Kansas City has become a foodie destination. With its traditional restaurants, great barbecue spots and new restaurants opening almost monthly, you won’t go hungry. For my recommended barbecue restaurants, check out my post on The Best Barbecue in Kansas City, MO. My favorites by neighborhoods include:
The Westside Local: Located at 1663 Summit St., west of the Crossroads district and the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, this is a great, casual neighborhood restaurant supporting local farms and producers. It has exposed brick walls, a very creative menu and good service. There is an outdoor patio during warmer weather. We enjoyed a cheese and charcuterie plate and great entrees including chipotle salmon, quinoa with salmon, mussels and pork belly. I really liked the suggested parings of wine, beers and ciders with each entrée. I tried a great cider with my salmon that I would not normally have tried. This is one of several small restaurants in the neighborhood.
Blue Bird Bistro: This is a small, neighborhood bistro that has been there for 22 years. They feature organic food in a warm, casual environment. They offer, breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. They offer a menu featuring salads, burgers and entrees from salmon, beef to vegetarian options. I enjoyed a casual dinner with friends. 1700 Summit. I look forward to going back for brunch next time I am in town.
Chez Elle Creperie and Coffeehouse: At 1713 Summit, this casual spot is known for it French crepes. Located in a 100-year old converted theater, it is one of the best places for breakfast in the US according to Travel + Leisure Magazine. I enjoyed a great dessert crepe and a latte!!
New to the area is Goat Hill Coffee & Soda. It is a casual café offering artisanal coffee drinks, plus Italian sodas, sno-cones and baked goods. I stopped in for a latte when I was back in the neighborhood after lunch down the street. 811 W. 17th St.
Los Alamos Cocina: Formerly Los Alamos Market y Cocina, they feature Mexican cuisine in a casual setting. It is owned by Agustin Juarez, a delightful man from Guanajuato MX, not far from San Miguel de Allende. 1667 Summit.
Fox & Pearl: Chef Vaughn Good left his butcher shop/restaurant in Lawrence to open Fox & Pearl. It is located in an historic building at 2143 Summit St. on the westside. It has a wood-fired hearth that is the centerpiece of the restaurant and his menu. It was named 2019 Restaurant of the Year by Kansas City Magazine. Kristine Hull, owner, designed the interior using reclaimed architectural details. I enjoyed meeting her and loved my brunch. The fritata was excellent! It is one of my favorite new finds and I highly recommend it.
Just a little south of Fox & Pearl, along Southwest Blvd., are a number of Mexican restaurants, stores and bakeries. La Posada Mexican Food Products at 722 Southwest Blvd. has tamales and other food items. Make sure to stop in at the casual ice cream shop, Paletería Tropicana, at 830 SW Blvd. They have a great selection of homemade ice cream and paletas or popsicles. I loved the coconut ice cream!
Panaderia de las Americas is a fun bakery at 826 Southwest Blvd. featuring Mexican bread, rolls, pastries and tres leches cake.
Other spots include Pardo’s Grand Buffet Mexicano Restaurant & Taqueria at 904 Southwest Blvd., El Pueblito for Mexican cuisine and tacos at 810 Southwest Blvd. and Abarrotes y Tortilleria at 806 Southwest Blvd. for Mexican, Central American and South American products along with tortillas, tamales and snacks.
The Roasterie: This specialty coffee roaster provides coffee for espresso bars, coffeehouses, fine restaurants and grocery stores in Kansas City and beyond. The coffees are imported from 31 countries and are air-roasted for great flavor. I have enjoyed the Brookside location, at 6223 Brookside, in the past but my new favorite is their Factory Café at 1204 W. 27. In business for 20 years, this facility contains their offices, roasting plant, store and café. I love the decor featuring a photograph of a Lockheed Constellation airplane. There is also an airplane above the plant that is visible throughout the neighborhood. There are free tours and tastings available.
WESTPORT AND MIDTOWN
Twin City Tavern: A local favorite of my brother and his friends, this is a casual pub from the 1930s at Westport Rd. and State Line. They serve a menu of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, pizzas and salads. They feature tacos on Thursday evenings. I had a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. The owner is delightful. 1815 Westport Rd.
