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Kansas City, Missouri’s famous food and drinks

The food and drink options that make Kansas City, Missouri a destination like no other!

November 8, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 12
A view of the Kansas City, Missouri skyline, with Union Station in the foreground.

Kansas City, Missouri, isn't just a hub of jazz and fountains; it's a haven for foodies and drink connoisseurs alike. Nestled in the heart of America, this city boasts an array of culinary delights and beverages that reflect its rich cultural heritage and the innovative spirit of its locals. So, if you're looking to embark on a flavorful journey, here are the top things you need to know about KC's most iconic eats and drinks.

Kansas City'sTop 5 Famous Foods

BBQ Ribs

Dive into the heart and soul of Kansas City with its legendary BBQ ribs. This isn't just about the meat, which, by the way, falls off the bone in a tender confession of smoky goodness. It's about the sauce, a unique, tangy, and sweet concoction that locals guard more fiercely than state secrets. It's about the slow cooking process, the woodsmoke, the blend of spices that tickle your nostrils before you've even taken a bite. Eating these BBQ ribs is a rite of passage, a way to truly understand the depth of flavor and tradition that this great city stands upon.

Stroud's Fried Chicken

Stroud's Fried Chicken isn't just food; it's a crispy, succulent experience that speaks volumes about Kansas City's culinary heritage. Here, the chicken is pan-fried in a manner that dates back to the good old days, creating a perfect, golden crust that's music to your ears with every crunch. Beneath that crispy symphony lies tender, juicy meat that's been soaked, seasoned, and loved in ways only Stroud's knows how. This dish is comfort, history, and local flavor on a plate, offering a taste of community, a sense of home, and a connection to the generations of Kansas Citians before you.

Joe's Kansas City Z-Man Sandwich

The Z-Man Sandwich from Joe's Kansas City is more than a sandwich; it's a towering testament to the city's innovative spirit. Picture this: perfectly smoked brisket, so tender it pledges allegiance to your taste buds, topped with a slice of smoky provolone that's the dairy equivalent of a smooth jazz melody. But wait, there's more. Onion rings, crispy and golden, add a playful crunch, while a drizzle of BBQ sauce brings it home with a tangy, sweet whisper. All this goodness is cradled between the soft halves of a kaiser roll, making the Z-Man not just a meal, but an adventure.

Arthur Bryant's Burnt Ends

Arthur Bryant's Burnt Ends are a culinary innovation born from a zero-waste philosophy. These delectable morsels, carved from the point half of a smoked brisket, are a happy marriage of meaty goodness and caramelized nirvana. Each piece is a mosaic of flavors: charred on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and blessed with a smoky, tangy glaze that's quintessentially Kansas City. Eating burnt ends is not just a savory escapade but a nod to the city's history of making the most out of every bit, turning what was once considered scraps into a celebrated delicacy.

Tippin's Pie

A culinary exploration of Kansas City would be incomplete without indulging in a slice of Tippin's pie. These pies are a local treasure, each slice a crafted artwork of flaky crust, indulgent fillings, and the sweet, sweet promise of comfort. The fruit pies burst with freshness, each berry or slice of apple a testament to the flavors of the seasons. The cream pies, on the other hand, are silky smooth, rich tributes to indulgence itself. Tippin's pies aren't just dessert; they're a celebration of local ingredients, craftsmanship, and the simple joy of sharing something sweet with someone you love.

Kansas City's Top 5 Famous Drinks

Boulevard Wheat Beer

A sip of Boulevard Wheat Beer is akin to diving into a refreshing Kansas City tradition. Crafted by the beloved Boulevard Brewing Company, this beer is a harmonious melody of flavors designed to quench your thirst and tantalize your palate. With its hazy, golden hue and fluffy white head, it's a beauty to behold. The flavor profile is a delicate balance of sweet malt and tangy wheat, with subtle hints of citrus dancing on the periphery. It's light-bodied with a smooth finish, making it the perfect companion for a hot day, a hearty meal, or a moment of relaxation. This isn't just a beer; it's a bubbly embodiment of Kansas City's craft and care.

Paris of the Plains Cocktail

The Paris of the Plains Cocktail is more than a drink; it's a liquid homage to Kansas City's vibrant past. Named after the city's jazz-age moniker, this cocktail is a smooth, sultry blend that captures the essence of an era. It starts with a base of gin, clear and strong, followed by a whisper of vermouth for that hint of herbal mystery. A few dashes of orange bitters add depth, while a splash of sparkling wine lifts the spirit. Each sip is a journey through time, a celebration of a city that once rivaled the European capitals in its decadence and cultural richness. It's not just a cocktail; it's history in a glass, with a twist.

Roasterie Coffee

Roasterie Coffee is more than your average cup of joe; it's a steaming, aromatic embrace from Kansas City itself. The beans are sourced from the world's best plantations, but the heart of the brew is purely local. The Roasterie uses air-roasting methods, a technique that not only results in a smoother, richer cup but also speaks volumes about the city's commitment to quality and innovation. Each sip boasts bold flavors, a testament to the meticulous sourcing and roasting process. Whether you're a fan of dark, intense roasts or prefer your coffee light and fruity, Roasterie Coffee offers a cup for every palate, each one a love letter to the art of coffee making.

Q39 Bloody Mary

The Q39 Bloody Mary is not just a cocktail; it's a culinary experience in a glass, a bold statement of flavors that captures the essence of Kansas City. This drink takes the classic recipe and infuses it with a local twist: a dash of fiery, house-made BBQ sauce, and a generous sprinkle of rib rub seasoning. The result is a drink that's savory, spicy, and utterly unforgettable. And because this is KC, where we go big or go home, the garnish includes a piece of burnt end jerky, turning this Bloody Mary into a full meal. It's the perfect brunch companion, a hangover cure, and a testament to the city's love affair with all things BBQ.

Tom's Town Spirits

Imbibing Tom's Town spirits is like stepping back into Kansas City's colorful past. Named after the infamous Tom Pendergast, the city's political boss during the Prohibition era, Tom's Town Distilling Co. embodies the rebellious spirit and indulgent sophistication of the 1920s and 30s. Each bottle tells a story, a tale of a city that thrived on jazz, speakeasies, and the notion that rules were meant to be creatively interpreted. The Pendergast's Royal Gold Bourbon whispers of elegance and richness, with a smooth, honeyed warmth that's as inviting as a jazz melody. The McElroy's Corruption Gin is crisp and complex, a spirited nod to the city's past, distilled with botanicals that beckon you back for another sip. Savoring these spirits isn't just about enjoying a fine drink; it's about celebrating the resilience, character, and joie de vivre that define Kansas City.Kansas City, with its vibrant history and innovative future, offers more than just a place to visit; it provides a culinary and sensory experience like no other. Each dish and drink tells a story, a narrative of tradition, resilience, and creativity. So, the next time you find yourself in this gem of the Midwest, remember: you're not just eating and drinking. You're engaging with the soul of the city itself. Cheers to good times in KC!

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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