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Springfield to KC to STL to Chicago - roadtrip recs please !

Looking for top recs for best food and best bars on a 7 day baseball road trip which includes

Springfield - one night only - just flown in from UK on a Sunday and going to see Sliders baseball team ( and staing 10 ins away from the ground ) - where for beers and food after that ? Anywhere decent for late Sunday night beers in particular ?

Kansas City - three nights staying in Westport so looking for quitessential KC eateries or cuisine, 'do not miss' or 'bizarre but great' places and of course where are best places for a beer ot two early in the week

St Louis - one night only - catching a lunchtime Cardinals game ( how is the food at the ball park ? ) and then one night on the town before heading

Up route 66... ( any standouts ? any take a picture but do not eat here places ? ). to

Chicago - 3 nights ( Fri - Mo ) - I will post separately on Chicago board but any recs re do not miss places welcome.

To help narrow things down we are keen on microbreweries with great food , unique places we will only find where we are staying, places that will cater well to my veggie colleague as well as having great burgers for me and bars which are not full of college kids ( we are late 30s) but which are lively /trendy though not too up themselves. Anything quirky ( like the polka bar in MPLS we visited last year on a chowhound rec ) would be fantastic.

Oh and anywhere in this area serve Purple Haze by Abita ?

Happy to narrow down further if that would help !

Thanks in advance for your help....

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  1. I saw Purple Haze on tap at the Flying Saucer in the Power and Light District in KC.

    1. When are you in Springfield?? Sunday's are dead. Otherwise I have some recs....The new Busch stadium has the worst food by far of any stadium ever. I've been to 25+ parks and the food there is worse than gas station microwave fare...eat before the game.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chris in illinois

        We are in Springfield for one night - Sunday 3 August ! Any ideas at all ?

        1. re: willowan

          I second the Goose Island rec from below...order off the menu, sometimes they have gameday 'buffets'---stay away.

          As far as Springfield goes, the Brewhaus (617 E Washington St) has a great beer selection and the food is not bad. The best food options are closed on Sunday, but there are a few spots: Coz's has great Oizza and a decent bottle selection---they are on the other side of town though and they close at 11pm.

          Let me chew on it a bit longer.....

      2. When in KC, you gotta try their BBQ. Arthur Bryant's is the best. There are 3 locations, but the original has the most character: 1727 Brooklyn Ave. Don't go at night, though. Not a good area to be in after dark.

        At Busch Stadium, walk around the main floor until you find the vendor that sells Bratzels. Brats wrapped in soft pretzels - YUM.

        1. Is Clary's in Springfield open on Sundays?
          If not, you can always grab Steak n Shake. There's an old one at St. Louis and National.
          It's been a few years since we lived there, but we enjoyed a few good meals and beers at the Springfield Brewing Company. I recall the pretzel app and beer cheese soup as very tasty.

          In St. Louis, I'd stop at Gus' Pretzels and bring a bag and a pretzel brat into the stadium with you! You can bring plastic bottles of soft drinks or water and the food into the stadium if you want. They open early (7am) on Sundays so you can grab that before the game. The stadium food is just ok. I like the garlic fries that you can find at some stands, though.
          You can go with the rest of the crowd to Ted Drewes after the game and get some frozen custard.

          1. When in kc--- go to Grinder's ( they were on diner's drive ins and dives...take a tour at boulevard brewing company....mccoys and blanc burgers &bottles are both delicious and in westport...the drop in martini corner has amazing bruschetta and they're the same owners as Blanc.

            1. The Busch Stadium bratzels are a rip-off of the bratzel invented by Gus's Pretzels. You can get the real deal at the real place before the game (Gus's opens at 7:00 and is not too for from the Stadium). You can take them into the Stadium with you - Busch allows you to bring in outside food. www.guspretzels.com

              If you like microbreweries and you have a vegetarian with you, I suggest The Tap Room. www.schlafly.com Their "Five Beans And Rice" sounds deadly dull, but it is so magnificent that non-vegerarians are hooked on it.

              1. Blanc Burgers and Bottles is quite good, it's in Westport, and they do have Purple Haze (in bottles). I'd second or third that rec. They have a lentil burger and a couple fish burger options, I think.