Close to Twin City Tavern is Café Corazón located at 1721 Westport Rd. I recently went for lunch after reading about its Latin menu, coffee and pastries. I enjoyed the chicken tamales, a tasty cookie and a cajeta latte made witha type of Mexican dulce de leche or caramel. I also read an article in Feast Magazine, that have teamed up with local chocolatier Tyler Shane to create two chocolate bars under the Café Corazón name that are very good. I highly recommend it. The owners pay homage to their Argentinian, Native American and Mexican cultures of their families in their menus.
They recently opened a second location in the Crossroads Arts District in early 2022 at 110 Southwest Blvd. I went on my last trip and enjoyed another cajeta latte and a cookie.
Ça Va is a casual champagne bar in Westport that also features, wine, cocktails, French food and a Sunday brunch with pastries, crepes, quiche and beignets. I am excited to try it on my next trip. 4149 Pennsylvania.
The Julep Cocktail Club is known for its craft cocktails. They also feature food and small plates.
Broadway Coffee in Westport at 4106 Broadway is another good option for coffee as is Westport Coffeehouse at 4010 Pennsylvania Ave. It has been open for over 26 years.
My family enjoys Westport Cafe and Bar at 419 Westport Rd. for French-American fare. I am excited to try it for brunch on my next trip.
North of Westport is The Russell at 3141 Main St. I read about this new spot, in a rustic setting, as a new go-to place for lunch and made a point to visit it on my most recent trip. Open for lunch and brunch they are known for their food and pastries. They specialize in wood-fired cooking with most dishes cooked over an open flame. I loved the green pear salad and also the salmon and avocado toast. The tomato and burrata toast also looked great. I highly recommend that you stop in while in town.
In September, 2021. The Russell team recently opened a new concept, TAILLEUR, at 3933 Main St., in a space built in 1928. It has a European menu, including many French dishes, along with pastries and bakery items. The warm atmosphere is a classic design with many antiques featured. It has both indoor and outdoor patio seating. It is open for lunch and dinner. I enjoyed my lunch there with friends who joined me for a weekend wedding.
A block north of Tailleur is Boho Sway at Canary. Originally 0pened in 2021 as the Canary Bar + Bistro, this is a modern bistro, bar and rooftop patio. I went for cocktails on a beautiful October evening and really enjoyed the incredible views of the Plaza and downtown. It is located in the historic Netherland building at 3835 Main St. There is a supper club on the first floor.
Near the Russell, at 3216 Gillham Plaza Suite 100, is Billie’s Grocery. It features organic and nutritious food including bakery items, breakfast and brunch items, sandwiches, salads, bowls and more. I had the perfect smoked salmon bagel for lunch with my brother and a longtime friend. I enjoyed the contemporary décor.
Also a great spot for a treat is Lamar’s Donuts & Coffee at 3395 Main. St. They are part of a chain with locations in Missouri, Kansas , Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska. I loved the chocolate cake donut with coconut.
Recently opened is the fourth location of the Filling Station coffeehouse in Westport at 1010 Westport Rd.
Located at 1617 Main is Lula Southern Cookhouse. Opened in November, 2021 as a pop up restaurant, it is now a permanent restaurant that is opened for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Brunch is served on weekends. I enjoyed my seafood fritta and biscuits and jam. I also loved the fried oysters that my friend ordered. It is a popular spot, so I suggest booking before you go. In addition to the inside dining room, they have a lovely outside patio, which is a great option during the summer months.
Ragazza Food & Wine. This is a classic neighborhood Italian restaurant and wine bar located at 4301 Main. I had not been to this new location after it moved from Westport several years ago. I made a point to try it. They feature their family recipes and large wine list. I really enjoyed the experience.
THE COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA
Good choices on the Country Club Plaza include The Classic Cup Café and Kona Grill. Both are good. Just to the east is the famous Winstead’s for great hamburgers and Grand Street which I have enjoyed several times over the years. I recently tried the new Bo Lings which is a good spot for Chinese food and dim sum. They also have great takeout food as well.
I recently went back to Winstead’s after my nephew’s wedding with family and friends and enjoyed the food and atmosphere. Don’t miss the chocolate shake!
Nearby is Andre’s Confiserie Suisse: Andre’s has specialized in luxury Swiss chocolates and confections since 1955. They have a small café in front and a larger, traditional Swiss inspired restaurant in the rear. Their pastries and chocolates are wonderful. 5018 Main St.
