Artists Leading Effort to Save Popular YJ's Snack Bar

YJ’s Snack Bar

1746 Washington, Kansas City, MO. 64108

Local singer Erin Keller is working to preserve YJ’s history of being a space for artists of all kinds to collaborate and create.

Local singer Erin Keller is working to preserve YJ’s history of being a space for artists of all kinds to collaborate and create.

“Like no other coffee place in KC. This is the kind of place where the beat poets would have composed their prescient ballads, where socialists and anarchists and communitarians and hippies and gays and pacifists and environmentalists and painters and musicians now come to drink coffee and write ballads of their own.”

That is what we are fighting to save, a significantly rich history of community engagement and creative collaboration.   We as a city need to all come together and vote with our dollars for a community that not only supports the arts and the outliers of our society, but gives them a home.  That’s what YJ’s is to us and so many others: a home where we can get some affordable, healthy, and tasty food and drinks and hear some high quality and often times cutting edge local music , and learn something about our complex world while we are at it.

Erin Keller, local jazz singer, has taken on the role as music representative and will be doing all the booking.  She has a vision of YJs being a lab for musicians to present whatever projects they’re working on a voice and safe creative space in the community, especially jazz musicians.  Erin has reached out to many musicians in town to play “catered rehearsals” for free food and tips.  The response has been overwhelming.  YJ’s is scheduled for a reopening on July 5th for First Friday, and Erin Keller & Kayla Williams are hoping to host a fundraiser for their mission to secure the future of YJ’s.

Many dates in July and a few in August were booked very quickly and requests are still coming in. 

  • Arnold Young and The Roughtet will be hosting a free jazz jam every Sunday night from 6:00pm - 9:00 pm

  • Stephen Martin will be hosting the LiveJazzKC / YJ’s Jam Session on Wednesdays from 6:00 - 9:00 pm starting in August.

  • Erin Keller will be hosting a weekly jazz brunch on Sundays from 10:00am-2:00pm. 

  • July 17th, 2019 features Matt Otto, Ben Tevort, and Brian Steever

While there isn’t the money to pay Musicians right now, Erin Keller and Kayla Williams are committed to working toward paying musicians what they deserve for their hard work. It will take some time to get going, but it is definitely a priority.

If our crowdfunding is successful, jazz musicians all over town will have a home in a place with a rich history of being a home for jazz musicians since 1927.  All of our artistic and music Kansas City exports to the international community, cut their chops at YJs.  If we want to really be a UNESCO World Heritage Sight that honors the musical history and musicians of this beautiful city, we must reopen YJ’s as it is a vital historically significant catalyst in the community encouraging and allowing the space for experimentation and the evolution of jazz.


We all know small business owners have to work very hard to keep their businesses open year after year. We believe that the fact that this one has had such a long run says a lot about the true value it brings to the table. But, without the support of the community there is no way we will keep the doors open for even a month. So we want to make sure that we make this decision together. That’s why we’ve decided to crowdfund it, so that people can vote with their dollars to give YJs another chance under new leadership in the form of a female collective, including Erin Keller and Kayla Williams.  Please donate and support our vision as we take YJ’s for another ride, this time into the 21st century and with dynamic female leadership. 

Go HERE to learn everything you need to know about the bright future we have the opportunity to create at YJ’s. 

And, if you feel you have something to contribute (we need a house jazz drum kit) to this vision, feel free to email Erin Keller at  Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this matter.