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Kansas City Eats


I am an East Coast foodie visiting Kansas City for five days in September...

- What are some of the foods that define KC that I absolutely have to try?

- Also, what are the best KC restaurants for:

1. BBQ (Should I really go to Jack Stack's or Smokehouse?)
2. Cheap Eats (under $8 for an entree)
3. Ethnic (Asian, Mexican, Indian, etc. - I eat everything!)
4. Fine Dining
5. Breakfast/Brunch
6. Dessert/Bakery
7. Reasonably priced drinks/wine
8. Your absolute favorite KC restaurant

Thanks in advance!

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  1. 1. No, both are overrated.. Go to LC's or Oklahoma Joe's. For off the beaten path BB's Lawnside after 9pm for barbecue, blues, and beer.
    2. Grinders
    3. El Taco Nazzo, El Camino Real. Lots of good Mexican in KCK, get away from SW Boulevard.
    4. Bluestem
    5. I dunno, Who's got the best biscuits and gravy in town?

    6 Replies
    1. re: chileheadmike

      I'll second Bluestem for fine dining.

      1. re: chileheadmike

        The best biscuits and gravy I have had in town is at Happy Gillis. Down on the corner of 5th & Gillis in Columbus Park.

          1. re: beauxarts

            God I've been waiting for a recommendation like this. Any other suggestions on B&G spots? By far my favorite breakfast item. And I love when it is made with spicy sausage.

            1. re: beauxarts

              Oh, I will have to try to go there then!

              This is not my first trip to KC. The first couple of times, I did lots of touristy things, but now I decided I should do a food tour!

              I have to have biscuits and gravy everytime I am there though... it's nearly impossible to find on the East Coast.

              1. re: beauxarts

                I loooove the Corner Cafe for B'z&G'z. They also have incredible hot rolls and cinnamon rolls the size of your head. Literally. And the pies....when you open the door, the smell of the pies nearly drops you to your knees! I live in San Francisco--used to live in KC--and each time I go back, I journey to Corner Cafe at least once for breakfast for the Bz&Gz....and ideally, again for the chicken livers with gravy. Heaven for the soul.

            2. Michael Smith/Extra Virgin for fine dining or drive to Lawrence, if you can, and eat @Pachamama's.

              1 Reply
              1. re: inbiz

                Yes, I am planning on going to Extra Virgin for their half-priced happy hour specials - thank you!

              2. First, go here for BBQ recs: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/491662
                I haven't lived in KC for a long time, but I've never even heard of Smokehouse. Never been to Jack Stack's, but that's because I'm too busy at LC's, Gates, Bryant's, or OK Joe's. Something bothers me about "upscale" BBQ places anyway (though I've been told that Jack Stack is good). Any exploration into KC BBQ must start with Bryant's or Gates. LC's is my favorite, though.

                The flea market burger is great.
                Potpie is good for good, casual, solid food (full disclosure: the owner is a friend).
                The City Market has good ethnic eats and decent breakfast.

                1. It would also help to know where you are staying. KC is very spread out (just for reference, the drive from the airport to the restaurant hub at 135th and Metcalf is roughly the distance from Providence to Boston).

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: heatherkay

                    I am staying with a friend who lives in Glen Arbor, but she does not mind driving

                    1. re: malyna

                      I've lived here the majority of my life and have no idea where Glen Arbor is, but if your friend doesn't mind driving, you should check out Pachamama's in Lawrence. it's only 30 min from KC and more than worth it. You could spend the day there. Lots to do.

                      1. re: inbiz

                        I think that's the neighborhood south of Red Bridge Rd. just east of State Line. Jackson county, inbiz.