Just to the south is a great new find, BLU HWY at 5070 Main St. With an emphasis on classic American cuisine, they have a lunch, brunch and dinner menu. I went for lunch where they have also have a two course menu with a starter and a main course. I had a kale salad with butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, toasted pecans and a maple vinaigrette along with a perfect BBQ smoked brisket sandwich along with cider slaw, pickets and fries with aioli. I would definitely go back.
A short distance from BLU HWY is Crows Coffee, one of three locations in KC, at 304 E. 51st St. Here you can find coffee and tea drinks, pastries, quiche and breakfast burritos. It is a fun casual spot.
At 4558 Main, is Café Trio which friends enjoy. Based on their recommendation, I went for lunch with a former business associate and enjoyed the experience.
Another local friend highly recommends Osteria Il Centro at 5101 Main for great Italian food and wine. I am excited to try it.
Rye, the great restaurant in Leawood, opened Rye Plaza at 4646 Mill Creek Pkwy. It is a great spot for a weekend brunch as it has a great bakery. Opened by Colby and Megan Garrelts of Bluestem in Westport, this was a James Beard Foundation finalist for Best Restaurant in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Best Chef Midwest 2013 and his wife for Best Pastry Chef.
The two stores on the Country Club Plaza for St. Louis based Kaldi’s Coffee, have closed and been taken over by Messenger Coffee Co. I always enjoy going to the 318 W. 47th St. location.
Just south of the Plaza is Stock Hill Grill at 4800 Main. It is known for it steaks and cocktails in a stylish contemporary dining room and bar.
THE CROSSROADS ARTS DISTRICT
Just east of the Crossroads Arts District is The Antler Room at 2506 Holmes. Named one of Bon Appetit’s America’s Best New Restaurants 2017, I had one of the best meals in the last year when I was back in town for the Holidays. They feature a number of small plates which is great since you really want to be able to taste a number of different dishes. I loved the broccoli baba ganouj with roasted root vegetables, umeboshi butter and dukkah. The cauliflower with squash sauce, almonds, pickled beets and apples was amazing as was the rigatoni with duck confit, spicy greens, mushrooms and ricotta. Don’t miss the octopus with curry spice, bitter greens, almonds, pickled onion and papadum plus the pappardelle pasta with endive, beet, candied orange peel and raw sheep’s milk cheese. I can’t wait to go back.
Café Gratitude: At 333 Southwest Blvd and Broadway, this is an eclectic organic, farm-to-table restaurant and café. Check it out as you explore the Crossroads area of galleries. They have a large selection of teas, smoothies, entrees and desserts.
Lidia’s Kansas City: Opened in 1998, by Lidia and Joseph Bastianich from New York, in an old railroad house in the Crossroads Arts District, this is one of my favorites in town. On my last trip, I enjoyed their Sunday brunch with a large buffet including gnocchi with duck ragout, spaghettini squash, pears, walnuts and endive, arugula salad and dessert selections. I always love the warm, old warehouse with exposed brick walls and glass chandeliers in the shape of grapes.
Grunauer: Located in the Crossroads district, this is a really good restaurant for Austrian specialties that is open for lunch and dinner. Their original restaurant is still serving similar food in Vienna. I had a perfect lunch of roast pork, red cabbage and a bread dumpling. They also serve Julius Meinl coffee which they get from their location in Chicago. The atmosphere is warm and very European. It is located at 101 W. 22nd St., next to Lidia’s and Jack Stack Barbecue – Freight House.
Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop, at 2030 Central, is a casual spot, featuring Thai street food, noodle and rice dishes plus sandwiches, wraps, bowls, curries, soups and salads.
Close to Lulu’s is a new find, Blvd. Tavern, at 320 Southwest Blvd. It is a casual gastropub, opened in 2015, serving American fare and cocktails. I went for Sunday brunch with friends and family and really enjoyed my smoked salmon eggs benedict while the shrimp & grits was also popular. They also have a small outdoor patio.
Grinders: A fun casual spot for salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pizza and grinder sandwiches. 415/417 E. 18th St.
Anton’s Tap Room: At 1610 Main, this restaurant, in the Crossroads Arts District, is getting good press including a great review in the New York Times. They feature an extensive list of craft brews and a butcher shop. There is even a tilapia and herb farm in the basement. They offer a menu featuring fish and pasta but are known for great dry-aged steaks and beef. I enjoyed my smoked brisket bahn mi sandwich for lunch and loved the atmosphere.
Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen: At 1526 Walnut, this is a great new find. This is a well-known wine bar, where you can enjoy great food in addition to great wines. I had a delicious meal with family and loved the kale salad with broccoli, Brussel sprouts, granny smith apples, almonds, dried cranberries and red onion. The salmon entrée was also excellent. I recommend going during happy hour when they offer discounts both on wine, cocktails and the menu items.
Two other great spots include Extra Virgin at 1900 Main for Mediterranean tapas and great cocktails. I loved the décor of Extra Virgin. They also opened the more casual, Farina for Italian specialties at 19 W. 19th St. at the corner of Baltimore. I hope to try it on my next trip!
Messenger Coffee Co. + Ibis Bakery: This is a large coffee shop and bakery located at 1624 Grand. You will find the bakery, coffee shop and café on the first floor, the roastery and seating on the second and an outdoor deck complete with fireplace on the third. It is a fun, happening spot.
Affare: Located at 1911 Main St. they are known for modern German dining. They have a sleek space with a large bar in the rear. The best deal is the $44 four course prix fixe dinner on Thursday evenings including wine pairings. I enjoyed a lovely meal with my nephew who works across the street. The menu for the night I was there included a hazelnut chicken terrine, a smoked salmon with golden raisin chutney crème fraiche and potato leek rosti plus a honey duck breast with butternut squash gnocchi and roasted Romanesco. The last course was a trio of desserts including flourless chocolate cake, almond-quince sponge and cranberry Bellini. What a great meal!!
Mildred’s Feed ‘Em Good is now across the street in a much larger location at 1901 Wyandotte. This is a great spot for coffee along with breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads.
Parlor: I was excited to try Parlor, a food hall that recently opened in the Crossroads Arts District. It is contemporary space on three floors that features casual dining options plus two bars. It has seven restaurants offering pizza, sandwiches, mac and cheese, fried chicken, burgers, Greek food, Mexican food and more. 1707 Locust.
Novel: Formerly located at 815 W. 17th St., they have recently opened to 1927 McGee. This sleek, contemporary new space is a big change from its original location in an historic house on the Westside where I went several years ago. This is a must visit restaurant when you are in town. In the new location, I had dinner with my brother and loved the duck entrée. It is known for its entrees, pastas and desserts.
Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room: This is a popular restaurant offering modern American cuisine, that also features a tasting room for multi-course tasting menus. I liked the live music, which they feature nightly, and the sleek design. I was a little disappointed in some of the menu choices due to spiceness which I was not able to modify, but did end up enjoying a good cheese burger and salad. 1830 Walnut St.
I enjoyed dinner at The Savoy at the 21c Hotel. I enjoyed dining at the historic Savoy as a child and loved the traditional design. It was a popular spot for famous patrons including Harry Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft and John D. Rockefeller. With the opening of the 21c in 2018, they kept many of the historic elements in the bar area and opened a new, contemporary dining room next to it. We opted to eat in the bar area surrounded by the dark green tiles and historic murals. After a big lunch of KC BBQ, I enjoyed a lighter meal of scallops and roasted Brussel sprouts. 219 W. 9th St.
Located downtown in the recently opened Hotel Kansas City is The Town Company on the first floor. It is an elegant space with an upscale menu of locally sourced ingredients. It is located in the former Kansas City Club where my parents belonged while I was growing up.
The hotel also has the Lobby Bar, the Lobby Café and a fun basement bar, the Nighthawk, located downstairs for live music, comfort food and cocktails.
In the Power and Light District downtown there are several options to try. For coffee I enjoyed PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. at 1310 Baltimore. Up the street at 106 W. 12th is Tavernonna for Italian food all day at the Hotel Phillips and just down the street is Providence New American Kitchen and the Drum Room at the Hilton Hotel President.
THE KANSAS SIDE
Recently opened just west of the Plaza is The Restaurant at 1900. It is located in an iconic building from 1966 that was the former headquarters of H.D. Lee Jeans. It has since been remodeled into offices, the restaurant as well as performance, event and conference spaces. There is a roof terrace as well. I thought the design was really outstanding. I also enjoyed dinner with my brother. The food and service were excellent. I highly recommend that you try it when you are in town. It is open for lunch and dinner during the week and dinner on Saturday evening. 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway.
