hen House across the street, a yummy bakery and a Starbucks on the corner, and the fucking BLUE MOOSE on the other side of the center from you?

    So I don’t feel bad for you ONE BIT. Nyah. :P

    (Also, I think I may know the lady you tagged as likely being certifiably crazy. If she was short, braless, and about 89 years old, her name is Alameda, and she loves her crossword puzzles! Keeps her mind sharp, she says. She’s over at the Moose from about 3 – 5 every afternoon…and she’s one of my fave people in the world. Probly wasn’t her, but just in case, I thought I’d mention it.)

  9. I think it’s my duty to point out that you only went to Waid’s because I wanted to go and that we were on our way to sign up for the CSA at Hen House. I loved Waid’s – life should be more like underground films more often…

  10. if it was a film it would be “Awakenings”

  11. whoah, there is also a Waid’s at 103rd and State Line. I went in it once and when I walked out I had gray hair and a walker. But seriously, it’s the only restaurant I’ve been to in the past year that I’ve seriously asked myself, “are they trying to make this food terrible.”

  12. Well, don’t worry. I have a feeling as the bleeding edge of the Boomers walker their way into their Golden Years, they will not put up with Waid’s “food”.

    No, these pampered, always-catered-to folks, with their deep pockets and cutting-edge taste will demand a local chain that presents something “edible”, as well as astehicly pleasing…

    What could fit the bill?

    Think, think, think.

    I know – Houlihan’s! It’s done nothing but go downhill since the 70’s anyway…

  13. Thank goodness Caitlin spoke up, or else I’d have truly worried about you, DLC.

    Maybe a lunch at Waid’s can be added to the list of bets that should be made involving Chimpotle, along with the seafood empanada from Don Chilitos, eh?

  14. Funny you should bring that up Faith, because Chimpotle now says that there is “no way” he can stomach the seafood empanada. We will have to be on the lookout for alternatives.

  15. The fleet of PT Cruisers and Lincoln Town Cars in the parking lot should have been the red flag to avoid this place at all times. The wife and I ate there once and determined that everything tasted like blanched carrots.

  16. I hadn’t seen that tweet from Chimpo about the seafood empanada, DLC. Well, damn. I can’t say that doesn’t disappoint me, man.

    SOMEONE has to be brave enough to try it! They put it on the menu for a reason, right???

  17. AArrrgh! This review is like Groundhog Day! For such a horrid restaurant to keep appearing week after week on my screen is unbearable. Let's find a decent lunch spot to hang up there for a while.

  18. Ha, sorry for the lull, Bob. Rest assured I have some more posts coming in the next couple of days. I promise they will be better restaurants than Waid's.

  19. Well I must be the only person under the age of 65 (26 to be precise) who happens to LOVE Waid's. Ok, so maybe it's because of my tiny-town upbringing, and the fact that this creepy, greasy diner reminds me of the creepy, greasy diners back home – the Blue Top Inn will forever have my heart. But I actually crave that tuna melt (on sourdough, no tomatoes) quite frequently. The Blue Moose's melt pales in comparison to this buttery, tuna-packed delicacy.

    Perhaps my motives are purely sentimental, and my tastes are lower than the average brow. You will, regardless, find me at the sparse 103rd location at least a couple of weekends a month. I'll take it over Panera most days.