                        Malyna, as noted before we are a big metro area, very spread out for our 2 million folks in many counties. Justus drugstore will be a good drive up in Smithville, and you'll wants reservations if you want to eat inside with the full menu. It is by far the best fine dining, if you're focused on the food, drink, and service. For breakfast/brunch, I'm partial to Room 39, either on 39th St. or in Mission Farms, which will be more convenient to your friend's home. They do eggs particularly well, make good fries, and use a lot of local produce. The best bread is from Fervere at 17th and Summit, but no desserts or pastry there. As for ethnic eats, I'd second the recs of One Bite, Cho Ga or Rainbow (where some dishes will also qualify for cheap eats.) One that hasn't been mentioned is Flavor of India, where they make both northern and southern cuisines. It's on 87th just west of I35, fairly new and undiscovered as of yet. I'm afraid I can't be much help with other categories. Hope you enjoy your stay, and please tell us about any highlights. We love feedback!

                        1. re: amyzan

                          I have a few quick questions regarding Justus Drugstore (I hope this is not too off topic). Do they have tasting menus available? If so, what is the cost and can they accomodate vegetarian tasting menus?

                          1. re: michaelstl

                            I'd suggest you call ahead. I've not seen tasting menus, but it's worth asking in advance. http://www.drugstorerestaurant.com

                            1. re: michaelstl

                              I wouldn't go to Justus Drugstore and ask for anything "special". Jeff Justus yelled at me for putting cracked pepper on my chowder. I've eaten there since then, but the ticket times keep getting longer and the service worse. They also lost the fabulous pastry "chef" they had in the beginning. The desserts have never been the same.

                              1. re: inbiz

                                You know, this is the second story I've heard about the chef there! I called ahead because I have allergies, to be sure I wouldn't have to ask for subs, and everything went fine. But, yeah, he seems to have a bit of a reputation, which is unfortunate. We didn't have dessert last time we were there fall '08, because I had a cake at home waiting. I'm glad to know to make another home dessert next time we go!

                                We were there on a weeknight, if I recall accurately, and though dinner wasn't totally smooth in its timing, we had no complaints. I wonder if it's worse on the weekends?

                                On Pachamama's, I remember some discussion here lamenting the loss of the old location. Some hound went and had an underwhelming experience in the new site, though that may have been a good while ago. We just didn't like the fishbowl look of the new place, but we shouldn't let that stop us. Honestly, we are mostly in Lawrence during the day, and mostly eat lunch at Wheatfields since it's so reliable, accommodating, and reasonably priced.

                                1. re: amyzan

                                  I'm the one that wasn't as happy with Pachamama's after the move. And no I haven't been back since that visit shortly after the move. Lawrence has so many great local places to eat that are less expensive and less fish bowl like.

                                  Still saving my pennies to try Krause Dining some time!

                                  1. re: KansasTravel

                                    Krause was $300 w/gratuity per person last time we ate there. You might have to open a new line of credit. It is nice, but I swear Pach's has better food and I leave there quite sated for around $50. If you want to read something funny, look up Justus Drugstore on Yelp.

                                    1. re: inbiz

                                      I was hesitating at the $140/prson for food and wine before tax & gratuity I thought it was.

                                      1. re: KansasTravel

                                        It was a b-day celebration. We had every addition to the prix fixe menu possible and expensive wine. We also left 30%. I'm sure reasonable people could get out of there for much less. It's still crazy, though.

                                  2. re: amyzan

                                    We've been three times, all on Saturday nights- every year for our anniversary. We've had nothing but good experiences and exquisite food. My only complaint last time was that it was absolutely freezing- difficult to be romantic when your teeth are chattering! ;-) At any rate, we've spoken with the chef 2 out of the 3 times and I cannot imagine him pitching a fit for any reason. Not saying that it's not true, but he sure seemed laidback and down to earth. I love his passion for local foods and the ability to find amazing ones at that.

                                  3. re: inbiz

                                    I loooooooove Justus. I've been three times (I live in CA, so that says something!)...and it's been awesome every time. I hope your experience was an off-night!

                                2. re: amyzan

                                  That's funny. I grew up down the street. Hasn't anybody on this site ever eaten at Pachamama's? It's never mentioned. The service, atmosphere, ticket times and surrounding town trump Justus Drugstore easily. The only reason I'm quibbling is because it would take less time to get to Lawrence than Smithville, especially from south KC. Jeff Justus can put out some good food (albeit excruciatingly slow), but there are just too many other problems w/eating there. Another caveat- forget about having anything to drink and driving back from Smithville.

