It’s back! Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q re-opens on Route 66

New Missouri Hickory Bar-B-Q kitchen

Dennis Meiser and his Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q is cooking again in their new expanded kitchen.

Cuba, Missouri: On Sunday morning August 28, rumors spread Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q on Route 66 had suffered a middle-of -the-night blaze. Soon it was confirmed, and the news was that there was significant damage and the popular eatery would close for cleaning and construction of a new kitchen. Travelers and locals alike decried the loss of MO Hick’s smoked meats and tangy sauces. During the closing, cars would pull into the lot although a large, red lettered sign said “Closed due to Fire.” They would stare at the building like it might magically reopen. Disappointment was evident on their faces.

Owner Dennis Meiser is now ready to re-open Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q and show diners that it is back better than ever. Outwardly, the restaurant looks much the same, but two areas stand out with their improvements. Meiser’s new kitchen area is about 500 feet larger than what he had before with beautiful stainless cooking and serving areas.  A new double-door smoker is in place to create the meats that his customers love. And Dennis has a snazzy new office just off the kitchen area.

Dennis Meiser and his smoker

Meiser stands by the new smoker that turns out his delectable meats that coupled with his sauces bring repeat customers

MO Hick dining area

The dining area, while throughly cleaned, remains much the same in appearance.

The quick service at MO Hick, as it is known locally, should remain unchanged. “We continued to pay our workers while we were shut down. They helped with cleanup and other work to be done, ” Meiser stated today.  Now, he starts back with his experienced staff in his upgraded facilities. The MO Hick Chicks, as the waitresses are called, are ready to take orders.The kitchen staff steps lightly along the new cooking line. The display case is filled with new stacks of T-shirts for sale, and the wrapped cookies set beside the register. Meats are smoking in the new smokers. A new guest book rests beside the door.

However, one more area where Meiser made improvements is on the front porch. Aware of the history of Route 66, which runs in front of the restaurant, Meiser commissioned local artist John Bland to paint a Route 66 mural that features Route 66 through the eight states that it covers. Bland also designed the Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair at the Fanning 66 Outpost General Store and painted the mural that is on the side of the Outpost. With his painting on the porch of Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q, the restaurant takes its place in Cuba’s “Route 66 Mural City,” as the town was designated by the Missouri legislature because of its extensive mural project.

Mo Hick BBQ Route 66 Mural

MO Hick’s new mural by artist John Bland pays homage to Route 66 that runs in front of the restaurant.

Welcome back MO Hick. Customers from around the world have been waiting to hear about this Missouri landmark. And locals are ready for their MO Hick fix. Tonight is the soft opening, and tomorrow October 25th is the official re-opening. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook.

MO Hick BBQ Cuba, Missouri

The familiar rustic building is ready to re-open its doors to customers. Here, a table blocks the main entrance while the mural is taking shape.

To read the original blog about the fire click here.

Update (October, 2015): MO Hick just built a covered, outdoor pavilion in its signature rustic style for extra seating. Besides its own sauces, MH now has its own beers. Success breeds success at MO Hick Bar B Que. Missouri Hick continues to win the Best BBQ designation from the Rural Missouri Magazine. Missouri Hick originally opened on February 12, 2002.


Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q also caters, and their number is 573-885-6791.







Cuba Fest Cemetery Tour provides echoes from the past

Trolley Cuba, Missouri

The Trolley ferried people from Recklein Commons to Kinder Cemetery where characters’ from Cuba’s past shared their stories.

Cuba, Missouri: Viva Cuba sponsored the 2011 Cemetery Tour that brought characters from the town’s past to share their stories. Trolley riders boarded at the Recklein Commons area and rode to Kinder Cemetery, on the west edge of Cuba where they heard echoes from the past.  Colorful characters, some humorous, some sad, boarded the trolley and told their tales to a new generation.

Barb Stogsdill/Pearl Giles

Viva Cuba member Barb Stogesdill gave tourers an overview of the tour and also played Crawford County Sheriff Pearl Giles.

