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Nov 17, 2009 07:20 AM

BBQ KC (that we could bring a vegetarian to, and bring excellent leftovers home from)?

My husband, sister and I are visiting my ailing grandparents for the weekend in KC. We are all dreaming of BBQ though for different reasons. My sister and I want meat. My husband wants the grittiest experience possible (he isn't american and is particularly fascinated by hole in the wall american things.) He doesnt want any grilled tofu or anything, but some vegetarian friendly sides. Things that don't obviously have meat in them; I hoping he is too giddy to ask. He is prepared to eat just coleslaw, though in a pinch. My grandparents have lived in KC for years but arent huge bbq fans, but some excellent leftovers/take out would really make life a bit easier for them. Im not at all up on my KC geography and my cursory read of postings suggests that it is huge. We will be staying near brookside pkwy.


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  1. I'll let the KC locals hammer out the specifics for you but here' s a suggestion--Get your BBQ fix from Jack Stack (definitely NOT gritty but more vegetarian friendly) and then take your husband to a hole in the wall featuring some food other than BBQ. I can't reccomend any specifics but there have to be some hole in the wall Mexican or other ethnic restaurants that you could visit to get the experience.

    1. Rosedale BBQ includes sides like macaroni & cheese, corn on the cob, cucumber salad, and chessy baked potato salad.

      But my first choice for your combuination of requests would be Quick's Bar-BQ.

      Both are in Kansas City, Kansas, but not terribly far from the midtown area where you will be staying.

      1. I've never been a fan of Jack's Stack. It may be vegetarian friendly but it has table service, and maybe even table clothes.

        LC's is what you are looking for. Although they may put pig fat in the cole slaw (joking). Down and dirty with the best burnt ends on the planet. Stop off somewhere and get the vegetarian stuff on the way. Other than the fried mushrooms and onion rings, there isn't much to be had here.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chileheadmike

          And I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out they had been fried in lard.

          1. re: heatherkay

            Luckily, the mister is a 'dont ask don't tell vegetarian,' and I suspect the sheer joy of being at a gritty bbq restaurant will eclipse the "what is this coleslaw fried in?" Hopefully they are fried in lard and then he will say "those are the best mushrooms/coleslaw/onion rings ever. What did they do?" And then when they answer "LARD," he will be converted.

            We live in a rather ethnically diverse neighborhood in London, and will be spending some time in NYC. And I'm sure that this is pure prejudice on my part, but I suspect we can get hole in the wall ethnic better in either town. I know this is wildly off topic, but anyone know any good vintage clothing stores or mid century modern furniture warehouses?

            1. re: relizabeth

              If that's the case, then I think LC's is probably your best bet as well. Convenient to Brookside, excellent BBQ (get burnt ends), and the "grit" factor really cannot be overstated.

              You might also consider a trip to the original Arthur Bryant's at something like 12th and Brooklyn. It's a straight shot up US Highway 71 from Brookside. Some people have had better or worse experiences there, but I've never had a bad meal, and it really is the fount from which all BBQ flows. The story I've heard is that radio broadcasters working baseball games at the old Municipal ballpark could smell the smoke. This was the source of the national reputation. In any case, the food is great (in my opinion), the atmosphere is unbeatable, and the portions are beyond ample.

              I've had less luck with Rosedale BBQ and Quicks, but that might just be my experience.

              Not really much good BBQ near the best vintage clothing stores , which can be found on 39th Street at Pennsylvania, or in the vicinity of 39th and Mercier, although this neighborhood has a comfortable boho feel and some of the areas better Asian restaurants, a handful of good coffee shops, and one of the most popular divey restaurants (Fric 'n' Frac).