                                3. re: inbiz

                                  I googled it and I think it's also called foxtrot?

                                  1. re: malyna

                                    Foxtrot, yeah, I think that's the same neighborhood. East of State Line and south of 435, right?

                            2. 1. Oklahoma Joe's. Unless you want burnt ends, then LC's.
                              2. El Cipote (Mexican and Latin American).
                              3. One Bite (Jpn), Cho Ga (Krn), Masala's (Indo/Chin), Blue Koi (Mission Farms).
                              4. Blue Stem.
                              5. Lydia's (brunch).
                              6. Andre's.
                              8. Too tough to call. All based on mood and who is with me.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: jm054

                                Unless you want burnt ends.
                                Well, if you want KC, you want burnt ends. And I agree, you want LC's burnt ends.
                                After, you can wonder why you rarely see burnt ends outside of Kansas City. Everyone else does.

                                1. re: Bobfrmia

                                  Bob, the burnt ends at Gateway Market in Des Moines are pretty good, actually. I also love burnt ends. Ordered them at Gates and wasn't impressed. Haven't been to LC's yet...

                                  1. re: jhojati

                                    I like Gates a lot. But the last time I ordered their burnt ends they tasted like scrapings from the bottom of the smoker, with a little extra fat thrown on top for good measure.

                                    I do like their brisket though. Never again on the burnt ends.

                                    And what's with that peach flavored tea crap?

                                    1. re: chileheadmike

                                      Exactly my experience with the burnt ends. Seemed like the spooned out what was on the bottom of a roasting pan. I wasn't impressed. Not like I won't be back, just won't order that. I have yet to be disappointed by OK Joe's

                                    1. re: ulterior epicure

                                      I recently ate the burnt ends at LC's, and they were a disaster. Mostly fat, no bark at all - just very slimy meat. I was so disappointed.

                                      1. re: jhojati

                                        So sorry to hear that. I think the most troubling thing with barbecue restaurants is the lack of consistency.

                                2. No to Smokehouse. It has its fans, but I think they are mostly people that don't eat a lot of que.

                                  Jack Stack is good, but I think that LC's is much more what you are looking for.

                                  Korean: Chung's Rainbow Restaurant Overland Park.
                                  Indian: Indian Palace in OP or Swagat Fine Indian Cuisine in KC up north
                                  Thai: Thai Treasure Restaurant in south OP
                                  Salvadoran: El Pulgarcito Restaurant in Merriam
                                  Venezuelan: Red Beans and RIce in Kansas CIty, Kansas

                                  I second the vote for Andre's for Dessert/Bakery. Either the KC, MO or OP locations.

                                  You didn't ask fo this, but Strouds with locations in KC, MO and Fairway, Kansas is a local institution with great family style fried chicken and smoked pork chops. The KC location has more atmosphere.

                                  I haven't made it there, but I think you should also try Justice Drug Store in Smithville, MO. It might be the fine dining highlight of your trip.

                                  1. One of the local foods that I don't recall seeing (i'm a transplanted east coaster) is a pork tenderloin sandwhich - sounds like Kitty's Cafe has a good one. I think you'll find it mentioned on these boards somewhere or google it Jerrys Woodsweather Cafe has an enormous burger as well as pork tendlerloin - great value there.

                                    1. Oklahoma Joes
                                    2. Cheap eats - nice food, One Bite and La Bodega (tapas - fun place); burgers, sandwiches, etc - Jerry's mentioned above or Kitty's
                                    3. Ethnic you've got covered above - KCK
                                    4. Fine dining = Bluestem
                                    5. Breakfast/Brunch - Lidia's, Grand Street Cafe or Classic Cup
                                    6. Dessert...???? Chocolate Bag at McCormick & Schmicks?
                                    7. Happy hour at Bluestem is a great deal for food and drinks
                                    8. I don't have a fave - i love to try it all

                                    1. #8 - Blue Koi on 39th street. Food, atmosphere and service combine for a very pleasant experience.

