Ray Lamar hasn't spent decades perfecting his donuts. In fact, his namesake shops still use the same recipes that Ray developed in 1933—at the age of 17—when he got his first job working a donut fryer. World War II and a postwar career as a stockbroker interrupted Ray's donut-making pursuits, although he returned to his roots in 1960 when he founded the first LaMar's Donuts.
The shop went on to become a Kansas City icon, with crowds arriving well before 6 a.m. to line up outside the doors and taunt the roosters for sleeping in. Ray and his wife, Shannon, eventually decided to expand their business into a regional empire, and LaMar's Donuts currently boasts 27 franchised stores spread across six states.
Even with all of this growth, decades-old traditions still dictate how things are done. The workers prepare more than 75 different kinds of donuts, hand-making fresh batches of perennial favorites as well as recent inventions each and every morning. In addition to the original glazed creation that dates back to 1933, the menus can feature a variety of cake donuts with flavors such as red velvet, apple spice, and maple.
Since donuts and coffee go together as naturally as paper shredders and subpar report cards, the stores also prepare cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks. These are all made with handpicked beans that slowly roast inside Italian brick ovens.
For more than 60 years, Zeke's Paint & Design Centers have been outfitting do-it-yourselfers with the paints and tools they need to give their homes chromatic makeovers. Zeke's preferred brand of paint, Benjamin Moore, can be mixed to perfectly match the preexisting colors on walls or breathe new life into boring pieces of Renaissance artwork. The store's commitment to professional-grade products doesn't stop at paint; finely bristled brushes, rollers, and supplies from brands such as Purdy and Corona ensure even coats and minimize the need for later touchups. Resident experts share helpful tips for do-it-yourself projects and can even point visitors in the direction of trusted professionals for more complex jobs, such as re-creating The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of a dog's house.
A swarm of sock-footed kids climb up inflatable steps to reach the top of a rainbow-colored slide, sliding down in an orderly fashion before bouncing off and running back for another go. At Jumping Jax, children can safely expend energy with abandon, playing in air-filled structures that cushion them when they fall or work together to stage a production of the Icarus myth. The play arena sports a multitude of attractions including a bounce house with a Twister-board floor and two low-hanging ziplines.
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