The Flea has hosted many visitors over the years but it’s always been an exceptional honor for The Flea to host “his Honor” the Mayor of Kansas City. Or we should we say, “His Honors” – as the Westport Flea Market seems to be a favorite of multiple past Kansas City Mayors!
It all began with Charles Wheeler, who was Kansas City’s 49th Mayor and served two terms from 1971-1979. Mayor Wheeler earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas, his law degree from UMKC, served in both the Navy and Air Force and was elected as Missouri State Senator in 2002. During his two consecutive terms as Mayor of Kansas City, Dr. Wheeler was responsible for so many great achievements that Kansas City business magazine Ingram’s noted that “many regard this as the last golden age of Kansas City.” Wheeler has been coming to The Flea for over 20 years – and not only has an airport named after him (Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport), he even has a table (with a plaque) named after him at The Flea! Born and raised here in KC, maybe it’sonly natural for Kansas City’s best burger to be his Honor’s favorite!
Another fan of The Flea is past Mayor Dick Berkley, who served as Kansas City’s mayor from 1979 to1991, making him the longest serving mayor in Kansas City history! During his time as mayor, he was responsible for over 700 capital improvement projects – including the expansion of Bartle Hall Convention Center and the revitalization of the Quality Hill neighborhood. On a signed photo of he and his wife Sandy hanging on a wall at The Flea, Mayor Berkley exclaims: “Great burgers – great friends – great for Kansas City!” We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Mayor!
Mark Funkhouser was Kansas City’s 53rd Mayor, serving from 2007-2011. Prior to being elected, Mr. Funkhouser received multiple degrees, including his PhD from UMKC, and was also Kansas City’s auditor for 18 years. His motto was, “A city that works for regular folks.” In 2008, Mayor Funkhouser attended the Grand Opening of The Flea’s Buffalo Room – we even have photos and a personal letter from his Honor in that room to this day!
Kansas City’s current mayor, Sylvester James, has also been a visitor to The Flea! Mayor Sly grew up on the East side of Kansas City, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Kansas City’s own Rockhurst College, then earned his Juris Doctor degree from Minnesota Law School.
Since his election in 2011, Mayor James has focused his efforts on making Kansas City best in 4 areas: education, employment, efficiency and enforcement. Mayor Sly has even made an appearance at the Kansas City Tiger Club – a weekly luncheon for Mizzou alumni hosted at the Flea each and every Tuesday at 11:30.
The Westport Flea Market is Kansas City’s quirky, funky, 30+ year old local-dining institution – and there is a lot of nostalgia and local history that comes along with that. Next time you’re having Kansas City’s best burger at The Flea, be sure to stop by to say hi to Mayor Wheeler – he visits most every day – and check out the photos on the wall of other past mayors and dignitaries we’ve been honored to serve. You just never know who you’ll see at The Flea!