                More on Blanc: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

                bluestem is also in Westport and has great food. It's a really upscale place for the restaurant tasting menu, but the lounge offers you the best deal in the city during happy hour 5-7, Tu-Th, where the already modestly priced lounge menu is 1/2 price. The lounge is also quite casual and comfortable, and the beer list small but thoughtful...I've run into people there drinking a couple of beers before heading to the K for a Royals game.

                More: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...

                Grinders is another good rec, terrific beer list, good food, grungy, hipster 'tude that can at times be overmuch, but really not overbearing overall. I really like this bar.

                You really ought to hit some BBQ too...LC's is my fave, Bryant's is great.

                Murray's in Westport has wonderful ice cream.

                Harry's Country Club in the River Market is another great beer/food combo.

                (In Chicago, visit the Hop Leaf and the Goose Island Brew Pub.)

                1. You will feel burned if you overpay for bad food at Busch Stadium. Buying the beer will break your bank. Bring your own food in. They allow it. We always grab Amighetti sandwiches from the Hill. Cheap, good and plentiful.
                  Food at the K isn't the worst in the world. While in Westport, try the Broadway Coffee House next to Starbucks.

                  1. blue koi on 39th and state line is very good- asian dishes, dumplings, etc. and is close to westport and not too expensive. room 39 is just down the street- VERY good but a little more pricey. lots of bars along 39th st. too (just west of westport). mccoy's is always good, and next door to it is the foundry, which is new but owned by mccoy's (in westport).
                    For stl, anywhere on the hill is bound to be good, i like the schlafly brewery's taproom in maplewood off manchester. yum!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tmarks

                      It's hard to see how you wouldn't go to McCoy's--it's right in Westport, may have the best patio in the city, and it's a brewpub...all of which argue strongly in its favor.

                      In my experience, though, neither the food nor the beer are very good. The location and patio still draw me back.

                      1. re: Aaron Deacon

                        Everything I've had at McCoy's has been extremely mediocre, at best, with the exception of the fish and chips. They have great fish and chips with corn fritters and tartar sauce with basil! I can't speak for the beer, since I don't drink beer, but I enjoy the home-brewed rootbeer too.

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Cool, I'll have to try the fish and chips. Thanks!

                    2. My favorite brewpub in KC
                      http://www.75thstreet.com/

                      I would still stick with a hamburger from Westport Flea Market, not foo foo, just a really good burger and some really odd characters

                      1. On the way from St. Louis to Chicago...if you stick to Rt. 66, you'll end up in Bloomington/Normal, IL. I got two recommendations there...one is Destihl Restaurant and Brewworks http://www.destihl.com/ A great local brew pub...really interesting dishes for this area. It's only a mile or so from I-55.

                        The other is Medici in Normal which is in Uptown Normal near Illinois State University. http://www.medicinormal.com/index.php Not a brew pub, but an interesting space with a good menu.

                        Stops along Rte. 66 would include Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, IL. http://www.cozydogdrivein.com/ They claim to be the inventor of a corn dog on a stick. It's alright food...how hard is it to cook corn dogs? A picture spot would be the Pig Hip in Broadwell, IL. Unfortunately, the building burnt down a few years back but the sign is still there and a historcial marker. A little bit off Rt. 66 back in Springfield you can find Charlie Parker's. Ever had a horsehoe? I doubt it because Springfield is about the only place you can find them and Charlie Parker's has the best in town. It's in an old quonset hut...really cool place.

                        In St.L. Anything you can find on the Hill would be good if you like Italian. Last time we were there, we hit up Bailey's Chocolate Bar on Lafayette Square. http://www.baileyschocolatebar.com/ I've heard some locals bash it, but it was a great romantic night out for my girlfriend and I. For dinner, we hit Jimmy's on the Park in the Demun Neighborhood. http://www.jimmyscafe.com/ Your best bet if you're just looking to drink would to be find your way to Laclades Landing. http://www.lacledeslanding.com/ There are a variety of places

                        In Chicago, I have to recommend Portillo's Hot Dogs. http://www.portillos.com The best Chicago-Style food you'll find.