Barb Stogesdill, retired Cuba teacher played the part of  Pearl Giles, who was sheriff to Crawford County. Both her husband Rollen and son were sheriff, so law enforcement was a family legacy. When Rollen Giles passed away in 1956 at the age of 60 with nine months left in office, the governor appointmented his wife to take his place. Her son said, “She handled a lot of problems, but she didn’t have any problems” referring to his mother’s calmness while in office. Mrs. Giles chose not to run for office herself because she did not think it was a lady’s job even though she knew how to handle a shotgun. Five years after she chose not to run, her son Johnny returned from WW II, ran for sheriff, and won. Pearl Giles died in 1985.

Popular history teacher Gary Durbin gave a colorful account of the life of Union Soldier Abraham Canary.

History teacher Gary Durbin held the crowd captivated by his account of Abraham Canary, who was born in 1842. At 19, he volunteered to join the 7th Indiana Infantry. He was part of the Union invasion that was repulsed by Stonewall Jackson‘s Shenandaoh Valley Campaign. He also fought in the Battle of Antietam, a bloody one-day battle that killed 28,000. In 1863 he was in the Battle of Chancellorsville, where Stonewall Jackson died. He also fought at Gettysburg. In 1864, he was part of Ulysses S. Grant’s Wilderness Campaign, and was captured, and was sent to the prison at Andersonville, Georgia. After the war and living in Kansas for awhile, he moved to Cuba in the 1880s. He was a carpenter and was Cuba’s first lamplighter. He died in 1906.

Dan Eidson/John Brock

The character John Brock might be called a bamboozler by some. He faked his own death to collect insurance.

Dan Eidson played the character of John A. Brock, who according to a 1915 newspaper account, died when he rushed into his burning barn to save the livestock and some harnesses. According to his son, the barn collapsed on his father. Although his remains were never collected, his false teeth, a watch, suspenders, some bones, and some coins were found. However, the account was not accurate, and Mr. Brock re-appeared when he saw his family suffering. His family was so glad to see him that they agreed to help him in his deception on the community. Brock hid in the attic and witnessed his own funeral. He was said to have walked on the family farm dressed as a woman wearing a bonnet. Later, the family left for Colorado. A recently purchased life insurance policy was the motive for his shenanigans. Based on suspicions from the community and the insurance company, Mr. Brock, who was a Sunday School Superintendent and Mason, was later arrested,  brought back to Cuba, and held for questioning. He returned most of the money and was given parole for a prison term. Later, Brock died in an automobile accident in California. Thus, we find our actor wearing woman’s clothing and describing the hoax with both humor and thoughtfulness.

Sue Ryle/Hazel Dopheide

Teacher Sue Ryle played Hazel Dopheide, a dramatic reader who made her mark on Cuba.

With a lot of flair, another Cuba High School teacher Sue Ryle played Hazel Dopheide, a dramatic reader on the Chatauqua Circuit. In Chicago, she also played radio roles. She had roles in Gasoline Alley, Little House on the Prairie, and others. She was best known for her role in Lil Abner, when she played the role of Mammy Yokum. After a time in LA and work in movies and TV, she moved to Cuba to be near her sister Irma and her good friend Audrey Ove, a Cuba musician.  All three purchased cemetery plots together in Kinder Cemetery. She undoubtedly added to Cuba’s cultural scene.

Rachel Chaudrey/Olivete Fox  Brandon Harness/Chester Fox

Olivet and Chester Fox were billed as Fox and Fox when they performed in vaudeville.