Rye: Located south of Kansas City, in Leawood, KS, is Rye at 10551 Mission Road. It is owned by the same team as Bluestem. Chef Colby Garrelts is the 2013 James Beard award winner for Best Chef Midwest. Open for lunch and dinner, it is easier to get in for lunch. Featuring Midwestern cuisine, the lunch menu has soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and entrees. They are known for their fried chicken. The pulled pork sandwich with a side of grits and pickled cucumbers was excellent. The apple/pear tart was also worth the visit. The décor is a combination of old barn wood and a warm, contemporary style with open kitchen concept.
Story: Story is located in The Village Shopping Center at 3931 W. 69th Terrace in Prairie Village. It is a short drive southwest of the Plaza. This sleek modern restaurant features fresh, local seasonal creative American cuisine with Spanish, French and Italian influences. Carl Thorne-Thomas, chef and owner, was a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest. He was Food & Wine Magazine’s 2014 winner of The People’s Best New Chef award and their 2013 winner for The People’s Best New Chef: Midwest. Their special Sunday night entrees for $10 are a great bargain!
Hi Hat Coffee: Located at 5012 State Line Road, this is a tiny coffee spot loved by locals. They have a small number of indoor seats but a much larger outdoor seating area. Stop by next door, at 5006 State Line, for Annedore’s Fine Chocolates. They have a great selection of handmade chocolates.
The Roasterie: This local coffee roaster has just added a fun new location in Woodside Village at 2250 W. 47th Pl. With a similar airplane theme as the original, it is a fun spot to relax and enjoy the fun, contemporary atmosphere.
Three Bees Pottery and Coffee Shop: Just down the street from Rosedale BBQ, is this small, casual coffee shop and Mexican pottery store. I stopped in prior to my lunch and enjoyed a latte and cookie. 925 Southwest Blvd.
On 39th Street between State Line Road and Topping Avenue, here you will find d’Bronx Deli at 3905 Bell; a great deli that has been there for years. It also serves great pizza.
Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee, located in an old house at 1615 W. 39th, is a fun, local’s spot for coffee and vegan or gluten free treats that are excellent and very popular.
RM 39: Was so glad I heard about RM 39 at 1719 W. 39th. They feature a more casual breakfast and lunch and a more formal dinner menu. I opted for brunch and loved the frittata made with butternut squash, feta, mushrooms and greens. They feature local farmers and producers.
CRESTWOOD SHOPS AND BROOKSIDE
I always enjoy the Crestwood Shops, just south of the Plaza at 55th St. between Brookside Blvd. and Oak St. I like Aixois, a French restaurant and coffee bar and have been several times over the years. It is perfect for lunch or for a cup of coffee after a full day of exploring. The quiche is always good. They also have a nice outdoor terrace.
Heirloom Bakery & Hearth: Located at 401 E. 63rd at Oak just east of Brookside, this is a great bakery that also serves breakfast and lunch featuring soups, salads and sandwiches. They feature coffee and tea drinks, so it is a fun spot to grab a cookie or piece of pie with a coffee or pot of tea. They also feature locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Bella Napoli: I enjoyed dinner with family and friends at this casual spot in Brookside at 6229 Brookside Blvd. They have a deli, restaurant and coffee shop. They also feature excellent pastas, pizzas and Italian entrees. It can be very crowded, so best to make a reservation in advance. I recently went back and had an excellent veal shank Osso Buco.
The Roasterie: This specialty coffee roaster provides coffee for espresso bars, coffeehouses, fine restaurants and grocery stores in Kansas City and beyond. The coffees are imported from 31 countries and are air-roasted for great flavor. I always enjoy the Brookside location, at 6223 Brookside.
Red Door Woodfired Grill: Opened in 2016, at 6324 Brookside Plaza, this is one of three locations in the KC area of this casual bar and restaurant or as they say “an upscale neighborhood joint.” I really enjoyed my salmon entrée and a great old fashioned. They offer some great Happy Hour, drink and food specials.