                        http://www.midmichigandining.com

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                          RE: Horseshoes. Charlie Parker's has good horseshoes, but the best in town is close by at D'Arcy's Pint which is unfortunately closed on Sunday's.

                          1. re: chris in illinois

                            Okay, its enlighten the Brit time - what are horseshoes ?!

                            1. re: willowan

                              Like lawn bowling, except instead of rolling balls, you are throwing horse shoes. Closest to the pin wins, extra points if you can get the horseshoe around the pin. Often accompanied with significant amounts of beer.

                              1. re: willowan

                                Meat on toast (usually hamburger, but has been updated to include ham, chicken---sometimes Buffalo Chicken (spicy)---or rarely pork), covered with french fries and smothered with cheese sauce.

                                Truly a unique taste of Springfield.

                                  1. re: heatherkay

                                    There's a picture here....I'm looking for the episode of Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives that featured Charlie Parkers so you can see one being built.

                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsesho...

                                    1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                                      Hey, thanks all for these fantastic recs - does anyone know if Charlie Parker's is open on a Sunday or if they have a website ?

                                      I am saddened to see that Cozy Dog Drive in is not open on my one night in town and I have to make my veggie travelling mate eat in one of these classic meateaters venues !

                                      1. re: willowan

                                        No, Charlie Parker's doesn't have a website..I did find the video clip I was looking for though

                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4hjSv...

                                        You can try calling them when you get in the States...(217) 241-2104‎. They're more of a diner, so there's a good chance they will be open on Sunday

                                        The other place mentioned here, D'Arcy's Pint, does have a website, but they are closed on Sunday http://www.darcyspintonline.com/index...

                                        It's gonna be hard to find a veggie place on the way through Illinois. Your going to be in the heartland of the US. It's a real beef eating part of the country.

                                        Just to make sure we're on the same page here, are you flying into Springfrield, MO or Springfield, IL? The places I mentioned are in Springfield, IL and would be good stops on your way from St. Louis to Chicago.

                                        1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                                          Would you believe neither ?- we are flying into Chicago then driving to Springfield IL on our way to KC , and ultimately driving back !

                                          So anywhere en route before we get to Springfield would also be welcome . Thanks

                                          1. re: willowan

                                            Ah, then ignore my Springfield suggestions!

                                            But I stand by going to Gus' Pretzels BEFORE the cards game and bringing a Pretzel brat in with you.

                                            1. re: willowan

                                              That is going to be an incredible road trip. I would look at the two places I mentioned in Bloomington/Normal....it's on I-55 (Rt 66 if you take that road) about an hour from Springfield.

                                          2. re: willowan

                                            I hate to say this but I ate at Cozy Dog last summer and we underwhelmed. And I an far from a snob when it we're talking diner food. It's fun in a Stuckey's meets Applebee's (cover the walls with memorabilia) but the food was nothing special the day we were there and I remember being surprised by the price.

                                            I do remember a decent Italian restaurant downtown that was open on the night we were there.

                                    2. re: willowan

                                      horseshoes are a sandwich served in that area.

                                  2. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                                    I would agree with both of your suggestions for Cozy Dog and Charlie Parkers. I also enjoyed the food at Cheddars while we were there. But if you are just stopping to snack or meal go with the other two.

                                    If you leave St. louis early in the morning then go to charlie parkers for breakfast or lunch. But if you are getting to Springfield, IL around just a snack time the go to the cozy dog drive-in. My husband and I did that and just got two cozy's and some fries. i will warn you the food is greasy, I got a little ill later from the grease, but it was well worth it.

                                    When you are in Chicago you did not say what part you would be staying in. But I definatly suggest Portillos/with a Bernali's if you can find it. But if not that is ok too. My husband works for a company near Chicago so we go quite a bit and he HAS to eat there everytime. Another MUST have for us is Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza. There are a few great places but this is our favorite.

