Kansas City has been catapulted into the limelight thanks to the KC Royals’ incredible comeback to baseball. We’re known for our barbecue, but the quality and variety of our cuisines means there’s something for everyone.
Locally roasted coffee beans and toast baked fresh next door every day? Sign me up. Black Dog has been serving Kansas Citians our morning kick-starts and afternoon pick-me-ups “fur the love of coffee” since 2004.
2. Chez Elle
Chez Elle is a creperie and coffeehouse once frequented by Sporting Kansas City defender and native Frenchman Aurélien Collin before every home match. If authenticity isn’t your thing, they have Nutella.
Some of KC’s best food comes from a tiny former gas station, but don’t let that throw you off. Genessee Royale is a delightful little cafe with excellent brunch (bacon Bloody Mary, anyone?) and a simple, yet flavorful menu. A great choice for both breakfast or a quick lunch.
Empanada Madness is an authentic South American restaurant. Their arepas, cornmeal patties stuffed with meat and cheese, are what dreams are made of. If you stop by after a Royals game, you might just catch a few Royals players hanging out and eating lunch.
This post was supposed to be about all of KC’s great non-barbecue restaurants, but I would be remiss if Joe’s KC was left off the list. Formerly known as Oklahoma Joe’s, this is the OG (original gas station) of Kansas City barbecue. When you stop by, be sure to pick up a container of their special fry seasoning to take home. Put it on everything. Joe’s will change your life. Vegetarian? No problem. Go snag a Portobello Z-man and reintroduce barbecue to your life.
If you’re still hungry after stopping by Joe’s, hop next door to Taco Republic. Authentic street tacos brought to the middle of Kansas. Their motto is “mi taco, su taco” but one bite and you’ll be saying “su taco, mi taco” because you won’t want to share.
Local Pig is a butcher shop and charcuterie that sources all of their meat from local farms. Next door, they’ve opened up a sandwich shop with a daily special like the fried pork loin sandwich, served with housemade ranch and pickles and served on a pretzel bun. A drink and side of fries brings your total to $8, making this a great quick lunch or hangout.
8. Gram and Dun
Gram and Dun is located on the Plaza, one of KC’s coolest shopping and dining scenes. Craving mac and cheese but want to be an adult? They’ve got you covered with an incredible burnt ends mac and cheese and to round out your meal, you can opt for the PB&J pie. 10/10 adults and children would recommend.
9. Rye KC
The best fried chicken in KC and homemade pies. Great portions for sharing with friends, or not. I think that speaks for itself.
Founded in 1989, Garozzo’s Ristorante is home to the original Chicken Spiedini, a lemony and sophisticated twist on Italian kebabs. Another popular dish is the gnocchi, potato dumplings served in pesto or vodka tomato sauce. Great atmosphere and well worth the visit.
12. Beer Kitchen
Hand-cut truffle-Parmesan fries, cornflake fried chicken with a cheddar, bacon and chive waffle? I’ve literally passed up dates for this meal. Beer is in the name, so obviously their drink selection is on point.
Columbus Park Ramen Shop takes your typical broke college kid ramen and blows it out of the water. These are no appetizer soups – with traditional broth, veggies and various proteins, these bowls are going to fill you up and leave you coming back for more.
13. Lidia’s KC
Lidia’s Kansas City is owned by critically-acclaimed chef and television personality Lidia Bastianich. All pasta is made fresh in the restaurant, and expertly utilizes seasonal and local produce. Lidia’s is a KC icon and the perfect place to get your carb on.
Watch out Kentucky, with Stroud’s rounding out the top three of KC’s best fried chicken restaurants I think it’s safe to say Kansas has a good chance of taking away the “best fried chicken” title. Served family style, everyone picks an entree and passes around the sides like it’s Sunday at Grandma’s. Their cinnamon rolls are 65 cents a piece and melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
15. Justus Drugstore
Spoiler alert: This is no drugstore. Justus sources their menu entirely based on what their local producers can supply and crafts each dish with precision. Due to their dedication to their work, the meal takes several hours. 10/10 girlfriends would appreciate this as a romantic date night.
16. Doughnut Lounge
Doughnuts after dinner? Absolutely, especially when they’re served with an old-fashioned or a nice Boulevard Wheat. Or if you’re looking for a way to clear up your head after a night on the town, their “glazed and gravy no-dut” is your best friend. A sweet and light glazed doughnut served with savory sausage gravy and fried egg. Specialty doughnuts rotate daily, so you may have to stop by a few days in a row to make sure you sample everything.