Rachael Chaudhry and Brandon Harness brought youthful enthusiasm to their portrayals of Olivet and Chester Fox, a vaudeville team that later learned to love the natural wonders of Crawford County. Although they played the Palace in New York as Fox and Fox, they retired from the traveling life, to buy a farm on Hwy. PP. Then had two children Don and Betty and wanted a normal life for them. They went into business at the Cuba Grain and Feed with Olivet’s brother. They wanted to share the rivers and woods of the area with others, so they bought some land along the river on Hwy. KK. In the early 1920s, they decided to build Fox Springs Lodge on the property that that had many natural springs. They offered home cooked meals, a little entertainment, and the beautiful Ozarks. They ran the lodge in the summer and went to Florida in the winter. Chester was killed in an accident in Texas in 1931. Olivet ran the lodge until 1944 when she sold it to the Millers. She passed away in 1962. Fox Springs Lodge is still in existence and continues to host visitors to enjoy the natural wonders of the Ozarks.

Brad Austin/Ralph Fishwick

Local hero Ralph Fishwick, played by Brad Austin, was killed during WW II. His face is pictured on the Gold Star Boys Mural.

Local bank employee Brad Austin enlivened the roll of Ralph Fishwick, WW II naval hero from Cuba, who is portrayed in the Gold Star Boys mural. Ralph Fishwick lost his life during WW II, but that’s not all of the story. The facts stated that he had lost his life in the line of duty on convoy off the coast of Africa in 1942. However, about twenty years ago his family learned that he was killed in a convoy off the East Coast of the US by a mine or possible German sub. The information was in some declassified papers that his niece had requested. The facts were changed at the time so that Americans would not know that German presence was so close to their homeland. Fishwick’s body, along with 14 others, was discovered on May 8, 1943. Because of the cold water, the bodies were perfectly preserved. Fishwick was brought back for burial in the Kinder Cemetery along with other members of the family. The Gold Star Medal was awarded to the families of young men who lost their lives in WW II.

Now, you can view Ralph Fishwick’s image in the Gold Star Boys mural with a little more knowledge because you know “the rest of the story.”

Gold Star Mural Cuba, Missouri

Ralph Fishwick is the last face on the right in the Gold Star Boys mural. Fishwick wore glasses and had to do special eye exercises to be allowed to join the service. His family received the Gold Star Medal when he was killed in the line of duty.

Jim Cape/Conrad Packard

Local businessman Jim Cape played  H. Conrad Packard who came from a rather colorful background to become Chairman of the World Oil Institute.

H. Conrad Packard, played by businessman Jim Cape, was born in 1909.  His mother died at his birth, and his father was a gambler, owned a bawdy house and saloon, and was an oil wildcatter. Packard was sent off to military school that provided a stability that his home life wouldn’t have offered him. After military school, he worked in the oil fields, and using his intelligence and ambition, ended up working in the headquarters of the Shell Oil headquarters in New York City. Later, he became chairman of the World Oil Institute. Many decisions that would affect the world’s oil industry were made from his secluded farm Oakmoor outside of Cuba, Missouri, where he and his wife lived.

This year’s Echoes from the Past Cemetery Tour shows that Cuba’s history is as rich and colorful as many larger cities. Through its citizens, Cuba was touched by national events and trends.

Packard Monument

Gone but not Forgotten

Viva Cuba would like to thank all the area citizens who took parts for the cemetery tour, loaned costumes, and helped with research. We also appreciate those who took the time to take the tour.


Harvest and Halloween at Cuba businesses

Halloween at Huddle House Cuba Missouri

Huddle House showed its Halloween spirit inside and out. These Halloween table decorations caught our eye. on a recent visit.

Halloween and Harvest in the Route 66 Mural City

Cuba, Missouri: We are a supporter of the Shop Local idea, and we also like it when our Cuba businesses take the initiative to stand out and create a welcoming appearance. Whether it was Halloween or Harvest decor, these business locations caught our eye this week.

Victorian Manor Assisted Living

Cuba Missouri Victorian Manor

Victorian Manor Assisted Living went all out to display a welcoming entrance at their building. Cornstalks, straw bales, flowers, and more made a colorful display for residents and visitors.

American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance Cuba, Missouri

American Family Insurance used a pumpkin and some fall flowers to brighten up Franklin Street.