                                    If you are down on Micigan Ave, there are several things that are great, but definatly stop at Garett's Popcorn, there might be a long line but it is so yummy. If you have time to do some sight seeing definatly take Michigan Ave to the river and take a boat tour. They do a sunset cruise that will take you out on Lake Michigan that is a lot of fun. If you want something fancier, and a little pricier try making reservations at Topalobompo. I think that is how ya spell it. it is Rick Bayless' restaurant. The food is AMAZING.

                                    Happy Travels

                                  3. I have to second the rec for the Westport Flea Market. It is a total dive, but the food is great. It really is a flea market, too. Lots of junk! Since you mentioned “bazaar” spots this one might fit your bill. In the late 1980's Bob Berdella (KC serial killer) had a stand at the Market (Bob's Bazarre Bazaar) and he sold, among other items, skulls. Definitely odd! No trace of him now, just some interesting info.

                                    FYI so you don't look like a newbie, the ordering process at WFM is a little different. 1. No credit or debit only cash. 2. Order your food at the cash register. 3. Order your drink from a server at your table. 4. They will call your name over the loud speaker where you will pick up your food at the window and dress your burger at the condiment station.
                                    http://www.westportfleamarket.com/

                                    If you want a Kansas City original, you should check out Plaza III on the Country Club Plaza (CCP is also a great place to shop). It is kind of old school, but overall nice. Kansas City is known for BBQ, but I think we also serve some of the best steaks in the country and this is a great place to get one. Some people will argue that it's lost its lustre, but I've never has a bad meal and the service has always been top notch. The steak soup is pretty darn good (unless you are here in August and it's 105 degrees outside). http://www.plazaiiisteakhouse.com/cou...

                                    Enjoy your stay in the Midwest!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: amy_rc

                                      Yeah, the Flea is a pretty good call for burgers too, though the beer list is not too exciting, if I remember right. You should be able to get Boulevard products through, which are the local brew of choice.

                                      Another aside...I had one of my most terrible restaurant experiences in St. Louis at Schlafly's Maplewood brewpub/restaurant. An outlier experience, surely, but at least one datapoint.

                                      1. re: groovythings

                                        I'll second the nice selection at the Flea Market. I was there twice last week and I didn't run out of things to keep me happy. Sure, it's not the 100+ list you'll find at a few places, but it certainly holds it own.

                                        1. re: groovythings

                                          I'll concede it's been a little while, and I don't recall all the beers, but my recollection was that there were a lot of beers, but mostly macros, major imports, and Boulevard...which, you're right, is certainly way better than it could be, but I guess when some place has 23 taps, I expect a little more obscure offerings. I've heard similar from others more recently, but I don't mean to suggest you can't get a decent drink at the Flea.

                                          Look at Charlie Hooper's, for example. They have maybe 100-125 beers available, but it's kind of like every supermarket beer you could find in KC make up about 90% of those. Not a bad deal, overall, but not what I expect of someplace that goes to the length of having 100+ beers on their list.

                                      2. not food, but VERY improtant trip advice: the stretch of I-70 around Boonville (between state rte. 65 and just West of Columbia at the river) has been a notorious speed trap for decades.

                                        if the time wasn't an issue I'd recommend rte 50 for small town food quirks instead.

                                        1. In Springfield, go try Tortillas on W. Republic. It's Mexican and right now they unfortunately don't have a liquor license, but may by the time you get to town. You don't expect to get good Mexican here, and until I found this place I had given up all hope. They are open all day on Sunday until I think 9. Maybe earlier. It's local and the owners have a quirky sense of humor, so they close "when it gets slow" - that's what the door says! It looks like a big ugly barn but the food is great. www.tortillascomidadeluxe.com

                                          As far as Clary's, from a post above, I heard from a friend who tried to have lunch there two weeks ago they were closed, then someone else said they were open. Then I heard it was about their liquor license? They didn't renew it on time? Fish, before it closed, had started being open on Sundays at the end, so Clary's may well be open on Sundays, if they are open at all. I'd call. www.eatatclarys.com

                                          1. I forgot to ask the following: Why on earth are you going to a Slider's game? I live just outside of Springfield, so I'm not knockin' the collegiate guys (hell, a few years ago my brother played for them when they were the Rifles), but a trip that includes the Cards, Royals, White Sox and the SLIDERS is like going on a foodie trip to New Orleans and hitting Brigtsens, KPauls, Commander's and Arby's. What gives?

