Guest blogger Greg Franklin is a Kansas City lover living in Seattle. When the occasion arises for a return visit (like his beloved Royals return to the World Series!), he hits up as many of his favorite things as time allows. Have you moved away from KC? What do you miss the most?
Things I Miss Most About KC:
Joe’s Kansas City and Woodyard BBQ: I live in Seattle, which has just recently caught wind of the barbecue craze. I’ve sampled the wares of the city, and it’s…well, it’s not good. When I come back to Kansas City, my first destination after dropping off my bags is usually Joe’s Kansas City, whose Z-Man I did my best imitation of for dinner at my wedding. I’m drooling right now thinking about those ribs. If waiting in line at Joe’s isn’t your thing, I recommend soaking up a plate of ribs on the perfect patio at Woodyard BBQ in Merriam.
McCoy’s Public House: There’s something about this place that feels so perfectly Kansas City to me. It’s elegant in its simplicity, and never tries to be something it isn’t. Great beer and perfect burgers served in a warm, spacious wooden room. A lot of things in this city come and go, but McCoy’s patio on a muggy summer evening is a welcome tradition that looks to be around for a long time.
O’Malleys Pub (Weston): When I brought my wife to Kansas City from Seattle for the first time, this was one of the first things I planned for. Enjoying some Celtic music and a frosty cream ale in a cool, dark basement that’s been around for over 150 years tastes even better in the middle of a scorching summer. If you can’t take the time off work for a trip to Ireland, O’Malley’s is the next best thing.
Worlds of Fun: If you think you’re too old for roller coasters, you don’t sound like a lot of fun. While the loss of the Zambezi Zinger still stings, the rest of the park more than makes up for it.
Twin City Tavern: Something about this little dive is absolutely perfect. I love that it sits right on the corner of a state boundary. I love the tacky faux brick wall texture. I love the absolutely unnecessary amount of neon signage. When you just need to catch up with an old friend without a ton of distractions, the Twin is one of the best little nooks in the city.
Waldo Pizza and Minsky’s Pizza: Aside from barbecue, Seattle still hasn’t really perfected it’s pizza game. Sure, they make a decent product out of a lot of fresh local ingredients, but I’ve never had a “WHOA” pizza moment. Waldo Pizza and Minsky’s are both at the top of their game, and always provide the “WHOA”.
The Red Balloon: This is the bar that inspired my love of karaoke. I have plenty of Midtown friends who don’t ever want to leave Midtown, but offer them a night of painfully loud karaoke with the townies at The Red Balloon, and suddenly the drive to Shawnee doesn’t seem all that far.
WhirlyBall at Power Play: I love my friends so dearly, but sometimes, you just need to ram them with a bumper car while playing a weird hybrid of lacrosse/jai alai. Thanks to WhirlyBall for making passive aggression a lot more fun.
Kauffman Stadium: Home of the Kansas City Royals, and the sixth oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. If there’s anything better than grilling and enjoying a beer with friends in the parking lot before watching the American League Champion Kansas City Royals play, I’m not aware of it. The renovations to The K have actually made it the sort of stadium where there isn’t a bad seat in the house. I personally recommend standing in front of the outfield fountains on a hot day, catching some of the mist (and maybe a homer, too).
The People: The caliber of friends I’ve made in this city amazes me. I don’t know if it’s the Midwest in general or Kansas City in particular, but people here are the friendliest, most sincere and loyal folks I know. There’s some sort of bond that comes from living in Kansas City that doesn’t happen anywhere else, and I’m thrilled to have that bond both with the city and with so many of its residents.