It should come as no surprise that I spent my weekend in Kansas City eating delicious foods. What else do I do when I travel? Eating is the best part of exploring new places! And Kansas City was no exception! Especially with a local foodie to show me around, I got the insiders view to all of the KC favorites.
Room 39 — 1719 W 39th St
A cozy spot along an up-and-coming stretch of 39th street, Room 39 offers a standard breakfast and lunch menu with classic favorites like breakfast burrito and veggie quiche. The friendly staff and regular crowd make the place feel homey, and the food is great! I opted for a corned beef hash and fresh orange juice. The corned beef hash was perfectly portioned and exactly the salty, fatty breakfast dish I was looking for! And wow, I forgot how delicious fresh squeezed orange juice is!
Quay Coffee — 412 B Delaware St
A hipster coffee shop in the City Market area, Quay has all the signs of a cool spot — succulent plants, mounted antlers, Edison bulb lights, pin up letter board — but it holds its own with delicious coffee. I got a latte with a house made brown butter & sugar syrup. And it was awesome, the best I had in KC! It was such a tasty afternoon treat to power me through a night of bordaining around Kansas City.
Rieger — 1924 Main St
Located in the popular Crossings Neighborhood, Rieger is a cool hang out that offers a bar, restaurant and secret basement speakeasy. Their open kitchen and modern menu makes it a fun place to spend a few hours. As is standard with my bordaining adventures, we only ordered a few dishes — potato bread rolls, escargot gnocchi and bass crudo. The gnocchi, unfortunately, was not good at all. The texture of the gnocchi was all wrong and the sauce was flavorless. But thankfully, the crudo was absolutely incredible and it easily overshadowed the other dishes. The fish was fresh and well seasoned, topped with a flavorful cilantro gremolata, Thai chilies and a nutty aioli. I could have easily eaten 5 plates of this crudo. It was awesome!
Antler Room — 2506 Holmes St
Recently opened, Antler Room has been a well-received and highly anticipated new restaurant on the KCMO culinary scene. It has a beautiful wood panel feature wall and a comfortable bar, where I decided to eat. Their menu is primarily new American but the flavor combinations are interesting and surprisingly. I split a few dishes with my friend, including fried olives, chestnut & parsnip ravioli and my personal favorite, an onion pasta. The food was refined, creative and beautifully presented. The ravioli was bright, complex and earth, while the fried olives were comforting and salty. The onion past though was special. It was an onion ash pasta base with an onion sauce, pickled pearl onions and dried onion. It was an onion feast, but so delicious!
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que — 3002 W 47TH Avenue
Anthony Bourdain has featured this place on his show, so I knew it was the real deal. Part gas station, part awesome restaurant, there is nearly always a line out the door at Joe’s Kansas City. I ordered the fan favorite, Z-Man Sandwich, which has smoked pulled pork topped with provolone cheese, and two onion rings (see photo at top of blog post). How could this not be amazing, it’s cheese, onions and pork — and it was every bit the hype! The meat was so rich in flavor and moist, and the onion rings were perfectly fried. I also ordered a side of BBQ beans and seasoned fries, which were super good. This place is well worth the wait!
Mud Pie Vegan Bakery — 1615 W 39th St
On an increasingly popular stretch of 39th Street, Mud Pie Vegan bakery is a cute and sunny cafe that makes for a great (and local!) spot to pick up your morning coffee. I had a delicious and spicy chai latte, made with soy milk. I also shared a surprisingly moist and flavorful vegan pumpkin crumble bread, and sank into the incredibly comfortable couch inside. This would be an easy place to spend a morning.
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate — 1819 McGee St
Tucked into a nondescript strip mall in central KC, Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate shop is super simple and swanky on the inside. You’ll notice just one case of chocolate and a window into the work room. Although its pricey, I had a tasty little chocolate covered peanut butter patty and the best hot chocolate of my life here. That’s right, BEST! Called liquid chocolate, I ordered the simple Chocolate Noir. It’s just chocolate and milk. And Oh.My.God. The most rich, flavorful and creamy hot chocolate of my life. And you can get them with spices and herbs too! It was so decadent and the perfect end to my trip to Kansas City. I left with a tummy ache from all the sweetness, but it was soooo worth it!
The Westside Local — 1663 Summit St
A chic and inviting ambiance, you’ll walk into a simply decorated room with an exposed brick wall. They have a fairly extensive craft cocktail list, with both classic and custom options. I ordered “The Diane” and loved it! For appetizers, we shared a delicious (and perfectly dressed!) kale salad, complete with shaved brussels sprouts, slivered almonds, grated parmesan, fried shallots, caramelized bacon tossed in a maple-tahini vinaigrette. The kale tasted so fresh and crunchy, and the toppings paired perfectly with the bitter green. For entrees, I ordered a classic corned beef sandwich. From a local meat distributor, the meat was placed on top of a medium rye bread, served with melted white cheddar, carmelized onions, and slathered in a spicy thick grain mustard. My bread was a little soggy, but other than that this sandwich was perfectly. The flavors were bold yet perfectly balanced and the composed bite was so delicious. Served with a side of crunchy seasoned fries, this meal hit the spot.
Cafe Sebastienne — 4420 Warwick Blvd
Located inside the Kemper Modern Art Museum, Cafe Sebastienne is a hidden gem. They offer lunch and dinner in either the sun filled cavernous cafe or restaurant which is filled with art. I opted for the restaurant seating and loved my experience — it’s so fun to check out the floor to ceiling art that lines the walls of the restaurant. The food changes daily, so you’re bound to have a different menu than I did. But I diner there for a Sunday brunch and loved the tasty and rich croque madam I ordered. It was stacked with tasty ham, the mornay sauce was spot on and a layer of fig jam really elevated the dish. Service is a little slow but with lots to look at, you’ll hardly notice.
Thou Mayest — 419 E 18th St
A coffee roaster by day and cocktail bar by night, Thou Mayest feels cool. All of the lighting is industrial style fixtures, and the comfy leather couches are perfect for a night hanging with friends. We sat at the bar and ordered a variety of beers and cocktails. With lots of 7 craft beers and a menu of cocktails to choose from, get what you like. They’ve got the oldies (but goodies) listed with a modern twist. Whatever it is, it will probably be good!
Happy Gillis — 549 Gillis St
Once in the Italian quarter of town, this rehabbed and sunny corner restaurant is casual and delicious. You order up at the counter and they cook it right there. The menus is small, with only a few breakfast and lunch options, but you will want every one of them. I had such a hard time deciding, because they all sounded delicious! Lots of seasonal items graced the menu, including my favorite winter veggie– butternut squash! Jess and I split an order of biscuits and gravy, and I ordered a butternut squash sandwich. These BAGs (a slang term I just learned this weekend!) were some of the best I’ve ever had. The gravy was the creamiest ever with a slight spicy kick tossed with local ground sausage. And the biscuits…. so fluffy and flakey. This dish was rock star! And my sandwich was also quite tasty, topped with arugula, ricotta and walnut pesto.