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: chris in illinois

                                              I am tempted to say where else should we go on a Sunday night in Springfield ?!
                                              We are really just breaking our journey from Chicago to Kansas and wanted to see some kind of game. As we do not land in Chicago til 1 at least and want to get a few hours driving in after we pick up car it seemed a logical place to stop and catch a game. Plus in this way we get to see 8 games of baseball in 8 days/nights and we can have a few beers and relax. Is there any where at all worth going afterward ( or part way through if it gets too much/ too little ! ?) Have made a grave error choosing Springfield ?

                                              Thanks for all this help and advice , by the way.

                                              One final daft question if yopu dont like ribs what is best to eat at one of those KC BBQ's ? !

                                              1. re: willowan

                                                I love baseball and don't think your making a mistake. There's not a whole lot of other baseball choices along I-55

                                                A lot of times at BBQ places, I end up getting pulled pork...by far my favorite kind of BBQ. I'm sure most places will have BBQ chicken as well which would be just as good.

                                                1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                                                  There's the Gateway Grizzlies outside of St. Louis. They are playing on Aug 3rd at 6:05. You can get lawn seats for $5 each.

                                                  I think they sell deep fried sliders and they used to have a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between 2 Krispy Kreme donuts. Apparently, it's an experience!

                                                2. re: willowan

                                                  Hey, there's nothing wrong with catching a Slider's game...cheap beer ($1), cheap dogs ($1), great seats...it was more of a case of "which one of these is not like the other?". I'm sure that the Slider's management would be excited to know that they are global.

                                                  Seriously though, the Brewhaus is pretty close to the ball park (1-2 miles) and has, if nothing else, a wide selection of beers...it's been a while since I've eaten anything there.

                                                  1. re: willowan

                                                    Ribs really aren't the speciality in Kansas City. The most characteristic KC BBQ is beef brisket, more typically sliced than shredded. You should also check out burnt ends (there's several threads that talk about/argue about who has the best). Burnt ends are the caramelized ends of the brisket. They should be a perfect combination of fat crispiness, smoke, and the caramelized sweetness of the rub or sauce.

                                                    If you're going to be in KC for a few days and you want to see some baseball, you might also want to check out a Kansas City T-bones game. The T-bones play in the Northern League, which is a borderline semi-pro league. But the tickets are cheap, they have picnic seating, and there's a suburban parish of the cathedral of BBQ, Arthur Bryant's.

                                                    1. re: heatherkay

                                                      Don't let the opinion that KC isn't known for it's ribs deter you from trying them. In fact, I've read/heard a lot of people say the thing that impresses them most about KC BBQ is the ability to do it all well, and not just one particular facet.

                                                      I've had perhaps the best ribs of my life at Oklahoma Joe's in KC. It's the only place in town I've tried them, but they were darn good. The ribs at Jack Stack seem to please a lot of people as well.

                                                    2. re: willowan

                                                      I'm a big fan of the pulled pork sandwich at Danny Edward's BBQ in Kansas City on Southwest Blvd. If you get it southern style it comes with cole slaw on top and it is delish!

                                                      1. re: willowan

                                                        I am a big Pulled Pork Eater. I HATE Ribs. But if you don't like Pork then go for Brisket. Either one is usually a winner so it just depends on what ya want.

                                                    3. For what it's worth- You have to go to the iconic Arthur Bryant's. I think their beef brisket sandwich is killer. Don't let them sauce it. They have the sauces at the tables. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is right up the road and you shouldn't miss it.

                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: steveb

                                                        Hey Steve, sounds good - do you have an address or link for either ?

                                                        Thanks

                                                            1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                                                              Hey all

                                                              I have a list of places in Springfield - just wanted to know if any of these was worth going to - or avoiding !

                                                              Near where we are staying

                                                              Boone's uptown grill, mojos, two brothers lounge, marty's pub,plaza on adams,norb andy's tabarin,dh browns, firehouse tavern, on broadway, stella blue ??

