Barbecue is a way of life in Kansas City. So much so that even non-barbecue establishments have gotten into the act, coming up with cool ways to serve our classic ‘cue. In the spirit of National Barbecue Month, here are our 10 picks for the best local barbecue “mash-ups,” from burnt-end mac-and-cheese to a certain smoky cocktail. Put your bib on … it’s time to dig in.
- Faux-B-Que? Bar-B-Fake? Call it what you want, the vegan barbecue at FüD might make you think twice about whether meat’s actually necessary. Local and organic, the Jack Barbeque is a Panini-style Sourdough sandwich with oven-roasted Jack Fruit, slathered in barbecue sauce and a sweet pickle “thrillanaise.” ($8, 813 W. 17th St.)
- Beer Kitchen’s Mac & Cheese might be tasty enough all on its own, with 100% wheat elbow shells, three cheeses and buttered bread crumbs. Take it a step further, though, and add juicy burnt ends. We predict you’ll never return to the ‘ole blue box again. ($11, 435 Westport Rd.) Read more
So says the Spanish proverb. But if you’re a bachelor like me, sometimes “the belly” comes second to “the wallet.” Or heck, even “the schedule.” So you gotta leap at those few-and-far-between moments when you can eat both well and cheap.
Duck Tacos ... mmm
Enter Extra Virgin, a cool tapas place tucked in the Crossroads. You may have heard of the executive chef, Michael Smith. He’s a James Beard Award winner and has lent his expertise to several well-known restaurants in the area—The American, SPIN, Michael Smith and 40 Sardines to name a few.
Sure, this place has pedigree. But it’s also a fun, relaxed environment where it feels safe enough to venture outside your dining bubble and try some new eats. Just reading the menu is bound to make you feel adventurous. Crispy pig ear salad, grilled beef tongue, fried duck gizzards, snail ragout. And on and on.
One thing was for sure. When I moved to Kansas City, I’d be going to Town Topic.
Growing up in Wichita, my dad talked about burgers from Town Topic the way other people would about meeting the president. Or bungee jumping. Or watching the Royals clutch the ’85 pennant. That’s just how much he loved it. And whether it’s true or not, he still tells a story about a former co-worker who loved it even more.
by ChrisM70, via Flickr
As legend goes, a jet-setting colleague was so enamored with Town Topic’s no-frills novelty that he would schedule his layovers at KCI—just so he could escape the airport for an hour or two. His destination? Town Topic, of course.
And within 12 hours of moving into my downtown apartment, I followed suit. (After all, that’s what was expected.) Over the years, “the Topic” quickly became a favorite place of mine to catch a bite—but at a much later hour. You see, Town Topic has the distinction of being one of the few 24-hour kitchens in the city. The clubs are closed, the streets are bare, but dang if Town Topic isn’t hopping. Consider it the after, after party. Read more