After more than 40 years behind the stick at The American Restaurant in Kansas City, MO, Willie Grandison is orchestrating his last call on July 1. He’s tended bar there since the day The American opened in 1974 and is the only original staff member.
Before that, Grandison bartended at an upscale Kansas City restaurant called Putsch’s 210 for 18 years; he also did a stint at another spot named the Strawberry Patch. But The American has been Grandison’s Bar during the past four decades.
Grandison, a father of five, was named Best Bartender in the Country by Cheers and Playboy magazine. He became known for his signature cocktails such as “The Stinging Bee,” a rum-based drink for which he won an award in 1999, and “The Stoli Pickled Brussels Sprout Martini.”Grandison has never revealed his secret signature drink recipes, so perhaps they are retiring with him. He–and his cocktails–will be greatly missed from the Kansas City drinks scene.