It’s no secret that I love to eat, and being that both my husband and I work a lot, we find ourselves going out to eat quite often. Kansas City is has no shortage of great places to eat, but our main objectives are 3-fold: Family Friendly, Fast (without being fast food), and Relatively Healthy. It’s entirely possible to never eat at a chain in Kansas City, and that is one thing I absolutely love when dining out. We are supporting the local economy, which includes friends and family. That’s important to us.
I am late to the game, but given that there are many visitors to our fair city this week, I thought I’d present my list of favorite places that fit the above criteria. We reside in Brookside, so we dine out most in Westport, Brookside, and Waldo. Occasionally, we branch out to Prairie Village, The Plaza (close, but too many chains), The Crossroads, or Leawood, but as most Kansas Citians will tell you, if you have to drive more than 10 minutes to get somewhere, it’s too far. Without further ado…
- Waldo Pizza This is hands-down my favorite pizza joint. It’s been a staple in the neighborhood for as long as I can remember. Their St. Louis Style pizza is A.MAZ.ING. They also have The Best Salad Bar In The Whole World with my favorite dressing ever, Fred Harvey’s Westport Room. Monday nights, they have a killer deal: $8.95 for a one topping 14″, and if you’re there from 6-8, you’ll get to see Eric the Magician, who is a real treat for kids and adults alike. For lunch, Monday-Saturday, 11-2, is the All You Can Eat Pizza & Salad Buffet. You’ll leave swearing that you’ll never eat again, but you’ll want to go back for dinner that night. Waldo also has their famous Trivial Pursuit cards on the table to keep you entertained until the food arrives, and a great selection of beer, including the local favorite, Boulevard.
- Rudy’s Tenampa Taqueria After living in Texas for 12 years, I have become a real snob when it comes to Mexican & Tex-Mex. Places I grew up on no longer do it for me, but when my husband stumbled on Rudy’s in Westport, we were both doing a little jig. This place is the real deal, and although you have to pay for the chips, which always chaps me a little, it’s totally worth it. All I can say about Rudy’s is that it simply tastes like Mexican food. Spicy, cheesy, corny, and as my friend Molly would say, they serve “lard beans”, which are THE BEST. I also strongly suggest the queso, which mid-westerners inexplicably call “cheese dip” (?!?).
- The Classic Cookie Ready for some delicious comfort food? Want to feel like you’re eating in your mom’s dining room? The Classic Cookie is the perfect breakfast or lunch spot. Generous servings of breakfast casseroles, pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos, chicken salad, and the famous chicken soup casserole are all delightful. While you wait, munch on a basket of muffins and cookies, and sip your coffee, read the paper, or visit with your neighbors at the table next to you. Before you leave by a cookie or 30. You won’t be sorry. The dining room is only open until 3 Monday – Saturday and until 1:30 on Sunday, and it can get busy, so go early or late if you are in a hurry. If there’s a wait, and you have time, it’s absolutely worth it.
- BRGR Kitchen We are willing to go the extra 2-5 minutes outside of our usual bubble to Prairie Village to hit BRGR now and again. There’s a little something for everyone here at this modern burger joint. There’s something to be said for these classy burger places popping up around the country. They are GOOD. The burgers are tasty and interesting. They usually include local fare on the menu and homemade items like pickles and ketchup. They have a fun atmosphere that is entertaining for kids, but not too schmaltzy that adults will be turned off. BRGR Kitchen falls into this category of awesome with tasty appetizers, great burgers and non-burgers, yummy sides, and desserts you can’t pass up. We are fans of this cool place.
- Charlie Hooper’s followed by Foo’s Fabulous Custard or The Roasterie Cafe: I wanted to limit this list to just 5 restaurants, so this is a bit of a cheat, and it might seem a little odd. Yes, Charlie Hooper’s is a bar. But it’s a very kid-friendly bar with great, inexpensive food, and super-speedy, friendly service. Hooper’s has daily specials, the best being the Saturday $1.50 dogs. It’s goes a little beyond bar food, with hummus, spinach & artichoke dip, and wraps, while still offering staples, like wings and nachos. Hooper’s is also in my beloved Brookside, which you can stroll through, and enjoy a little window shopping, or browsing, coffee-ing or desserting, which brings me to the after Hooper’s encore: Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard or The Roasterie Cafe.
- Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard is a hop-skip from Hooper’s and lives up to it’s name. I worked at this place the summer before I left for college and got a head-start on the Freshman Fifteen. Worth it. I suggest a concrete. Make up your own, or try one from the board. Basically, you can’t go wrong.
- The Roasterie Cafe If you’re not feeling dessert, but want a pick-me-up instead, The Roasterie Cafe is across the road from Foo’s. Hot or cold, whatever your preference, you can’t go wrong with a coffee drink here. You’ll also find drinks and goodies that the kids will enjoy too. The Roasterie Cafe serves up it’s own locally roasted coffee from The Roasterie plant on the Boulevard, which offers tours (and coffeeeeee) Monday through Saturday at 10 AM.
Where do you plan to eat/drink/shop/dwell while you’re in Kansas City? Let me know if you try any of my suggestions. I’d love to know what you think!
**I can’t even begin to call myself a Barbeque expert. I like it all. My short list includes Woodyard, Gates, Arthur Bryant’s (although the employees are rude), Jack Stack (but it’s way overpriced for barbeque) and LC’s (way too old-school to have a website). Most BBQ joints are dumps, which I prefer. The food is awesome. My favorite sides are baked beans and fries, except at Woodyard. There, I like the coleslaw and cheesy corn. Take it easy on the Q-I don’t want any out-of-towners blaming their clogged arteries on Kansas City. **