Glazer: Tragic Tale of Hereford House Owner Rod Anderson

I know most people will not feel sorry for Rod Anderson

The longtime Hereford House owner was convicted yesterday of arson, conspiring to burn down the iconic downtown steakhouse in October of 2008. The jury decided that Rod hired two men to do the arson, while he was out of town.

All in order to collect over $2 million in insurance money.

Rod was broke, his restaurant – once a Kansas City landmark – had long been failing. The Hereford House on 20th street in the Crossroads District was simply way past its prime.

Anderson had tried several other locations including in Johnson County, The Union Station, Lawrence – and even Westport a few years back. His face graced many an ad in magazines, newspapers and online. Always in a clean white shirt, tie and smiling, Rod seemed the perfect host, boasting one of KC’s finest steak outings.

I met Rod in Westport many years ago.

He was pleasant and seemed to be a hard working, sharp guy. Likable to say the least. So I was quite sad to see this once honored restauranter end up going to prison.

For many people who read about it in the newspaper or heard it on television news, it’s just another odd crime committed by a well known local name. His resume for being a community player is nearly endless – he was even RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR in 1997 and he won a the Hotel and Motel Association of Greater Kansas City awarded him its Hospitality Leadershiper award in 2001. His employees speak highly of him as being giving and fair – a hard working owner.

What did Rod in was simply time. 

It got by him and many others who are independent restaurant or nightclub owners today. Nearly all the big names are corporate today. The local little guy has a steep hill to climb. Most privately owned food joints last only 2-5 years, nightclubs far less.

Like my dad used to say, ” In this business you won’t find too many guys living in Hallbrook.”

The overhead today is just too high, the competition so tough from the big boys and on top of all that people staying home more and more.

I can relate to the nightmare Rod went through for four years waiting to hear that guilty verdict.

I’ve lived it myself. The sleepless nights, the “Why did I even think about doing that?’ – the pain you handed to your family. It’s  a living hell.

Now part two starts: Prison…when will I get out?  Who will be waiting for me? What will I do in the future having been locked up all those years. The worst part of it is that Rod will be in his late senior years when that happens. Today he’s 59.

Of course you’re thinking, “Hey he got what he deserved. And I understand your feelings. I also look at the real damage. In the end, like too many high profile non violent crimes, the only one truly injured is the person who made the bad decision. Sure in a fire someone can get hurt – nobody did in this case – just the men going to prison.

We live in terrible economic times and Anderson is yet another victim of those times.

He made a horrible decision, a very bad move. He never got a dime, he had to take bankruptcy for everything he had.

What he did was wrong, no question. Sometimes, and I hope the court does this, you have to take into consideration the rest of the person’s life, the good he did for so many others. A man who was losing everything he’d worked so hard to build, got desperate and did a stupid thing.

Again, Rod and I were not friends, I didn’t know him well. But I know enough to feel badly for him and his family. All he’s thinking about today is, “If I could just turn back time.

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27 Responses to Glazer: Tragic Tale of Hereford House Owner Rod Anderson

  1. Reggin Tnuc says:

    Had Mr. Anderson simply confessed when first accused and confronted the outcome might be different. Bad legal advice is the first thing that comes to mind. Much taxpayer money and resources were spent adjudicating this case. Perhaps with good behavior he could get out in 5 to 7 years. He will have much time to contemplate his future. I am sure he could find employment in the hospitality industry as a manager of a fine dining establishment, like a Ruth’s Chris.

    As for your claims that small operators can’t make it in the restaurant business I will not embarrass you with facts that you could have researched yourself.

    • Hot Carl says:

      Glaze never lets facts get in the way of his dimwitted stories.

      • Super Dave says:

        Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.

  2. Jim says:

    I’ll never understand why ANYONE makes a decision to commit a felony in the name of money. Whether it’s killing a spouse or torching a business, that decision is so myopic. What about your family and your loved ones? Wouldn’t they rather you be broke, free and living with them as opposed to being a felon, broke and in prison? Anyone that lets money dictate their morality or compromise their integrity is already spiritually bankrupt.

    Arson a “non-violent” crime? The fact that nobody was seriously injured is a wee bit of hindsight, don’t you think? Every time a firefighter responds to a call, they are putting themselves and their lives at risk. The fact that a first responder DIDN’T get hurt is moot.