One of my latest finds from my last trip was the Brookside Barrio. This is a casual Mexican restaurant with a large outdoor patio. They are known for their Mexican “street” tacos and cocktails. I enjoyed my lunch of fish tacos outside and went back again for the same dish. 6227 Brookside Plaza
After your meal at the Brookside Barrio, walk south to 6235 Brookside Plaza and grab a rich frozen custard at Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard. Here you pick a flavor and add ingredients to make your flavor. I loved the German chocolate cake flavor!
Recently opened is Home Grown a Daytime Eatery at 338 W. 63rd St. They have a large breakfast and lunch menu featuring locally sourced ingredients.
After reading about French Custard at 5905 Main St., I made a point to stop by for dessert at this local ice cream shop owned by a young couple. They feature several flavors made with only milk, cream, eggs and sugar. The apple cider honeycomb was excellent. I always like supporting local businesses!
Just a little south is McLain’s Bakery. Since 1945, this is a wonderful bakery and coffee shop at 201 E. Gregory Blvd. They have a large selection and you can watch them bake in the kitchen in the rear. They feature a selection of pastries, cookies, cakes and breads as well as breakfast and lunch items.
Down the street is the Flying Horse Taproom at 600 E 63rd St #100. They are known for their flatbreads and beer. They feature 30+ local craft brews and over 18 different flatbreads. I loved my choice of Prosciutto and arugula!
Recently moved to a new location is Plate Italiano Moderno at 701 E. 63rd St. G-14. This is a contemporary Italian restaurant with a very creative menu of antipasti, sides, mains and pastas. It is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.
Also in the area is a great new find, Earl’s Premier, at 651 E. 59th, in the East Brookside neighborhood. Open for lunch and dinner, they are known for their Maine-inspired oyster bar. They offer daily specials from tacos, steak frites and fish and chips. I loved the chicken tacos for lunch along with a butternut squash soup, though the moule frites looke great. It is a small, attractive restaurant, so make sure to book you reservations in advance.
This area along the Missouri River, just north of Downtown, is now a growing residential neighborhood with new condos and lofts, new restaurants like Farm House, specializing in farm-to-table, homestyle cuisine and the former Quay Coffee at 412 Delaware, Suite B which is now Thou Mayest Coffee – River Quay.
In the City Market there are many food options from Kansas City Barbecue to Vietnamese and Bo Lings or Chinese. There is also Bloom Baking Co. for great bread and pastries. I really like their macarons and had three yummy ones on my last visit including a hazelnut, pumpkin and sea salt. There are also many vendors selling local produce. City Market opened in 1857 and is one of the largest farmers market in the Midwest.
I really enjoyed my brunch with family at the City Diner at 301 Grand. It was casual and fun.
Opera House Coffee & Food Emporium is a contemporary food court in one location featuring a restaurant, coffee house, bar, bakery and music venue. 500 Walnut. I enjoyed brunch there on a recent visit.
Across the street at 429 Walnut St. is Brown & Loe, a restaurant located in an historic bank building from 1920. It features American comfort cuisine and cured, pickled and smoking meats. They also feature ingredients from local farmers and purveyors.
Recently moving from the East Bottoms to the River Market at 20 E. 5th St., the Local Pig is a butcher shop featuring a large selection of local steaks, roasts, chops, sausages, burgers and charcuterie. You can eat there from an expanded menu of sandwiches at their Pigwich concept from brisket and pulled pork to burgers, fries and desserts. It is located in a much larger space including a 300-seat outdoor patio. I was just back at the new location and enjoyed the sandwich with the smoked pork, slaw and barbecue sauce.
Also getting good reviews is Tribe Street Kitchen for global street food and brunch. 316 Delaware St.
Nearby are two other spots to try. Betty Rae’s Ice Cream gets reviews for some of the best ice cream in town at 412 Delaware St. Nearby is Made in KC Café at 426 Delaware St. for coffee and pastries. It has an outdoor patio plus indoor seating in its River Market Trolley which is an historic 73-year-old streetcar.
WALDO AND MARTIN CITY
Jess & Jim’s Steak House: Since 1938, this is a well-know steak house at 517 E. 135th St., in the Martin City neighborhood. You can enjoy a large choice of filets, top sirloin, T-bones, KC strips, ribeye and porterhouse steaks. It was recently featured in Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of the best steakhouses in the U.S..
Down the street is RC’s Restaurant & Lounge which features its famous fried chicken. They also have a Back Door Bar and Grill open in the evenings. 330 E. 135th St.