              Not much good BBQ near the better MMM furniture outlets, although some of the best high-end restaurants are near Retro Inferno (a MMM mecca at 1500 Grand) and Architectural Salvage (more deco than MMM at 2045 Broadway), including Michael Smith and 1924 Main. Also a few excellent places to get drinks. If you get to Architectural Salvage at 1221 Union in the West Bottoms (just like it sounds -- check out the website), you might hit up Woodswether Cafe for an excellent truck-stop breakfast and sandwichs, genuine blue-collar atmosphere, and an astounding amount of food.

              Hope I managed to get enough food content in and around those other travel recommendations.

              1. re: heatherkay

                BTW, Fric 'n' Frac has some good veg choices.

                One more idea. If you make it to Dottie Mae's, a fantastic costume/vintage shop at 83rd and Wornall, you should check out Swagger, a bar/restaurant right across the street. Just down the road from Brookside. Swagger is a dive bar with gourmet aspirations. Fantastic people watching (hipster+barfly+truck drivers, 21 to 75 years old), conscientious service, food that is dive bar in form but not in substance, and one of the best places in town to try out the full range of offerings from Boulevard, the local much-revered regional brewer. Swagger also has veg options. Your husband will not be disappointed with the food or the ambience.

        2. I think Oklahoma Joe's on the Kansas side of KC was a fun experience. Totally locals and it is in the back of a gas station. We knew it was good when there was a line out the door for the food! Have fun!

          1. I am sure that London and New York have much to offer that Kansas City does not have or has in a much more limited scope. For example, 1950's urban renewal destroyed Kansas City's Italian neighborhood, and Kansas City does not have a chinatown. However, neither London nor New York can offer Kansas City barbeque, the vast variety of Mexican restaurants, or Boulevard Brewery.
            The suggestions you have received about barbeque are all quite good; all are worth visiting. Mexican food is available everywhere, make your pick and take your chances.
            I don't know if you are beer fans but Boulevard is a local institution. Check out their website and take a tour.
            Another thing we have is southern/Midwest farm cooking. Check out Stroud's, Corner Cafe, or any number of cafes in the area.
            All in all, Kansas City is not London or New York, accept and appreciate us for what we are. I hope you enjoy your visit.

            4 Replies
            1. re: powillie

              Hole in the wall american things- Town Topic on Broadway at two or three in the morning.

              1. re: powillie

                THANK YOU! Mexican food is what we dream of in London. It didn't even occur to me that we can find good Mexican in KC. Will have to check it out. And the only problem with a trip to the brewery will be who will be the designated driver! I'm not sure what our ratio of family obligations to gluttony will be.

                1. re: relizabeth

                  You really can't go to the brewery just to drink, however, they offer tours several times a day on Thurs -- Sun (I think those are the days) and you get to visit the tasting room for about 45 minutes after the tour. However, you can find their beer all over the city. If you will be hanging out at the family's house it would be easy enough to pick up something to drink at home (I recommend sampling the Smokestack series!) There are several good Mexican restaurants on Southwest Blvd near the brewery, so that could perhaps be an event that's tied together. Most of the Mexican restaurants are definitely hole in the walls. I like La Fonda on SW Blvd and Summit.

                  Regarding barbecue, I'm a big Oklahoma Joe's fan. It also fits the hole in the wall bill since it is in a gas station. I tend to steer people away from Jack Stack. The food is fine (although, not as good as other places IMO), but the atmosphere is very polished and almost corporate feeling. Just not my cup of tea when there is better around.

                  Regarding vintage clothes, there is a cute little shop on 39th and around Wyoming called Donna's Dress Shop. They have new clothes that are vintage inspired as well as actual vintage clothes. Not huge, but they have developed a bit of a cult following.

                  Hope you enjoy your trip. We've got plenty of good food!

                  1. re: pollymerase

                    I love going to KC to dine, and there are always new places to check out. El Pollo Rey was a great Mexican grilled chicken place.

                    As to clothes, a place that I go to get stuff for my sister is Asiatica at 4824 Rainbow on the Kansas side of Stateline. They are not necessarily vintage but they do take vintage Asian clothes and rework them into contemporary designs. Beautiful stuff.