                                      1. 1. BBQ. As a transplant from Chicago, I don't have the BBQ "chops" that a lot of these guys (and gals) on the board have. That being said...Jack's Stack's Lamb Ribs, Pit Beans and Cheesy Corn Bake remain one of my favorite meals in KC. But, I also love Oklahoma Joe's and Arthur Bryant's (unfortunately, AB can be very hit or miss).

                                        2. Cheap eats - Grinders and Extra/Virgin's half price happy hour (which I see you've already got on your radar).

                                        4. Fine Dining - Justus Drugstore and/or bluestem. I have had stellar meals at both. Personally, I'd give the slight edge to Justus. (My husband thinks I give the edge to Justus because their wine pours are bigger.)


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Mushroom

                                          Mushroom, I run a social networking group for winos here in Providence. A big wine pour is definitely a plus in my book ;-)

                                        2. 8. Foo's Fabulous Frozen Custard is a great dessert spot. They have Christopher Elbow chocolates, frozen custard and a pastry case. You can get a decent (if somewhat expensive) sandwich or cup of soup for lunch.

                                          Alternately, just go directly to the source and go to Christopher Elbow Chocolates in the Crossroads.

                                          1. You didn't ask for lunch but, we had a great lunch and dessert at a most surprising place-the Mission Road Antique Mall. Sandwiches, quiche, soups and dessert-all home made. I had some delicious carrot cake with pineapple cream cheese filling and toasted coconut topping. They are closed on Sunday I think.
                                            I do like JackStack for the lamb ribs.
                                            If walk around the city market, there are all kinds of different places.
                                            I used to really like Napolean's but haven't been since they changed hands.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: wekick

                                              We just got a box of Napoleon's pastry at work last week. It's different. Less sugary (like) but quite crisco-y in flavor now (did not like)

                                            2. In response to all the BBQ suggestions...

                                              I just read that Anthony Bourdain (who I have a huge old man crush on) said that OK Joe's was one of the 13 places you should eat before you die. I think I will have to go!

                                              1. Hi,

                                                Combining #'s 2 & 3, Vietnam Cafe at 39th & Rainbow, K.C., Ks. by K.U. Med Ctr. has wonderful food at very reasonable prices. Lovely people working there are very helpful explaining anything unfamiliar.

                                                #8--my favorite for fried chicken, hands down, is Peachtree Buffet on Eastwood Trfwy., right off of I-435 (close to the stadiums). All their food is delicious and they keep the food fresh on the buffet. Wonderful mac & cheese and greens too. Peach cobbler and bread pudding are great and not too upscale as I read on another posting! They have a new place in Lee's Summit which might be closer to you (or not) but I don't know if it's a buffet.

                                                1. 1. danny edwards, although not the same atmosphere since the move... thanks P$L.
                                                  2. govenor stumpys-not great, but cheap and fun. maybe harry's country club river market/mixx
                                                  3. lulu's noodle shop-crossroads/downtown
                                                  4. blue stem/grand st.
                                                  5. sharp's in brookside/eggtc/classic cup
                                                  6. babycakes-rivermarket
                                                  7. john's big deck downtown (not so much a place for wine) / jp wine bar or elsewhere.
                                                  8. leo's pizza-gladstone, one of 3? pizza places in the kc area that uses provel that im aware of.

                                                  1. Hope this isn't too late, because I'm right! ;)

                                                    Kansas City barbecue is the signature food, without question. I'm not a fan of Arthur Bryant's or Gates, but they serve it in the quintessential style. You can do a lot better than Jack Stack or Smokehouse (see below).

