Longtime Joplin restaurant and bar to close its doors

Longtime Joplin restaurant and bar to close its doors
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The Kitchen Pass, a longtime beloved restaurant and bar, which has been in downtown Joplin for nearly 30 years, will close next month.

Owners are hopeful the restaurant’s legacy will live on, as a new restaurant moves in to take its place.

For sisters Christi Eggleston and Cathy Bartlett, saying goodbye to The Kitchen Pass is a farewell to their childhood home.

“It’s probably more our home than our than our real home was,” Bartlett said. “I had a bed in my mom’s office. We were waiting tables way too young.”

Their parents, owners Mike and Marsha Pawlus, opened the restaurant in 1986.

They have acquired many loyal customers since then.

“This is a very special place, and I’m really going to miss it,” said Betty Russell, customer.

“I’ve known the owners, wait staff, the bartenders, so it’s just kind of like being home,” another customer said.

The Pawlus family also owns Wilder’s Steak House next door, which will stay open.

The ByPass and patio area will also remain open for private events.

Without The Kitchen Pass, Mike and Marsha plan to spend more time with their grandchildren.

“They’ll go from 14-hour days to 8-hour days,” Bartlett said.

“Mom and dad deserve to have this time off now,” Eggleston said.

Members of the Kitchen Pass family say they are confident the new building owners will carry on the restaurant’s legacy in a new direction.

“We’re really honored to be going into that building,” said Suzanne Miller, owner of Midtown Pizza Kitchen.

Suzanne and her husband, Jason, own Instant Karma and the Joplin Eagle Drive In.

They will now open Midtown Pizza Kitchen, which they say will have the same Kitchen Pass atmosphere, just different food.

“We’re really excited about it,” Miller said. “We’re going to make all homemade pizza crust, homemade sauce and do some different things with pizza.”

As for The Kitchen Pass, many are truly sad to see it go.

“I think The Kitchen Pass will be very much missed,” said Mindy Crowe, customer.

“It has made us who we are,” Eggleston said. “We would be different people without this place.”

March 7 is the last day The Kitchen Pass will be open.

Midtown Pizza Kitchen is expected to open sometime in April.