Kansas City is a well-kept secret. When I first visited nearly a decade ago, I half-expected to just see corn fields everywhere…but it’s a metropolis with a thriving art scene, exceptionally kind people, and delicious food. Now that Kansas City is home for us, there are ten restaurants we keep coming back to. Here are our very favorites, including world famous barbecue and a coffeeshop that moonlights as a bar…
GO TO COLUMBUS PARK RAMEN SHOP
IF YOU’RE CRAVING traditional ramen with a Midwest flair
ORDER THE Tonkotsu
The owners of Happy Gillis (go here for breakfast and order the biscuits and gravy) turned the garage out back into a ramen shop. The small restaurant is a welcomed change of pace for KC–both the ramen and the atmosphere. Take the streetcar to the River Market and walk to Columbus Park.
GO TO PORT FONDA
IF YOU’RE CRAVING a boozy brunch
ORDER THE bloody mary and sopapillas
The James Beard nominee has an equally delicious dinner menu (and spicy jalapeño margaritas), but a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar is hard to beat for those of you who like em. Come for the eggs and stay for the ricotta donuts.
GO TO VOLTAIRE
IF YOU’RE CRAVING a date night
ORDER THE crab croquettes
When we go to Voltaire, it feels like we are tucked in a restaurant on a side street in Brooklyn. The menu is innovative and the atmosphere is both relaxing and energizing. We sat in a leather booth and took our time. It’s a great place for a date–order lots of small plates, a few at a time.
GO TO JOE’S KC BBQ
IF YOU’RE CRAVING the world’s best barbecue
ORDER THE Z-Man and fries
Joe’s KC BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s) literally wins all the awards every year. There are shops all around town now, but the original is in a gas station. The Z-man is a brisket sandwich with provolone and an onion ring and it’s incredible. They have burnt ends on Saturday’s which are my personal favorite. It’s a bucket list kind of place–it’s arguably the very best BBQ in the world.
GO TO THOU MAYEST
IF YOU’RE CRAVING really good coffee (or really good cocktails)
ORDER THE pour over (for coffee) or Spirit of KC (for a cocktail)
Most businesses try to be really good at one thing, but Thou Mayest tried, and succeeded, at being really good at two things. The popular coffee shop roasts their own beans in the front window during the day, then turns into a full bar at night. It’s hard to tell you which is better, the coffee or the cocktails, so you should just try them both.
GO TO SPIN PIZZA
IF YOU’RE CRAVING good food for the whole family
ORDER THE mini mia (primavera pizza and sonoma salad)
Spin is our go to take out for last minute weeknight dinners and the first place we think of for weekend outings. The tre carne pizza and greek salad are equally delicious, and they have gluten free pizza dough that doesn’t taste like cardboard.
IF YOU’RE CRAVING sophisticated American and handcrafted cocktails
ORDER THE braised bison short ribs
An old hotel, The Rieger has old charm and delicious food. It’s not cheap, but it’s a good place to grab some appetizers before going to the speakeasy in the basement. You actually have to text to get in–ask the bartender for the number.
GO TO PIGWICH
IF YOU’RE CRAVING a really freakin good sandwich
ORDER THE the double cheeseburger or the cheesesteak
Pigwich is in the back of a local butcher shop, The Local Pig, which explains why the meat in their sandwiches is so fresh and delicious. Even their homemade potato chips are incredible. Bring a jacket in the winter–the only seating is outside. Also, it’s in the middle of nowhere, so if you think you are lost, you are going the right way. It’s worth it. Keep going.
GO TO THE FARMHOUSE
IF YOU’RE CRAVING local and seasonal ingredients
ORDER THE the special
Our beloved loft in the River Market was in the same building as The Farmhouse, and we watched the freshest ingredients get delivered. Eggs, meat, produce–all local and organic. They have an herb garden in the back. Everything is incredibly fresh, and they have a great patio if the weather allows for it. They have a great brunch, too.
IF YOU’RE CRAVING lunch with an old friend
ORDER THE parfait with sunshine granola and a lavender honey latte
A bakery in the beloved Brookside neighborhood, Heirloom serves sandwiches on their homemade bread, and sell fresh pastries, like pop tarts and a lemon goat cheese cheesecake. The atmosphere is great and the skylights really help the winter feel brighter.
Of course, there are so many others. What are your favorites? Have you been surprised by the food in your town?