Located in the Waldo neighborhood is Second Best Coffee, Midwestern Modesty. It is a fun coffee spot with a bicycle theme. They feature a number of their own roasts along with a selection of roasts from around the country. 328 W. 85th.
Princess Garden: Located at 8906 Wornall Rd., this is a long-running Chinese restaurant with a classic menu and décor. I have been several times with family and friends on Christmas day.
Just to the north is Waldo Thai. I went when I was back in November, 2023 since I read that Pam Liberda, head chef and owner, was nominated in 2023 as a semi-finalist by the James Beard Foundation, as Best Chef Midwest. Opened in 2018, it is a lovely spot with large menu of Thai dishes. I enjoyed the experience as did my nephew.
After being closed for several years, the Golden Ox has since reopened, under new management. I went with my brother and nephew in December 2019 when I was back in town. We all loved the food, service and the warm, clubby atmosphere. 1600 Genessee St.
Across the street is a fun new find, The Campground. This is a casual, farm-to-table restaurant that opened in late 2018 in the former Genessee Royale Bistro space at 1531 Genessee St. I enjoyed Sunday brunch with my cousin after my niece’s wedding the night before. It has a fun, casual atmosphere and good food. Located in a former gas station, the old garage doors can be opened in the warmer months.
COLUMBUS PARK AND EAST BOTTOMS
Having read in a recent article that The Columbus Park Neighborhood was a “Foodies Ideal Melting Pot”, I checked out this neighborhood just east of the River Market. It was formerly an Italian neighborhood that has become primarily Vietnamese. It has a number of restaurants. I enjoyed the bustling Vietnam Cafe at 522 Campbell. There were constant lines out the door at this restaurant, with a large menu and very reasonable prices. They are known for their pho and other specialties like basil chicken. The chicken and spring rolls made for a great lunch.
On my last trip I had lunch on the way to the airport at Happy Gillis Cafe & Hangout, known for their sandwiches, toasts, salads and breakfast items. I had the best grilled cheese sandwich with brie cheese, an apricot mostarda, fresh apples and arugula! I loved the casual atmosphere. Just be aware it can be crowded as it is very popular.
Just east of Crown Center is the Filling Station, at 2980 McGee Tfwy., which is a really fun spot that I recently discovered. A great place for lunch or a break for tea or coffee.
I have recently spent some time exploring Troost Ave. As a manuro street, it is 10.7 miles long, from the north point at 4th Street to the south point at Bannister Road or 95th St. I find it a good place to support local small businesses.
On the southern end, I recommend High Hopes Ice Cream at 5536 Troost Ave., Ste. A. They make all of their flavors in-house. I loved the bourbon butter pecan flavor. Across the street is a popular bakery, Blackhole Bakery at 5531 Troost Ave. They serve classic French pastries and donuts, along with some locally-roasted coffee and tea. I went by for the second time, but it was sold out again. So make sure to go early.
Niecie’s Restaurant: Located at 6441 Troost Ave., Niecie’s is a casual soul food restaurant that was featured in Kansas City Magazine’ s Top 40 Restaurants in KC in 2022. It opened in 1985. I loved the service and the diner-type atmosphere and had a great omelette with grits and a biscuit. Make sure to visit when you are in town.
Further north at 30th and Troost is Soulcentricitea, for artisan crafted tea. They took over the former Blip Coffee shop that I enjoyed in the past. “We offer herbal tea-based products including hot tea, iced tea, 54 flavors of loose leaf tea, tea smoothies, tea lattes, herbal lemonade and coffee drinks. All of our signature drinks are named after Black Women authors and you can also check out books from the Tameka Robinson Bell free black women’s library.”
Next door is the fun Solid State Pinball Supply where you can actually play pinball in their game room. 2999 Troost Ave.
Next to it is The Combine, a deli and pizza restaurant, that features beer on tap. It opened in November, 2019 in a historic former Wonder Bread factory. 2999 Troost Ave.
Oddly Correct Coffee Bar: Formerly at 3940 Main St., this is a local coffee roaster now located at 4141 Troost Ave. They are on a mission to serve the purest coffee possible, thus no sweeteners are offered. I really liked my latte without the sugar. They also feature house-made biscuits and breakfast sandwiches plus small baked goods.