    • Craig Glazer says:

      Yes I understand both your points. Well taken. By the way few small restaurant places work out, national numbers show less than one of ten…not good odds. However some do…Jaspers has had a nice long run, as has McCoys in Westport, Stuart Salomon had some good runs with nightclubs and so did we…it is rare though. Again not an excuse to burn your place down, no.

      • harley says:

        glaze…sorry wrong again..
        theres lots of local restuarant people whomade good…
        d bronx owners…ollie gates…hayward spears…
        fiorellas….cascones….garozzas….nick and jakes…
        810 group…..talk of the town…tanners….
        savoy grill….
        you made a wrong wrong statement. The local people
        can make good with a good product.
        and if they pay their bills to their suppliers unlike some
        people we know!!!!!!!!!!!
        many many successful restaurant people in this town..
        jj’s…mirables….tasso family…..
        nigros…..pizzza shoppe….mr .goodcents..
        where did you get this ridiculous notion that local
        restuarant people don’t make it??????????????????????

        • expat says:

          Yeah I’d be interested where he learned that “fact” as well. I’ve been working on a feasibility study for a restaurant and the evidence seems to contradict what Craig is saying.

        • admin says:

          Hold it, Mr. H…

          Let’s examine your list a little more closely. D’Bronx, yes, but only after they blew taps in Corporate Woods and fled to 39th Street. But that’s nearly 20 years ago.
          Gates? Of course but that business is like 50 years old or more. Hayward Spears? Better do your homework on how well is(not) doing lately. And I’m talking about the last, oh, 10 years.
          Jack Fiorella, true but that’s a second generation going on third success story and barbecue in the bbq town.
          Garozzo has done well but he’s also had some major misses.
          The 810 guys? What. they’re batting maybe .500 (and this ain’t baseball).
          Savoy Grill? Are you kidding? Do you remember the last review Lauren Chapin wrote about them before she died? How uncertain their future is with the up and down news about future plans?
          Yeah, you can name off plenty of institutions, but for every one you can name there are probably a dozen or four that didn’t make it – that nobody can even remember the names of. How about Anderson’s Muldoons in Westport?

          Craig never said nobody local makes it. He said it’s a tough game and staying alive once you make it is just as hard or harder.

          • expat says:

            Craig said “national numbers show less than one of ten”. The failure rate for the first three years seems to be somewhere between 60-80%, research backs this up. Just google it.

            http://www.whitehutchinson.com/blog/2011/02/the-truth-about-restaurant-failure-rates/

            “The key finding of the qualitative study was that a successful restaurant requires focus on a clear concept that drives all activities. Concept is different than strategy. Whether or not operators had elaborate strategic plans was not a determining factor for success, but clarity of concept was. Successful restaurant owners all had a well-defined concept that not only provided a food product, but also included an operating philosophy, which encompassed business operations as well as employee and customer relations. Failed restaurant owners, when asked about their concept, discussed only the food product. The researchers concluded it was obvious from the interviews that food quality does not guarantee success; the concept must be well defined beyond the type of food served.”

          • harley says:

            sorry hearne wrong again…there are plenty of
            restauarnts that have done well.
            kc hops…500? are you nuts…that figure is
            way off…name the ones that didn’t make it…
            another false figure..
            what about cascones…tanners….bo lings….
            and other chinese restuarants….mr. goodcents…that went franchise…
            another mistake by hearne…i’m sure we could name many many more.
            Sure…they had some rough roads…but i know
            more about that industry than you do and i can
            tell you that there are lots of successful local
            eateries in this town….
            should we include winsteads? carmens?
            how about applebees started by john …..
            lots of success stories but sorry hearne you’re
            wrong here.
            Can anyone name any others…i ‘m sure therea
            are many examples of successful eateries in
            kansas ctiy.
            hearne…next time do your research….
            sheeeesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Jim Breed says:

          You are engaging in what is called survivor bias.

          Consider how many restaurants that were started the same year that Nick and Jakes were, for example.

          Then consider how many are still in business.

          The fact that one restaurant is still surviving does not imply that all of them are.

          Don’t feel bad. This is a common fallacy.

  3. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Yeah, no one pays for insurance fraud, right Craig? Come on man. Any sort of insurance fraud has a trickle down effect. When people commit insurance fraud, all the other insured parties foot the bill with higher rates. This dude committed felony arson and attempted insurance fraud. Piss on him. I don’t feel sorry one bit.