                                                    1. Oklahoma Joe's or Danny Edwards. I'd consider nothing else. I don't believe Danny's open for dinner at all.

                                                    2. Vietnam Cafe in Columbus Park, east of the City Market. Never had a bad bite there out of many thousands. Hovering right around the $8 mark is Farmhouse, just west of the City Market. They're new, but I've had several good meals there, and one very good one. Souperman has "sanditos," which are traditional sandwich combos on a panini grill inside a tortilla, served in combos for $7, I think, with your choice from about a dozen house-made soups. Some are knockouts (if you wanna splurge, the brisket and blue cheese will do you in, and the peanut chicken soup is something I dream about). A few fall flat (chef Rob doesn't believe in strict recipes, so you'll occasionally get a dish that's nothing like the last time you had it). But the people are nice, and the selection truly great.

                                                    3. Tropicana, a paleteria with several outposts around town. The chilindrina -- oh my god. If you get way out south, Ruchi has wonderful southern and northern Indian too. Lots of people like Korma Sutra in Westport. I don't. Up near the airport, Malay Cafe is worth a special trip, especially for the almond chicken, sambal shrimp or one of the salads. Amazingly nice people serving all the delicious cooking.

                                                    4. Room 39, Justus Drugstore up north in Smithville (best bang for the buck, hands down -- ignore the naysayers and don't ask for black pepper), Starker's, or the American. Room 39 is very low-key, and you wouldn't be terribly out of place in jeans at Justus. Michael Smith is inconsistent, in my opinion. I once had a blue crab-stuffed lamb meatball there that I could barely swallow. Again, Room 39.

                                                    5. On Sundays, Bistro 303 in Westport (a gay bar by night with one of the finest chefs in town). Other days, Room 39. I'd avoid Succotash, partly because of the disgusting burnt chicory coffee.

                                                    6. Andre's Confiserie Suisse south of the Plaza. Nothing else touches it for sweets. For bread, Fevere. Retail available till sold out on Thursday thru Saturday only. I've never had better bread in North America.

                                                    7. More places than I can mention. This is a cheap city to drink in! Price-wise, JP Wine Bar stinks, but the quality is usually pretty high. Watch portions in the flights, and speak up if they short you! They consistently underpour. Avoid the Drum Room downtown. Poor knowledge, unfathomable prices for KC.

                                                    8. Room 39 is where I'd go for my last meal, particularly when Ted is cooking fish, or when I want the best hamburger I've ever eaten. But honestly, Vietnam Cafe is up there too.

                                                    1. Check out the book eat.shop kansas city. All solid recs in there save 1924 and Blue Grotto. If you decide to try Justus Drug store, go earlier in the week. It might make the ticket times more reasonable and the service more tolerable. The ridiculous trek, however, will be the same.

                                                      1. 1. BBQ -OKie Joes
                                                        2. Cheap Eats (under $8 for an entree) ???
                                                        3. Ethnic (Asian, Mexican, Indian, etc. - I eat everything!) - Taquiria Mexico on Blvd - best Mole Enchiladas, La Bodega,
                                                        4. Fine Dining - Rm39 - the best by far, the owner/chef spent several years in NYC at Union Square Cafe - all local and fresh ingredients, Justus is good - drinks are excellent; Il Centro or Carmens in Brookside for Italian
                                                        5. Breakfast/Brunch - again Rm39, Eggcetera
                                                        6. Dessert/Bakery - Andre's,Napolean's in Westport
                                                        7. Reasonably priced drinks/wine - The Well in Waldo, Blue Grotto, JJs has the best wine list - some reasonably priced
                                                        8. Your absolute favorite KC restaurant - Rm39, LaBodega, Taquiria Mexico - orange place on the Blvd.

                                                        Thanks in advance!

