What is Kansas City’s dining scene like?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Larry Olmsted

Hearty beats out fancy here and the 800-pound gorilla of Kansas City dining is barbecue, and as an amalgam of the nation’s styles, this is the best place in the country to try great smoked meat of every description, from Texas brisket to Memphis-style ribs to Carolina pulled pork sandwiches and KC’s own creation, burnet ends, heavily seasoned and slightly crunchy cubes of twice smoked exterior brisket. Legendary options include Oklahoma Joe’s, Gates Bar-B-Q and Danny Edwards Boulevard BBQ. KC also has a rich Italian history and for local flavor it’s hard to beat Garozzo’s, which has spent a quarter century in the Columbus Park neighborhood near downtown and whose claim to fame is the invention of spiedini, now a regional staple. Sort of like shish kebab, it involves marinated chunks of meats cooked on skewers but gets vastly more complex. Garozzo’s signature chicken spiedini is “Marinated chicken breast, rolled in Italian bread crumbs, skewered & grilled,” oozing explosive tastes of lemon, garlic, herbs and olive oil. There are several other versions as well. Finally, as a longtime stockyard locale, KC loves its steak, especially corn fed American USDA prime beef, and the classic steakhouses here are The Golden Ox, M&S Grill and Plaza III in Country Club Plaza.

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