  4. the dude says:

    And he was completely stupid about it to boot. How do you not know about your own security system?!?!?

  5. Super Dave says:

    I don’t feel sorry for Rod per say as much as I am shocked he did what he did. I have sat and had conversations with him many times. When he decided to put one of his places on a property I was involved with I was very happy to see that deal come through. At that time if you had told me Rod would do such a thing I would have called you a liar as well as several other things.
    Some liked his places others didn’t. But then I thought Independence and the Shawnee locations was a lot better place to dine in than downtown was. But Rod was a very devoted person and when he should have shut down and closed his downtown location the tradition and history of that being the first Herford House wouldn’t allow him to shut it down. Somewhere along the way during that time his train of thought got twisted and he went down the road of saving it at all costs.

    Sadly the at all costs instead burned his restaurant and him, then ruined his life forever and at his age could maybe be what was his last act as a free man.

  6. middle aged men in kc says:

    Glazer, you rationalize serious felonies by citing mitigating circumstances exactly as you did when your were a teen-aged criminal. Only when people point out to you, in public forums such as this, the obvious, such as “arson is a serious crime whether or not it is categorized as ‘violent’ “, do you reluctantly agree.

    You have a history of such criminal-fuzzy thinking; I’ve heard the same crap out of you and yours for over forty years; you argued then and you still argue you weren’t as bad a criminal as you could have been, because you arm-robbed low-life criminals instead of better deported folks such as youself, or your finishing-school chums such as Woodbeck or Thomas.

    Unembarrassed, you hold forth that you weren’t a criminal committing armed robberies; instead you were an “outlaw” who was “stinging” those who asked for it. I suppose it could have been worse for you; I guess your shyster/lawyer talked you out of giving your POV to the judge at your sentencings. I base my guess on another guess; which is that your hynie would still be lubed up and down its Hershey Highway, anxiously awaiting the next big bad dong, having grown to really, really liking it by now, if only you’d made your loser-argument to a judge. Judges tend to be especially unfriendly to people who think like you, and I’d have to back um up this time.

    • Super Dave says:

      +1

      • Craig Glazer says:

        Gay men have gay thoughts huh horny gay man, like Super Dave..you can’t get a girl so…

        • Super Dave says:

          Oh great comment from a guy who probably has had his share of anal rapeing while in jail.

          Look Glazer you are a convicted violent criminal who only because Hearne feels sorry for you I guess are allowed to jabber on here. You call me gay one more time and see what happens.

          • Craig Glazer says:

            Wow Dave you gonna get me, hah, fat chance bro. Not my fault you like men, the truth hurts huh. Have a nice evening, call Hot Carl…he might want to ‘hang out’

      • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

        Glazer, owned in his own blog. Ouch.

  7. KCfriend says:

    “…the only one truly injured is the person who made the bad decision. ” Are you serious??? What about his wife and his children? I can only imagine the depth of the remorse he feels… for himself, yes, but more so for the effect it has had on his family. Rod loves his family so, so much, and I’m sure he is thinking mostly about, and hurting the most for the pain he has caused them.

    • Craig Glazer says:

      I think I covered that issue.

      • KCfriend says:

        “And I understand your feelings. I also look at the real damage. In the end, like too many high profile non violent crimes, the only one truly injured is the person who made the bad decision. Sure in a fire someone can get hurt – nobody did in this case – just the men going to prison.” YOU MAY HAVE COVERED THE ISSUE ABOUT HOW MUCH HE LOVED HIS FAMILY, BUT YOU MIS-SPOKE ABOUT THE “ONLY ONE TRULY INJURED…” and…DON’T EVEN TRY TO ALIGN YOURSELF WITH ROD… too be half the man…

        • Craig Glazer says:

          Again I said he hurt only himself and his family my friend..look at the comments as well…as far as half the man…well…I’ll just stay silent on that one..BY THE WAY THE KC STAR STORY ON THE FRONT PAGE PEOPLE WAS EXACTLY MY STORY WITH ITS TONE AND CONCEPT THAT ROD WAS BACKED INTO A CORNER, A DECENT GUY WHO JUST WAS SINKING, ETC…MIGHT LOOK AT THAT.

  8. Craig Glazer says:

    Uh, my opinion wasn’t testimony Harley. P.S. that, the testimony, is how you find out WHAT HAPPENED. Get it?

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