                                                        1. 1. Oklahoma Joes or Danny Edwards
                                                          2. Grinders by all means!
                                                          3. Las Fuentes in Independence
                                                          4. hmmmm....dunno
                                                          5. Corner Cafe
                                                          6. Andre's

                                                          1. Hello Everyone,

                                                            I just got back from my trip to Kansas City. It was great! Thank you everyone for your suggestions. Unfortunately, I couldn't visit all the places that were recommended - there were just too many of them! Also, I had to be respectful of my host and where she wanted to go. Here's the rundown of where I ate and what I thought:

                                                            Manifesto (1924 Main, KCM) - This bar gives a nod to the speakeasy era. You have to go around back and be buzzed in, which I guess contributes to the speakeasy feel of the place. I'm on the fence on whether I think the feigned exclusivity is cool or arrogant. The decor was beautiful and I loved the dim lighting - very cozy! Drinks on the menu were expensive at $11 a pop. The cocktails were delicious and unique, and I could tell how much love had gone into making them. My only real complaint was our waitress, who spoke to us as if she were a kindergarten teacher, and was not very knowledgeable about the drinks served. The manager realized this, and did some damage control by serving us the rest of the evening.

                                                            Happy Dragon (1230 W 103rd St, KCM) - They had a pretty decent Chinese lunch buffet at $10/person (including my drink). Their selection wasn't as big as some other Chinese restaurants' buffet, but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. The most important thing to me is that the food is fresh and decent in a Chinese buffet restaurant, and they accomplished that here.

                                                            one 80 lounge (Westport) - We stopped in here for a quick drink and snack after the Westport Arts Festival. I ordered the "360", which was a pomegranate martini and we shared a calamari app served with two types of sauces. The martini was made well, and the calamari was also cooked perfectly. I just wish it had been seasoned a tiny bit more.

                                                            Korma Sutra (Westport) - I really wanted to like Korma Sutra, but it was hard for me to. The food was not bad by any means, but I had high expectations with all the rave reviews it had received. I ordered the chicken tandoori (it was too dry) and the lamb curry (not spicy at all when we had ordered it to be hot). I thought the complimentary apps, dessert, and chai were nice touches. Plus, the bottles of wine were really cheap for a restaurant.

                                                            Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar (Westport) - It was fun to sing the songs that people had requested to be played on the piano, and the drinks were reasonably priced. I was completely turned off, though, when everyone in the bar shouted out "You bitch, you slut, you whore" several times throughout the evening when a woman walked near the piano. It was supposed to be comedic, but I found it offensive.

                                                            Miss B's (Louisburg, KS) - No-frills breakfast place. I ordered the biscuits and gravy. I'm not a b&g connoisseur, but I thought it was pretty tasty here. We were a party of 6, and the bill was less than $30!

                                                            Louisburg Cider Mill - They had a really cute store with a lot of stuff to look at. I liked that you could watch the cider donuts being made, and they are to die for! Sweet, but not too sweet, and so soft. My mouth is salivating right now just thinking about it...

                                                            Somerset Ridge Vineyard (Somerset, KS) - I was surprised at how many different types of wine they produced. The tasting was good - the person working was very knowledgeable about the wines, although she was a bit reluctant to have us taste all of the wines (please be less stingy!). Overall, I thought the wines were not too complex and were very drinkable. We shared a bottle of the Buffalo Blush on the vineyard grounds, which was nice.

                                                            Extra Virgin (1900 Main, KCM) - If I lived in KC, this would probably be one of my favorite restaurants. The tapas that I thought were good were: crispy duck gizzards, baked pasta formaggi, sauteed tiger shrimp, chorizo & fig filled chicken thighs, and black bean & cheese empanada. I didn't like Turkish lamb kebabs and grilled oyster mushrooms (both were bland). The gazpacho was just okay for me - I would have liked the chunky kind vs. the smooth and creamy they had served here. The decor was trendy, and the service was good. The only drawback would be the weak drinks (I ordered a honey and basil mojito, and none of the flavors come through... including the alcohol).

                                                            McFaddens (Power and Light) - My friend had warned me about the bad reputation that the P&L district had taken on (regarding their treatment towards minority patrons), but we decided to go anyway just because I hadn't been on my previous trips to KC. I had never seen so many people crowded in one place go drinking! To be honest, it was a little overwhelming for me (and I consider myself a city girl). Anyway, we have a McFadden's in Providence so I wasn't that excited to go there. My partner, who is of mixed races, was refused service at this McFadden's location. He had ordered a Malibu and pinapple for me, but the bartender said he didn't have any pineapple juice left (even though my friend JUST ordered that same drink from a different bartender). My partner also asked for a Hennessey and coke. Of course, they didn't have ANY types of cognac. Then, my partner asked for a Jack and coke. They didn't have this either! It was so ridiculous, we only were served our requested drinks AFTER my friend confronted the bartender. We left after the first drink... it is very likely I will be coming back to Kansas City, but probably won't be returning to the P&L district.

