When it comes to where to eat in Kansas City, barbecue immediately comes to mind. After all, Kansas City is famous for it. And while the sauce-covered scene isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’s about time Kansas City’s reputation as a culinary destination caught up with the diverse and inventive offerings available throughout the city.
In the last few years, the city has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts with international cuisines and chef-driven restaurants opening across the metro. Here, your insider’s guide to KC.
2601 Holmes Street
Set up in a quirky space, Succotash has gluten-free and vegan offerings to satisfy every type of eater. For a sweet and savory breakfast, try the Maggie Cristo sandwich made with maple hame, goat, cheese and lingonberries on sourdough French toast.
4420 Warwick Boulevard
Located inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the offerings at Café Sebastienne are as artful as the exhibits mere steps away from the dining room. Be sure to try the Reuben, the city’s best. Thinly sliced lean beef is topped with marinated red cabbage and Gruyère cheese on perfectly toasted marble rye.
1900 Main Street
Helmed by James Beard Award–winning chef Michael Smith, the Mediterranean tapas spot is ideal for the adventurous eater. Alongside the menu of traditional hot and cold tapas dishes, unexpected standouts include duck tongue tacos and a crispy pig ear salad.
4800 Main Street
Located just south of historic Country Club Plaza (modeled after Seville, Spain), Stock Hill’s makes for a more nontraditional steakhouse experience. Start with the hamachi crudo – crispy rice papers with scallion miso vinaigrette, yuzu aïoli and black sesame. For the main course, no trip would be complete without the Prime KC strip, a dry-aged bone-in steak.
1924 Main Street
In the basement of The Rieger — once a hotel where Al Capone stayed and now a restaurant — is the speakeasy Manifesto. Inspired by its own history, the speakeasy keeps an air of secrecy — reservation requests are made by sending a polite text to a designated number —and eschews electricity, illuminating
the bar with only tea lights. To enter, navigate the back alley to an unmarked door. Once you’re downstairs, order the cheese and cracker plate, both homemade in The Rieger’s kitchen.
419 E 18th Street
Kansas City’s coffee scene has grown exponentially in recent years, with independent roasters cropping up everywhere. A coffee shop by day and cocktail bar by night, Thou Mayest, whose name is taken from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, prides itself on being able to get you buzzed from a.m. to p.m. The two-story space even boasts a back patio where you can smoke a cigar from their selections.