Hayes Shoe Store

Hayes Shoe Store Cuba, Missouri

Hayes Shoe Store on Washington/Route 66 used a jack o lantern, some straw, and and the Sock Monkeys with Cardinal hats to draw the eye to their display windows.

A Lasting Impression

A Lasting Impression on East Washington

A Lasting Impression on E. Washington used an eye for design to create a festive appearance.

Connie’s Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel Motel

Connie's Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel Motel

Connie's Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel Motel used wreaths and other harvest decorations to make the entrance attractive. The Wagon Wheel Motel is the oldest motel on Route 66.

Wallace House

Wallace House Cuba, Missouri

The historic Wallace House venue gets the prize for the largest pumpkin. The Wallace House can be rented for special events.

Mobil On the Run Station

Mobil On the Run Cuba, Missouri

Cuba's Mobil also got on board for some seasonal decor.

 Huddle House

Huddle House Cuba, Missouri

Huddle House had the traditional straw, flowers, and scarecrows. However, the restaurant also had hand-painted scenes on the windows. We were told that a 3rd shift cook and his girlfriend put in the time to create the spooky scenes. Huddle House also had numerous decorations on the inside.


Plants-R-Us Cuba, Missouri

Palnts-R-Us on Highway DD probably wins the prize (if there was one) for the most seasonal decorations. Of course, they may have an advantage since at this time of year their inventory is bursting with pumpkins, straw, and mums.

Pumpkins and mums seem to brighten up the landscape in front of businesses. Viva Cuba added a circle of yellow mums to the Viva Cuba Garden to make the corner a little more welcoming for the fall. If we have missed your business’s holiday decorations, send us a good photo, and we will post it.


Blasting away at Cuba’s Veterans Memorial

Cuba, Missouri adding names to memorial

The story of the Veterans Memorial in Cuba, Missouri continues each time that names are added.

The Veterans Memorial on N. Smith Street in Cuba, Missouri was erected in 2008 in time for a Veterans Day dedication. The story of the two brothers Phil and W.D. Mullen whose dedication to their brother Cliff  sparked the creation of the memorial can be read here. It’s a powerful story. Each Veterans Day since then, the community gathers to honor all our veterans who have fought in foreign wars.

However, the story is not over. It was part of the Mullen brothers plan for the memorial that names could be added later.  They knew names might be overlooked when the monument was inscribed. It was their drive to include all veterans that fueled the project in the first place

Today, October 7, 2011, while on N. Smith Street, I ran across the process where names are added to the memorial. A few photos will show part of  the process. Stencils are put in place, and then the sandblasting occurs. The gentleman Michael Petty from Desloge who was doing the work on this day, said it was the first time that he had worked on the memorial as the previous inscriber had retired.

Today, eight names were being added. A conversation with Phil Mullen said that there had been 973 names on the memorial initially. There are over 1000 names now , and names have been added four times. Anyone  who knows of names that need to be added can talk to Phil or W.D. Mullen in Cuba or go through the Crawford County Foundation.  Donations are still taken for the maintenance of the memorial.

Next month on Veterans Day, attend the ceremony at the memorial that honors our troops, then and now. You will find the Mullens brothers there.

Cuba, Missouri Memorial

A stencil and masking is put in place prior to sandblasting.

Cuba, Missouri Veterans Memorial

All the names are prepared prior to sandblasting

Veterans Memorial Cuba Missouri

The story is not over for Cuba's Veterans Memorial. Names are still being added.

Cemetery Lettering

This trailer holds all the equipment necessary to add names to the memorial.

Route 66 Cuba Fest is the place to be on October 15-16 See update below

Cuba, Mo Recklein Commons area

The peaceful Recklein Commons area on N. Smith Street will be transformed during Cuba Fest.

Update: the Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012 is on October 20-21.

