MARTIN CITY, Mo. — Martin City is a neighborhood in the southern part of Kansas City, more specifically in the vicinity of 135th and Homles. 

It was unincorporated until it was annexed by Kansas City, Missouri in 1963.

The name “Martin City” came from Edward Lowe Martin, who organized the Kansas City Distilling Company. Martin was also the mayor of Kansas City in the 1870s. 

The Ruskin Heights tornado of May 1957 destroyed most of this neighborhood, including the original location for the popular steakhouse “Jess and Jims”. 

Years went by and after the business was rebuilt, the Martin City area essentially became a pit stop for travelers and foodies alike, according to Jess and Jim’s General Manager Debbie Van Noy. 

“Martin City was known back in the 70s as a restaurant city. There were really only restaurants here. They were all family owned,” Van Noy said. “There was nothing in Belton, nothing in Olathe, nothing in Stanley, no restaurants.” 

Fast forward to the early 2000s when the Martin City Community Improvement District (CID) was born. Led by local business leaders, the goal was to improve attractions and bring general improvements to the area. 

“We try to do everything we can for this small town. It keeps getting better and bigger. From what I hear, there’s a lot more coming to Martin City,” Van Noy said.

Martin City brings a small town feel within the Kansas City limits, with lots to see, eat and drink, making it a great stop for a trip. 

“We all work hard. We’re all here, we want everyone to be happy and we want more and more people to come,” Van Noy said.