                                                            Gates - I really wanted to go to OK Joe's for BBQ (I had read it was on Anthony Bourdain's list of Top 13 Places to Eat Before You DIe), but we were really bad at planning and planned for BBQ on Sunday, when OK Joe's was closed. We decided to go to Gates instead. It was decent. They were out of both burnt ends and long ends (disappointing) so I ended up ordering a pork sandwich with fries and short ends. I though the classic sauce was good. The fries sucked because some were not cooked all the way through (ice cold in the middle, yuck).

                                                            So there was my trip! Thanks again for everyone's input. I will definitely be saving this list for the next time I'm in KC and hopefully will be able to visit some new restaurants!

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: malyna

                                                              I'm so sorry for your experience at the Kansas City Power and Light District. It has been continuing to have a bad reputation for that type of thing.

                                                              1. re: malyna

                                                                Regarding Ernie Biggs, I think you might have missed the lead-up to the phrase that goes, "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, you ... ". I'm not sure why they frequently sing it, but I've never been under the impression it was because of someone walking by the piano. I've been to dueling piano bars in a couple of other cities and they do the same thing.

                                                                1. re: malyna

                                                                  Wow, you fit in a lot! Good variety- I hope you had a great time!

                                                                  I'm so sorry about your P&L experience... I will never be setting foot in that establishment.

                                                                  1. re: malyna

                                                                    In re: Gates....

                                                                    Gates used to not have a pork sandwich. They added it to the menu a while back, but pork sandwiches are not what KC is really known for (unlike some southern BBQ). Their fries have always sucked, too. They proudly cook those nasty frozen fries...but never long enough.

                                                                    1. re: rubinow

                                                                      While I agree with your opinion of the fries at Gates, I have heard many people say they really like them.

                                                                      I am not big on ham, but like their's more than most. I think their best product is the brisket.

                                                                      1. re: rubinow

                                                                        Are you sure on the pork thing at Gates? Seems to me they've had sliced pork for as long as I can remember. I always get the brisket so I'm not 100%.

                                                                        I think you're way off base about the fries. Every time I eat there the fries are hot, fresh, cooked well done and crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. We must have totally different expectations on fries. I'm curious, what is your experience with them?

                                                                        1. re: chileheadmike

                                                                          I've always had good luck with the fries, too. They're obviously Sysco style frozen steak fries, but I've always gotten them burn-your-mouth hot and extra crispy. We're usually at the Gate on Main or the one east of the Plaza.

                                                                          And, like you, I always get brisket or burnt ends. We got a combo plate once and got pork. It wasn't really my cup of tea -- prefer it pulled.

                                                                          1. re: heatherkay

                                                                            I am usually at the Gates on State Line in Leawood. Usually get the combination platter which is beef, ham & ribs). I am normally not a big ham fan, but like the ham at Gates.

                                                                          2. re: chileheadmike

                                                                            They've had ham forever. I went once (and this was a long time ago and I haven't lived in KC for a long time anyway) and they had a sign saying "WE NOW HAVE PORK". That always confused me until someone pointed out that they meant "pulled pork". But, I never confirmed this b/c I never ordered it. So, I could be totally wrong, but that's what I thought of when the OP talked about her pork sandwich.

                                                                            As far as fries, it's all a matter of taste...but to me, they've always been too limp, too cold, not seasoned enough, and not cooked enough. Do you have to order them crispy? Maybe that's my problem.

                                                                            1. re: rubinow

                                                                              Honestly, the experience with their fries is exactly the opposite of yours. I usually go to the 103rd and State Line store during lunch. I've never asked for anything special, well except for non-peach flavored iced tea.