It’s a quiet and peaceful scene now on N. Smith Street in the historic Recklein Commons area. But on Saturday and Sunday October 15-16, the area will be transformed with tents, stands, activities, music, a trolley, and a lot of fun. The saying “It takes a village” is certainly true as it takes many organizations and groups to make the annual Cuba Fest a successful event. Each year the Tri-C organization coordinates the fun. Cuba Fest runs from 9 am to 4 pm each day with various events taking place.

The kickoff to Saturday will be the 9:00 am 5K Mural City Run sponsored by the All Aboard Learning Center that will wind past some of the Route 66 Mural City’s12 outdoor murals along Route 66 and the historic district.

The Tri-C ladies wil be building the fire under the copper kettle to turn out another batch of their famous apple butter.

Artists and crafters will be unloading and setting up their booths to showcase their wares.

Crafters and artists at Cuba Fest

Crafters and artists fill Recklein Auditorium. Various venders can be found outside.

Viva Cuba’s Chili Cooks will don their aprons for another year of great chili offerings from 11:00-1:00 on Saturday. For $3.00, you can taste some of the Chili to Curl up and Dye for because this year some of Cuba’s beauticians and a barber are preparing their best chili for the contest. Come by and vote for your favorite.

Chili Cook-Off 1010 Cuba Mo

Last year, Cuba's mechanics prepared some Nuts & Bolts chili.

Or the Taste of Cuba will allow you to taste some of the offerings of Cuba area restaurants. The Methodist members will serve their annual Turkey Dinners inside Recklein Auditorium along with their tasty pies.

Methodist Ladies at Cuba Fest

Last year the Methodist Ladies turned out many turkey dinners and some wonderful pies.

Taste of Cuba 2010

Taste of Cuba offers food from the Cuba area to tempt you.

The Arts Council will man the Wine tent if you would like to taste area wines in your custom painted glass by council members.  The Crawford County Historical Society Museum will be open on both Saturday and Sunday, so make it a priority, especially if you have never visited their many exhibits and artifacts.

On Saturday starting at 11:30 Viva Cuba’s free, narrated trolley tours of the murals take place. Every mural has a story to tell. Get aboard early for these popular tours.

Cuba, MO Trolley Mural tours

Saturday's mural tours are a popular activity.

And on Sunday at 11:30 am the trolley begins tours to Kinder Cemetery on the West edge of town where historical figures from Cuba’s past will climb aboard to tell you their story.  Cemetery tours are also free. Here’s a preview of this year’s characters:

*His father was a gambler and ran a bawdy house and saloon. He made major decisions in the oil industry.

*He was one of Cuba’s WWII Gold Star Boys who lost his life in Africa.

*She was a dramatic reader on the Chatauqua circuit and played the role of Mammy Yocum on Lil Abner.

*He faked his death in a barn fire and then hid on the family farm.

*He was a Civil War veteran and was imprisoned in the infamous Andersonville Prisoner-of-War Camp in Georgia.

*She was the sheriff of Crawford County.

*They performed in vaudeville and later ran a resort in the Cuba area.

Historical figures form 2010 Cemetery tour

During Sunday's Cemetery Tour historical figures from Cuba's past share their stories with trolley riders.

Cemetery Tour 2010 Cuba Fest

Historical figures board the trolley to tell their stories and offer a slice of Cuba's past.

Junction 19 provides live music on Saturday, and the Cuba High School Band and Drill Team on Sunday will also set some toes tapping. Other musical events will take place.

2010 CHS Drill Team Cuba, MO

Cuba's drill team and band wowed the crowd in 2010.

Event organizers have activities planned for the kids as well, so the whole family can attend Cuba Fest for fun and frolic. Other groups will have informational and fund raising booths to make the fun pay off for some worthy causes. There will also be a petting zoo, a children’s play area, a kids costume parade, a flag ceremony, and more. See the time table of events below.

There’s something for everyone at the 2011 Cuba Fest on October 15-16. Don’t miss out.

Bull dog Cuba Fest

There's something for everyone at Cuba Fest.


Cuba Fest 2011 time table

Tri-C provided this time table of events.

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