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KC info

We're getting ready for both a STL and a KC visit - I know about some of the local/regional specialties of St Louis, (crispy snoots, fried ravioli, egg fu young sandwiches, provel cheese, gooey butter cake) but what about CanCity, as our resident friends pronounce it? Has CowTown evolved its own unique culinary delights? The only one I know about is NuWays, but I believe that is regional and is sometimes called MaidRite. Right? Please advise.

We are thinking about OK Joe's and Jack's Stack for bbq and Bichelmeyer's in Tonganoxie for steak but we'll be staying for more than 3 days and would love some more suggestions. FYI: we are not into white tableclothes, tuxedoed waiters and so forth. Deliciousness holds more interest that ambience.

We don't want to waste time or calories on food that isn't good/fresh/unique and I've learned the hard way to only rely on recs - which if why I turn to Chowhound! Thanks so much and I will post a reply when we get home.

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  1. Where will you be staying, will you have a car, and are you willing to drive? (The last is obvious, I guess, since you're going to Tongie for steak!) Also, are you all strictly carnivores, is that what you're looking for?

    1. We are staying off the 435 just east of Stateline, or whatever it's called in the south part of the metro area. In MO in other words. And yes, we'll have wheels.

      We are omnivores, I'd say. We live in SoCal and have just loads of Cal-Mediterranean-fusion--fresh catch-of-the-day with a light whatever sauce (or free range chicken tenders) kind of places from which to choose here. What we are looking for are restaurants and/or specialty items that are unique to KC and/or the region. We can go back to calorie counting when we get back home.

      Hope this helps narrow things down. Or expands our choices.

      5 Replies
      1. re: EggJar

        What is truly unique to KC when it comes to Q, are Burnt Ends.
        If you are staying near 435 you won't be far from LC's. About 2 miles west of 435 on Blue Prkwy.
        LC's burnt ends are like none other.
        I'm heading to KC the 19th for the beer fest. I will leave Des Moines, and the next time I get out of my car will be in LC's parking lot.
        I will tell you it is a dive, so feel free to get it to go.

        1. re: Bobfrmia

          I second the burnt-end notion. To my knowledge, they're not found outside KC. Too bad.

          HeatherKay is right. Maid-Rites *are* primarily an Iowa thing.

          1. re: sigerson57

            Actually, some Kansas City transplants operate K C Pit BBQ in Sandy Springs, GA (suburb immediately north of Atlanta) and burnt ends are extremely popular - and very good.

            1. re: Milt

              Beef or pork? Or is there even such a thing as pork burnt ends? I'll make a note of this place.

        2. re: EggJar

          Smoke Stack BBQ!!!!!!!!!!!! It's close to where you will be. Approx. 83rd/ Wornall. The food is fantastic. You could always hit Gate's bbq. The atmosphere is unique within itself. Screaming staff, and sandwiches that fall apart they're piled so high w/ meat and douced in yummy sauce. I've heard Jasper's is great for Italian. Located across the street from Gates in the Royal Liquor lot. Approx. 435/ Stateline.

        3. Maid Rites are really more of an Iowa thing, although I think you can get them a few places around town. You might want a pork tenderloin sandwich -- again more of an Iowa thing, but a true conoisseur said that one of the best he'd had was at Woodswether Cafe in the West Bottoms. That place is definitely a trip.

          I've been trying to think of Kansas City food experiences, and it's hard to think of something truly unique to KC (other than BBQ). The thing about KC is that it's a crossroad between the west, the east, and the south. I'd recommend breakfast. A good option might be the Bluebird Bistro at 17th and Summit, for the local-foods, organic, homegrown version. Another option would be RJ's Bob-B-Que for the I'm-going-to-chop-cotton-all-day version. Or Cascone's in the River Market for the old-school-KC Italian version.

          1. As an ex-pat, the places I'd want to hit would be:
            Stroud's for Chicken
            TownTopic for hamburgers w/onions
            Woodyard and LC's for Q(and others, but you gotta priortize)
            In A Tub for deep fried tacos
            ? for Italian Steak Sandwiches
            Jerry's Woodswether Cafe for A Pork Tenderloin-as per Davydd's report.
            GoChickenGo for a gizzard pack, wings, and livers. + electric yellow gravy.
            A greasy list for sure.
            You could make a quick visit to Lawrence and knock off a Runza or two.
            Boulevard for your local beer

            Jaspers and Fritz's are right by you.

            5 Replies
            1. re: bbqboy

              Yay, someone else prefers Town Topic over Winsteads :)
              I second Go Chicken Go.

              1. re: WyCo

                Go Chicken Go rules.

                Also check out BBs Lawnside BBQ on 85th just East of Holmes. They start with the live blues about 9pm and the BBQ is sure good.

                I'm not a fan of Jack's Stack I don't understand why all the hype. OK Joe's and LC's are your best bets.

                1. re: WyCo

                  I'd pick L.C.'s Hamburgers over Town Topic or Winstead's any day! Though I do like the limeades with lime sherbet in them at Winstead's...

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      I second Katie on L.C.'s Hamburgers. They are the best! (And - FYI - L.C.'s Hamburger and LC's BBQ are two entirely different places - just in case there is any confusion.)

                2. If you want EXCELLENT barbeque. I would recommend Smokehouse (135th/ Metcalf)--it's newest location. In addition, Bates City BBQ is some of the best in the state. Located just north of 67th and Quivira. Tom, the owner is a real family man with a taste for smoked meats. His family friendly restaurant is one of my favorite stops when in the Shawnee area. I like J. Gilbert's for steak (see 95th/ Metcalf). A great hole in the wall Italian place is Villa Capri (approx. 82nd/ Metcalf). Do not miss Villa Capri if you're close and in the mood for authentic homestyle italian cuisine.

