‘Iconic’ Johnson Drive sign that now bears Snack Shack name granted historic designation

Snack Shack sign on Johnson Drive

The sign outside of The Snack Shack on Johnson Drive is officially considered historically significant, following a Mission planning commission decision. File photo.

The Mission Planning Commission has approved The Snack Shack on Johnson Drive’s request to grant the diner’s decades-old sign a designation of historic significance.

Why it matters: The approval essentially amounts to bragging rights for one of downtown Mission’s newest businesses and ensures Snack Shack can continue using the sign, which previously carried the name of Town Topic.

  • The Snack Shack moved from its well-known spot in downtown Overland Park earlier this year and is continuing a tradition that dates back to at least the 1960s of operating a classic diner at 6018 Johnson Drive.
Town Topic building in Mission
The historic sign when Town Topic occupied the space. File photo.

The history: Originally, the diner site started out as a Wichita-based Valentine Diner. There’s a historical structure plaque inside the restaurant to prove it, according to city documents.

  • The site was  then a Whopper Burger, starting no later than 1968, and Town Topic purchased it in 1985. Town Topic closed in 2020.
  • Scott Sparks, Town Topic owner, confirmed with Snack Shack that the sign was included as part of the restaurant’s purchase, according to city documents.
  • The 20-foot sign is referred to as “an iconic way finder in Mission for decades,” in city documents.

Snack Shack’s request: Given the decades of history as a burger joint, Snack Shack put in an application for a sign of historic significance designation with the city.

  • Snack Shack is able to use the sign from here on out as a result of the planning commission’s approval but will still need to complete and secure a sign permit from the city.

Key quote: “Snack Shack continues to offer a nostalgic vibe that fits nicely within Mission’s unique culture,” owner Rayna Andrew-Tolle wrote in the historic signage application. “It is the eclectic look and feel of the downtown Johnson Drive corridor that brings people here to enjoy the city of Mission.”