Born Jeffrey Alan Rumaner, but living under the internationally trademarked moniker “STRETCH”, is an Artist, Entrepreneur, Restaurateur, TV Personality & the visionary creator of Grinders Pizza. Grinders Restaurants, CrossroadsKC @ Grinders, (USA Today’s #1 Pick for “Best Kansas City Nightlife”) and even their retail support “sister company,” STRETCH Specialties, LLC, which creates and sells Grinders Signature Hot Sauces, T-shirts and other fun merchandise, have each gained world-wide notoriety, thanks in part, to owner STRETCH’s appearances on hit television shows like: Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives; Guys Big Bite; Cutthroat Kitchen; Travel Channel’s “Pizza Paradise”, Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue”, Animal Planet’s “Eating the Enemy,” Discovery Channel’s Monster House, Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters, and even ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. STRETCH has twice toured with Guy Fieri on his national “Foodapalooza Roadshow” and the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, showcasing his custom-made 25-gallon Monster Margarita Machine. STRETCH continues to tour the globe several times a year, entertaining & feeding US military personnel with Messlords, a globetrotting troop of fellow celebrity chefs.
In its first years of business, Grinders Signature Hot Sauces has won more than 25 prestigious awards & honors, including 2015 Screaming Mimi’s – from the New York City Hot Sauce Expo, Peoples Choice Awards at Houston Hot Sauce Festival, multiple 2014 International Scovie Awards; appearing on CBS’s 60 Minutes, CBS New York, NBC Albuquerque, and has become available in hundreds of stores around the world, like Whole Foods Markets, Bed, Bath & Beyond & many specialty stores, not to mention quite a few military bases, including ones in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba [GITMO,] Guam & Japan.
Before opening his first Grinders restaurant in 2004, STRETCH was a working sculptor, who first moved to Kansas City to attend the Kansas City Art Institute. He went on to earn his Masters of Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 1990, and while there befriended and collaborated with the shock-rock band GWAR. In fact, STRETCH portrayed “Flattus Maximus” in the short film/ long form video entitled, “Phallus In Wonderland” which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1993. [Flattus Wiki ]
In 1991, he opened his sculpture studio in a run down area south of downtown Kansas City, now called the “Crossroads Arts District”. His passion for transforming this blighted neighborhood was all encompassing, as he solicited other artists, entertainers, gallery owners and entrepreneurs to move into the neighborhood and open businesses. Before STRETCH, there were two art galleries, and now there are over 70. Before STRETCH, there were only 2 hamburger stands & a Mexican food restaurant in the entire district, and now there are over 50 restaurants. These efforts in the early days earned him the nickname, “The Mayor of the Crossroads” and he began serving on many organization’s Boards of Directors, culminating in a 2006 “Urban Hero Award,” presented by the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri. Then, in 2009 was appointed by then Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Mark Funkhouser to the prestigious and occasionally controversial Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Commission, where STRETCH worked to ensure greater transparency and access for small businesses.
Most days, STRETCH can be seen creating new public art, chasing after his adorable three-year-old twins, developing & hosting exciting new TV shows, growing the Grinders Pizza brand, brewing craft beers at the new Grinders High Noon Brewery and slow-smoking some award-winning BBQ on the National KCBS BBQ Circuit. Follow STRETCH on Facebook or twitter @STRETCHartist, and visit Grinders online store at GRINDERSPIZZA.com