Dine-in or Carry-out • Full-Service Catering Available
Phone 816-630-7700
646 S. Kansas City Ave., Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
Open Sun.-Thurs 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. • Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
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Kansas City award
winning BBQ

Wabash BBQ has accomplished award-winning ribs and chicken, smoked meats, live blues bands and 20 years of service to the Excelsior Springs community

Cheri McCullough and Mitch Dickey received the Entrepreneur All Star award from the Kauffman Foundation during Entrepreneur Day a few years ago.

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History of the Wabash Railway Station

The Wabash Railway Station, constructed in 1927, is a red brick railway station constructed in the Mission-style. The interior features brick walls, and a light and dark patterened terrazzo tile floor with brass strips. The plastered ceiling in the passenger waiting area features plaster beams and ornate brackets. The first floor of the main section contains the original waiting room, restrooms, office with ticket window and baggage room. This area is used as a non-smoking restaurant area. The addition, from when it housed The Dairy, has four rooms and is used as a bar and restaurant area.

The station was built on the original site of the old barn of the Excelsior Springs Riding Academy, which was razed in May, 1927. On Nov. 7, 1927, W.A. Greenland of Moberly, division superintendent of the Wabash, S.N. Crowe of Moberly, division engineer, and R.E. Mohr of St. Louis, chief architect, inspected the newly completed station. E.L. Lutz, inspector for the Wabash supervised the construction. The Wabash line, 8.7 miles in length, was known as a branch line and connected Excelsior Springs directly with St. Louis, Buffalo and New York City. Lutz employed a landscape gardener who sodded the parking around the station with blue grass sod and an Armor River private hedge around the station grounds. A second track was laid adjacent to the station for private cars belonging to railway officials. However, the highway system was soon efficient enough to draw riders from the Wabash line. On Sept. 9, 1933, the last run of the Wabash came into Excelsior Springs. After arriving shortly after 4 p.m., the station furniture and supplies were loaded, and the train returned over the line to Moberly. "With the passing of the branch line, which had much to do with the development of the country and the spread of civilization, some of the romance of the early american transportation history will be lost. The penalty of progress is the loss of old things, which have been superseded by changing conditions," declared one Excelsior Springs news article.

The restaurant signboard still remains "The Dairy - We Serve U.S. Government Inspected Beef; Shakes 25-cents; Hamburgers 25-cents" in what is now the bar area of the Wabash BBQ. Pictured above from left, Shanna Dobbs, Richard Ballard and Brad Johnson.

The Quality Milk Company, owned by the Leonard Johnson family of Excelsior Springs, found a use for the building in the late 1930's, by expanding Excelsior Springs' only industry which manufactured farm products of the area (in this case dairy items) at the time. An eating establishment was formed in the old depot building and a new addition to the south side gave room for the industrial side of the business. Eventually the restaurant was closed and only the industry side of the dairy continued. The company and building was sold to the Mid-America Dairy Association, which operated until 1985, when the building was vacated.

In April, 1990, local residents Kevin and Sonya Morgan purchased the building for their printing company. In February, 1992, the Morgans sold their printing company to Hiram Jones and he operated there until February, 1996, when he moved the business, again leaving the building vacant.

In February of 1997, the vacant building was purchased and remodeling began for operation of a restaurant. Today, lifetime residents, Jim and Cheri McCullough, along with Mitch and Malinda Dickey, own and operate Wabash BBQ. Alterations to the building have been kept to a minimum, with respect for its history. The building retains a high degree of architectural integrity and it is a good example of a Mission-style station with Craftsman influences. The restaurant is located in the Elms Hotel Historic District and is considered eligible for individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Excelsior Springs
August 19-20, 2022
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