                                                              Near to th eSlider's ground

                                                              Butch's,Oscars Tavern,Illinois Tap, Knuckle Heads, D&J's Bar, Ma Fatz, Lazy Lou Tavern, Dude's Saloon, State House Inn, Sammys Sports Bar & Grill.

                                                              Please remember we are in town on a Sunday and are two male Brits - so nowhere too scary please !

                                                              1. re: willowan

                                                                My barhoppin' days are over and most of these places are new to me, but two brothers is cool, stella blue is apparently very trendy (for central Illinois), sammy's has a good rep....I'd stay away from DH Brown's and on broadway (unless you're 22). FWIW, I believe the firehouse tavern is a gay bar, but I could be wrong.

                                                                I'd stick to the downtown area...again, the Brewhaus is pretty close to some of the places you list (2-3 blocks from sammy's for example). I also don't own or work at the Brewhaus, I just appreciate the beer selection.

                                                                1. re: chris in illinois

                                                                  Chris, at the risk of sounding dim, which of these lists is downtown ?! The bottom one , near to the slider's ground ?

                                                                  Thanks again for your advice - and just so I know do contributors to this board welcome reports back post trip or are they just regarded as a bit dull ?

                                                                  1. re: willowan

                                                                    Well, the top list is definitely downtown...some of the places on the bottom list Ive never heard of. The park isn't all that far from downtown (Springfield isn't exactly London you know), but there isn't all that much around the park itself---the neighborhood 6-7 blocks south isn't that great---but the area immediately around the park is just fine. State House Inn is downtown as is Sammy's. I for one would be interested in hearing about your trip and not just the Springfield part. I'm going on my own baseball trip on Monday....Monday night in Pittsburgh at PNC park, Tuesday night in Yankee Stadium, wednesday driving back to Illinois.

                                                                    Good luck and enjoy!!

                                                                    1. re: chris in illinois

                                                                      Fantastic , thanks for all your advice, have a great trip and ( on Tuesday ) go O's !

                                                                  2. re: chris in illinois

                                                                    As far as the uptown bars go, the following are the spots that my in town friend takes me to: Two Brothers Lounge (lots of upper level politicians sip here and the bartyender pours good); DH Browns, and the Firehouse. Firehouse wasn't a gay bar when I was there and actually was loaded w/ femm fatales and the bartendresses wear turnout pants and tank tops...:):). It is frequented by many public service types like myself (read: cops and firefighters) Have a great trip!

                                                                    1. re: DetectDave

                                                                      I'd take Detect Dave's word on the Firehouse, sounds like someone was taking advantage of my gullible nature...like I said, my bar-hoppin' days are long over.

                                                              2. re: willowan

                                                                And adjacent to the baseball museum is an equally outstanding jazz museum.

                                                                1. re: jwagnerdsm

                                                                  hey thanks all - we are heading your way - into a heat storm i believe ! this sunday and I will be sure to report back.

                                                                  However, given the impending heatfest one last question - where are best places for outside drinking & eating and how bad (if at all ) will the mosquitos be as I do tend to react in a wholly unpleaseant fashion if bit !

                                                                  1. re: willowan

                                                                    Oh, stop at the first Walgreens or CVS you see and pick up some OFF. The mosquitos are quite bad in the St. Louis area due to the receding flood waters.

                                                                    And we don't eat outside in August in St. Louis- if you choose to, you'll have very little problem getting a table!

                                                                    1. re: lrstl

                                                                      Thanks lrstl _ I already have some 'Woodsman' which I will now be liberally spraying when in STL !

                                                                      Hey KC folks - how is your bug rating and is outdoor dining ( due to the heat I assume ? ) a no- no for you too? Does this rule out outdoor drinking also ?

                                                                      1. re: willowan

                                                                        I haven't really had much of a problem with mosquitos in KC unless you are going to be somewhere pretty grassy. It's a good thing to have in your car, regardless, though, so bring it along. Also a good waterproof sunblock.

