To many, Kansas City is synonymous with jazz music, wheat production, cows, and barbecue. While the arts and the agricultural industries are deeply ingrained in the culture of this west Missouri city, it’s that last item that we listed that we’ll be honing in on in this video.
Not only is Kansas City a town full of expert pitmasters, gloriously imaginative artists, and nimble-fingered musicians, but it also has a thriving – and amazingly diverse – culinary scene that spans numerous cultural influences. Identifying the best cuisine in the Kansas area is no easy task – and we’re not even going to attempt to provide you with a ranked list of it’s best offerings – but what we will do is give you a little rundown of what we believe are some of the best restaurants and BBQ joints in the city that has been nicknamed the Heart of America.
Viewcation Presents: Best Restaurants in Kansas City
Up first, we’ll cover a few of Kansas City’s best BBQ joints before venturing out into more adventurous culinary waters.
Pitmaster Mitch Benjamin shows off his A-game as he presents his unique blend of smoke and culinary magic to the hungry patrons of this historic Westport restaurant. The majority of Char Bar’s sandwiches and BBQ platters feature a mile-high pile of freshly smoked and mouth-wateringly tender meats in addition to a healthy assortment of award-winning sauces.
If you’ve got the time and appetite, we highly recommend ordering the Charred Bits & Grits appetizer. After you’ve stuffed yourself with some of the best BBQ this side of the Mississippi, you can grab a bottle of their signature sauces to share with your buddies back home. Although, if we’re being honest, you very well might end up hoarding it all for yourself. Yes, it’s that good.
Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue
You’d be nuts if you visited Kansas City and didn’t try at least of few of their famous BBQ joints. While Char Bar definitely delivers the goods, Joe’s is also one of the better smoke joints in town, serving up the good stuff. We recommend trying their two-meat BBQ dinner with ribs and brisket. That way, you can sample a little bit of everything.
If you’re more in the mood for a sandwich, place an order for the Z-Man. This offering features an enormous pile of tantalizing brisket served with smoked provolone cheese and onion rings on a fresh-baked Kaiser roll. Just so you’re warned, by the time you leave, you’ll probably have to loosen up your belt a few notches!
Like it’s name implies, everything on the menu at this KC landmark, well, slaps!
This unassuming restaurant might not look like much, but ever since it opened in 2014, Slap’s has been serving KC residents and out-of-town foodies alike a phenomenal selection of smoked, charred, and grilled meats that hold no punches.
Like we said, there’s nothing all that flashy about the place. It’s clean, but very casual, so expect to receive your meal in a styrofoam box accompanied with little plastic cups for their self-serve signature sauces. Before we continue, we’ve just got to point out that their spicy sauce is downright astonishing. You can go ahead and skip the sweet stuff if you don’t mind a little tingle.
Besides all the usual offerings like ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, Slap’s also offers diners an assortment of less-popular BBQ meats like Polish sausage and thinly-sliced turkey.
Before you visit, you should know that there is only outdoor seating, although in the colder months, the patio is covered and heated. Also, depending on what time of day you visit, there very well could be a long line, but rest assured that it tends to move fairly quickly. While you wait, the bar will be more than happy to serve you an ice-cold beer. Just don’t forget to tip.
Most sandwich shops take pride in their huge – and often quite overwhelming – menus. But Pigwich is a different breed of sandwich shop. They have a significantly smaller sized – or perhaps we should say focused -menu that features bonafide bangers like cheesesteaks, burgers, banh mi, cornflake fried chicken, and their signature Pigwich, which is topped with pulled pork, provolone, slaw and a housemade BBQ sauce that is out of this world.
No matter what you choose, you’re destined to have a great meal. Just make sure you arrive with an empty bell and an open mind!
It doesn’t take a local to realize that there is an overabundance of BBQ joints in town. In order to set itself apart from the rest of the pack, Q39 has come up with a menu of BBQ classics that all seem to hit the ball out of the park.
Some of their best dishes include the charred and smoked chicken served with a generous squeeze of BBQ sauce that will make you’re knees turn to jelly. Then you have the pork belly, which melts in your mouth. One of our favorite items we tried, however, was the sausage corn dogs.
Each chef-driven menu item is served with your choice of sides, and entrees are cooked over a smokey wood fire, giving them a flavor that will knock your socks off.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best BBQ options in town, let’s move on to some other flavors that are well-represented in KCMO.
