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Travel the globe through food: Flavors for every palette

June 10, 2011

Kansas City is famous for its culinary delights. It has been said that Kansas City has more barbecue restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world. Beyond barbecue, the Kansas City metro area has a plethora of creative cuisine by award-winning chefs, and a growing trend of farm to fork restaurants. Visitors can indulge their taste buds – comfort food, ethnic food, burgers or barbecue - the choices (and settings) abound.  Below is a sampling of restaurants from both sides of the state line. Go to for more dining ideas.

Back in Time

  • Corner Pharmacy Old Fashioned Soda Fountain (Leavenworth, Kan.) - Housed in a beautiful historic Victorian downtown building and voted #1 soda fountain in the Kansas City area.  Features an old-fashioned lunch counter and pharmacy.
  • Clinton’s Soda Fountain (Independence, Mo.) - Hop on a bar stool for a handmade cherry phosphate with a slice of history on the side.  As his first job, Harry Truman worked here sweeping floors and dusting counters.
  • Keim’s Bakery (Ottawa, Kan.) – This recently renovated historic Main Street location has all the jazz and décor of a diner from 60 years ago. Slip into a booth and back in time for a soda, hamburger and fries – all made right inside.
  • Madame Hatter’s Tea Room (Bonner Springs, Kan.) - Time stands still at Madame Hatter’s Tea Room, a place to come and escape the realities of life.  The delicious selections on the menu will have you coming back for more.


  • Guy & Mae’s Tavern (Williamsburg, Kan.) Voted one of the eight wonders of Kansas cuisine, Guy & Mae’s is a long-time favorite spot for mouthwatering, fall-off-the-bone tender ribs.
  • Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue (multiple locations in the metro) - Rated #1 barbecue in the country by Zagat's, and recognized with a KC Visitors’ Choice Award in 2010.
  • Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que (Overland Park, Kan.) – A family owned and operated authentic barbecue restaurant since 1972. In addition to its dining facilities, Hayward's has a full line of barbecue sauces.
  • Oklahoma Joe’s (Kansas City, Kan.) – Named one of the “13 Places to Eat At Before You Die” by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, Oklahoma Joe’s is reasonably priced and eclectically located in a gas station.
  • Zarda (Lenexa, Kan.) – More than 30 years of serving quality hickory smoked meats, famous Bar-B-Q beans and a variety of favorite family recipes.

Comfort Food

  • Big Biscuit (Independence, Mo.) - The star of both the breakfast and lunch menu are the giant fresh homemade biscuits. Lunch menu also includes burgers, wraps, sandwiches, hot lunch plates, soups and salads. 
  • Connie’s Café (Lansing, Kan.) – Serving up an excellent breakfast with plenty of variety and huge portions. Customers refer to Connie’s as the best breakfast in town.
  • Ginger Sues (Liberty, Mo.) - Husband and wife team, David Bradley and Ginger Fuller, wanted to bring their love of food and hospitality to the people of Kansas City. Serving breakfast and lunch in a quaint and casual atmosphere, Ginger Sue's is a place where you can truly “Eat Among Friends.”
  • The Peachtree Buffet (Kansas City, Mo.) - Southern-style soul food buffet that includes southern fried chicken, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, homemade rolls and peach cobbler. Dine-in, carryout, and catering available.

 Family Friendly  

  • Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant (two locations) - Visit Fritz’s for the railroad atmosphere, then stay for the burgers, meaty chili and homemade shakes all delivered to your table via electric train.
  • New York Dawg Pound (Overland Park, Kan.) - Offering a classic hotdog experience including an authentic New York flair to an All-American food tradition. Non-traditional combinations also available and include bacon and peanut butter or teriyaki, pineapple and Asian slaw.
  • T-Rex Café (Kansas City, Kan.) - Guests are treated to a prehistoric adventure, including face-to-face encounters with life-size dinosaurs, geysers, ice caves, a waterfall and even a dinosaur dig.  T-Rex also offers a remarkable array of eclectic food, exceptional service and phenomenal retail.

Fine Dining /Romantic

  • The American Restaurant (Kansas City, Mo.) - The restaurant is a penthouse, perched atop Crown Center, offering a spectacular panoramic view of Downtown and the surrounding area. In addition to its Mobil Four-Star rating, it has received the AAA Four Diamond Award, Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence, the Chaine des Rotisseurs Dining and Service Award and Hall of Fame Award.
  • Justus Drugstore-A Restaurant (Smithville, Mo.) - Nationally known, but locally owned and operated, this gourmet restaurant features products and produce from local farmers.    
  • Piropos (two locations) - Offers a taste of Argentina, and its capital city, Buenos Aries. Serving grilled meats, seafood, fresh salads and vegetables with a touch of Spanish, Italian, French, and other ethnic foods that reflect the cosmopolitan nature of Argentinean dining.
  • WestChase Grille (Overland Park, Kan.) - Features contemporary American cuisine with everything from Certified Angus Beef steaks to fresh seafood, gourmet pasta, lamb, duck and more.


  • Baan Thai Restaurant (Leavenworth, Kan.) - Beautiful restaurant with authentic Thai food located in the historic downtown Leavenworth.  Restaurant has beautiful teak wood carving archways and serves wonderful authentic curries and a variety of Thai food.
  • Blue Nile Café (Kansas City, Mo.) - Since 1995, it has served the best traditional Ethiopian cuisine in Kansas City. The all-natural dishes are composed of lamb, beef, chicken and a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, served with Enjera (spongy flat bread made from teff).
    • El Pulgarcito (Merriam, Kan.) – Authentic Salvadoran food, made daily from scratch. From the mouth-watering curtido to delicious hand-made pupusas, foodies agree that the friendly service, large portions and affordable menu will keep them coming back to this hidden gem along Merriam Drive.
    • Rheinland Restaurant (Independence, Mo.) - Experience a taste of Germany at this family owned eatery, featuring weinerschnitzel, homemade apple strudel and a generous selection of imported German beers.


  • Bottle 12 Wine Bar (Bonner Springs, Kan.)Enjoy some great wine with a group of your friends and hang out in the Library Room or attend the Thursday night wine tastings or other special events where a palette of wine will whet your appetite!
  • Stables Bar and Grill (Kearney, Mo.) - A locally owned and operated restaurant featuring steaks, seafood, and their own house specials.
  • High Noon Saloon & Brewery (Leavenworth, Kan.) – Casual dining located in a historic building.  American fare and award-winning microbrews in a historic setting. Family friendly, open seven days/week.
  • Llywelyn’s Pub (Overland Park, Kan.) - A true Celtic Pub serving up Welsh cuisine and world class spirits. Located in an abandoned church, the atmosphere will take you back to the Old Country.
  • O’Malley’s 1842 Pub (Weston, Mo.) - Featuring nationally known Irish entertainers performing in three vaulted, limestone cellars of the historic Weston Brewing Co. Enjoy draught ales, lagers and ciders with many brewed in the same building. Patio and courtyard areas provide the setting for annual music festivals. For the entertainment calendar and list of featured brews, visit

Visit for more dining options in each community.


KC Destinations, A Regional Alliance is a group of 15 communities (Bonner Springs, KS; Clay County, MO; Franklin County, KS; Independence, MO; Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO;  Lansing, KS; Leavenworth, KS;  Lenexa, KS; Merriam, KS; Olathe, KS; Overland Park, KS;  Platte County, MO; Shawnee, KS; St. Joseph, MO) working together to promote the KC metro as a tourist destination.  The group works to blur the boundary lines in promotion of the entire metro area. For more information on KC Destination area attractions, visit