                                                                        As for outdoor dining, the recent implementation of a smoking ban in KC has ensured that just about every restaurant in town has outdoor dining at some level. As for your ability to use it, that will depend on the weather, in particular, any recent rain. If you arrived yesterday, you'd be an idiot to sit outside. If you'd arrived last week, after we had a frog-drowner thunderstorm, it was actually quite pleasant. We sat out on the patio at Le Fou Frog, a local bistro and had several drinks with no ill effect. Quite pleasant meaning around 80-85F (27-30C). A lot will depend on humidity, the level of shade on the restaurant patio, whether the patio has fans, the time of day, etc. I'd recommend that you play it by ear, ask to try the patio, start with a drink, and, if it's uncomfortable, ask to move inside again. Most restaurants are pretty accommodating and will let you move around if there's an issue.

                                                                          1. re: chris in illinois

                                                                            Hey Chris - apologies for tardy response but have had trouble accessing my account since my return. Trip was fantastic, and all of the Chowhound recs made it even better !

                                                                            Standouts for me had to be The Cozy Dog Drive In - not the best food ( though how good is a corn dog gonna taste at 11am when it is 100 degrees outside ?!) but a great route 66 vibe and they had this fantastic little bust of Jackie O looking like the mother of Christ on a shelf which was just kitschtastic.

                                                                            The Sliders ball park the night before was a perfect way to start the trip - a few hotdogs and beers to start the holiday off. Springfield on a Sunday was not the busiest but both the Brewhaus and Sammy's were friendly places I would go back to. The guy behind the bar at Sammy's introduced us to Blue Moon which then became the unofficial tour beer .

                                                                            In KC I thought Blancs was great. I had a classic burger but the onion rings and home made condiments stood out, as well as the cool vibe on a hot day. Staff were reallfy friendly too. McCoys had good brews but everywhere was a bit quiet on a Mo/Tue/ Wed . Apart, that is for Arthur Bryants which was bursting at the seams. I cant say I will be rushing back but the atmosphere was great. The pulled pork sandwich was good but the beef was way 'too much' for a wimpy Brit like me. Just too much meat by far, really, but would have hated to miss it as an experience - it was like nowhere I had been before. Sadly missed out on bluestem due to baseball games and 40 min ride to the stadium each night. Plus it was 100- 107 degrees while we were in town so cooling beers were more attractive than food !

                                                                            St Louis though had the marvelous Gus' Pretzels. Exactly the kind of place which makes America such a great place to visit. We went for breakfast and i had a bratzel followed by a cinnamon pretzel. Heaven, both . Any of you who have not been - there is no excuse you simply must go. It makes New York pretzels seem like rock.

                                                                            Chicago was a blur of beers and the odd slice of pizza, but since when did they start closing the clubs at four ?! Its reputation as a party city remains undimmed nevertheless.

                                                                            The only thing I missed out on was my beloved Purple Haze as blancs had sold out the day we were there. Oh well, there is always next time.

                                                                            All comments on my report welcome and thanks again to everyonme for their recs, wherther I got around to following them up or not. I am back in the US later this month travelling from Boston around NewEngland for 2 weeks. If anyone has any top NE tips please post on the Boston board as they tend to be a bit more reticent over there !

                                                                            1. re: willowan

                                                                              In Kansas City the must eat at places are as follows:
                                                                              Westport Flee Market - Best burger
                                                                              Oklahoma Joes - Best pulled pork
                                                                              Blue Koy - Crazy good chinese
                                                                              Souperman - Some of the the best soup in town
                                                                              Frick & Frack - A dive bar with great food
                                                                              Grinders - Strange but great Pizza combos
                                                                              Korma Sutra - Great Indiana Buffet Lunch
                                                                              Aladin Cafe - Their chicken schwarma and lentil soup are amazing.

                                                                              When in St. Louis for a a game you have to check out Crown Candy Kitchen. This place is a St. Louis Landmark and has an insane amount of bacon on their BLT not to mention they have amazing Ice Cream.

                                                                              Hope these help.

                                                                              1. re: emassow

                                                                                "Korma Sutra - Great Indiana Buffet Lunch"

                                                                                Dying to know what is featured in an Indiana Buffet lunch. Breaded Pork Tenderloins? :)