Corvino Supper Club
This supper club and tasting room can be found in Kansas City’s Crossroads neighborhood. Corvino is a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion, be it an anniversary, graduation, or engagement. But even if you don’t have anything in particular to celebrate, it’s an equally wonderful spot to enjoy a unique night out in the Big City with someone special.
The dramatic restaurant offers guests a couple of options to choose from. You can either dine in the main dining room or you can order from a handful of shareable plates to enjoy with friends in the tasting room. There, the kitchen becomes your own little private theater. As you sip on cocktails, wine, or craft beer, you can watch as the team creates a meal you’ll not soon forget.
Corvino serves upscale American cuisine that doesn’t necessarily require you to shell out an arm and a leg. While it might not be the most spellbinding or trendy establishment in KCMO to be featured in this video, it’s still best to make reservations in advance.
Few things in life are as beautiful – or delicious – as a piping hot pizza straight out of one of Il Lazzarone’s hand-built, wood-fired ovens. These rustic pizza incubators actually can trace their origin back to Naples, Italy.
Each pizza cooks for a little under 90 seconds, so you won’t have to sit around waiting for very long from the time you place your order to the moment that you sink your teeth into what very well might be one of the best pies of your life.
Topping options are plentiful. From the house signature pie, the Crepa. which is loaded with fresh mozzarella, applewood bacon, balsamic glaze, extra virgin olive oil, and cloves of garlic, to the classic Margherita, everything at this spot is absolutely delectable.
This Kansas City staple is housed in a former railroad house and is located just a short stroll north of the city’s historic Union Station. Lidia’s has a vibe that’s strongly reminiscent of a quaint old Italian farmhouse. The hand-blown glass chandeliers help set the warm tone for the Northern Italian-inspired menu that’s brought to you by the award-winning celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich.
Really, regardless of what you order, you’re sure to have an extraordinary meal, but we were quite pleased with the grilled bone-in ribeye that we ordered. Another popular option is the pasta trio which features unlimited portions and a rotating variety of recipes.
Gram & Dun
If you’re searching for a place that’s sure to wow your party, either for dinner or brunch, Gram & Dun covers both of those bases quite nicely. The restaurant is beautifully adorned and furnished and the food itself is chef-driven yet still very approachable.
On the menu, you’ll find dishes like coffee-crusted ribeye and loaded baked potato gnocchie. If the weather permits, be sure to ask for a patio seat as Gram & Dun’s outside seating is some of the best in the city.
One thing that Midwestern restaurants know how to do expertly well is serving up soul-nourishing food in a nice comforting setting. And we’ve just got to hand it to them, Rye is a perfect example of that principle in action! Diners can enjoy menu items like BBQ rub-dusted pork rinds or their claim-to-fame fried chicken while enjoying craft cocktails that are every bit as artful as they are tasty.
Mickey’s Hideaway has been described as a faux speakeasy that features a menu that is difficult to pin down to just one style. It’s home to a team of award-winning bartenders that know their stuff. Pretty much any drink that you choose will hit all the right spots. As far as food goes, entrees span from fish tacos to Korean short rib fries to jackfruit masala. Pro tip: come on Thursday evening to enjoy some live music.
Jax Fish House
Despite being a landlocked town literally hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean, Jax Fish House has somehow figured out a way to serve sustainably sourced seafood that’s been cooked to perfection. The calamari, muscles, steaks, and pastas are all great choices, but the freshly shucked oysters are the real stars of the show. Other applaudable additions to the menu include the blue crab pasta, jumbo lump crab cakes, Mississippi catfish, and seafood chowder.
Town Topic Hamburgers
It doesn’t matter what city you’re in, there’s always that one local burger joint that’s seemingly been around since the beginning of time. A visit to this 24-hour diner-like restaurant serving up timeless classics like hot dogs, hamburgers, hot cakes, milkshakes, and floats for the last 75 years, is certain to leave a lasting impression.
Town Topic’s signature burgers are smashed ultra-thin and cooked until perfectly crispy. To get the full experience, try the local-favorite triple cheeseburger. Is it a little excessive? Sure! But you only live once, right? So, you might as well live it up!
That about wraps up our list of the best restaurants in Kansas City, but before we end this video, we’d like to hand the mic over to you.
Which Kansas City restaurant are you most excited to try, and if you’ve already had the pleasure of visiting Cowtown before, what are some of your favorite local eateries? Let us know in the comments, and as always thanks for watching Viewcationers!