‘After 39 wonderful years,’ Kansas City restaurateur will close his last location

Michael Forbes Grille opened in Waldo in 1985, closed in 1999, and reopened in 2012 in Brookside, at 128 W. 63rd St.

It will close again, permanently this time, June 30. Owner Forbes Cross is retiring.

“It is with a mixture of gratitude and sadness that we announce the closing of Michael Forbes Grille after 39 wonderful years of serving the Kansas City community,” Cross said in a release. “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved and the legacy we leave behind.”

For Cross, that includes the opening of 14 restaurants in the Kansas City area, such as Parkway 600 and Japengo’s on the Country Club Plaza, Martini’s in Leawood, and Union Cafe at Union Station. (There was also, briefly, a Michael Forbes Grille in Prairie Village, in the early 2000s.)

Jay Fry, bar manager for Michael Forbes Grille in Brookside, in 2020.

Jay Fry, bar manager for Michael Forbes Grille in Brookside, in 2020.

Cross got his start working for Gilbert/Robinson, the KC-based chain of national restaurants that owned Houlihan’s, The Bristol, Annie’s Santa Fe and others. In 1984, he became a general manager at The Bristol.

He opened Michael Forbes Grille the following year near Wornall Road and 75th Street, serving hearty American dishes like chicken fried chicken, pot roast soup, fried catfish and the K.C. Auctioneer (smoked roast beef, shaved ham, cheddar cheese, tomato and barbecue sauce).

Cross said the coming weeks will feature special events and menu items celebrating the restaurant’s history.

“We hope to see many familiar faces as we say goodbye and reflect on nearly four decades of cherished moments,” Cross said.

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