                  1. Take Note: Johnny's BBQ Johnson Drive/ Broadmoor ( I think) is flippin' fantastic. They have a great rib special and their ribs do qualify- Wed. and Sun. full slabs for $12.95. Can't beat that w/ a stick partner! Hit up the Corner Cafe for down homestyle cooking. They are located in Riverside. Take 635 N to the first Riverside exit. Take a left off the exit, and then a left at the stoplight. It's "on down the road." They have the best cinnamon rolls I have ever tried in my life. Stroud's style cooking.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: FergMePleez

                      Wow, I gotta take issue with this. Now, I've tried to hit mostly well-reputed places in my year here, but Johnny's is quite close to my home. I only went once, but that was all it took. Easily the worst BBQ I've had while living here.

                      I love RJ's (just down the street) breakfast and think their BBQ is just okay, but much better than Johnny's.

                      For reference, places I like better include: Bryant's, LC's, RJ's, Oklahoma Joe's, Jack Stack, and Danny Edward's.

                    2. *taking cover from KC BBQ Debate*
                      however....I really think Arthur Bryant's is a fun way to see the city and get some tasty BBQ. The sauce is wonderufl - and the place is full of character.

                      I also know I might be adding fuel here - but I really love Stroud's Fried Chicken. They won a James beard award - and the gravy is very good. the original location was torn down for construction, but it still exists.Stroud's Oak Ridge Manor
                      5410 NE Oak Ridge Dr
                      Kansas City, MO 64119
                      (816) 454-9600

                      Get there early or try to go at lunch on a weekday, maybe.

                      And, yes - Boulevard Beer and Roasterie Coffee are KC hometown originals. So, enjoy!

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: stellamystar

                        I find the chicken at Stroud's to be bland. Yes, it's well fried and not overcooked, but not falling off the bone or deliciously succulent. I wonder if they salt and pepper at all, it's so bland. The sides are fine, but nothing special. I don't know if they used to be better?

                        One thing, though, I've only ever been to the original location, so perhaps Oak Ridge does something differently. I've not bothered to drive up there since they closed in the roadhouse. I don't get the hoopla based on past experience, though. I make better fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

                        1. re: amyzan

                          That's nice that you do, but 99% of the populace does not. Fried chicken isn't supposed to be spicy, by the way.

                          1. re: bbqboy

                            "Fried chicken isn't supposed to be spicy, by the way."
                            I never said I liked fried chicken spicy. I do soak it in tabasco buttermilk overnight, season with salt and pepper and paprika, then coat in flour before frying. It's not "spicy," but has flavor besides that of the meat, unlike Stroud's, which is bland, unseasoned to my taste.

                            1. re: amyzan

                              Wow, that sounds great.
                              That settles it. I'm gonna pass on Strouds, and have fried chicken at amyzans.
                              Damn mapquest......
                              Oh well, maybe I can just get a recipe?

                              1. re: Bobfrmia

                                Bob, I don't really have a recipe. You could use Alton Brown's shake if you like, but I find it too spicy. It's a good recipe if you like it that way, though. I just do what I said above, seasoning the flour I coat the chicken in, just with s&p, and cook the chicken around 350 degree hot oil in cast iron. It will have dark brown spots where it rested on the cast iron, and breasts take longer than other pieces so put them in first. Thighs go next, and little parts I wait about five minutes, both because they don't take as long, and because the oil needs to heat back up a bit after the first pieces have been added. Regulate your temperature with a good thermometer, and you should be fine. I don't do this but a few times a year, because the cleanup is messy. My cabinets are right over my stove, bad kitchen design.

                            2. re: bbqboy

                              Who says "it isn't supposed to be spicy"? I think fried chicken can be however you want it to be... just her opinion that Stroud's is bland. Isn't that why we're all here... to express our opinions and get other's opinions?

                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                I would say Stroud's does a classic southern fried chicken style, and does it quite well. Yeah, Popeye's is spicy, but I don't think it's traditional.
                                Our family's "Old Missouri" recipe doesn't throw stuff like tabasco in either. That's all I was saying. Subtle and bland can come prety close to interchangeble in today's jazzed up times.
                                I've never had "fall off the bone" chicken at Stroud's and don't believe it is their intent to cook it that way.

                                1. re: bbqboy

                                  I agree that Stroud's has some bland tasting chicken. Personally, I'd rather have fried chicken at KT Fryer's in Lenexa (that damn fire!!). I don't think fried chix. needs to be bold and spicy, but at LEAST coated w/ some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. That is my humble opinion.

                                  1. re: FergMePleez

                                    Thanks FMP, that's what I'm saying. S&P only enhances the flavor of the bird, and is a basic. Other additions are personal preference, but everyone, including Stroud's should be using s&p.

                                    bbqboy, doesn't your family recipe include salt and pepper? I don't think Stroud's does, or at least it doesn't taste like it. Yeah, I shouldn't have used teh "falling off the bone" description. Fried chicken doesn't generally do that. I just don't want someone from out of town to go to Stroud's with expectations of fantabulous fried chicken. It's good to give people realistic expectations.

                                    1. re: amyzan

                                      not much. Now the gravy was a different matter. THAT's where the pepper goes.

                            3. re: amyzan

                              Have you ever tried the fried chicken at Yarbrough's Family Restaurant in Shawnee? It is definately my favorite!


                              1. re: pie

                                I have always wanted to try Yarbrough's. Pie speaks up and says it's good stuff. Taking notes.