Kansas City, opinion, cocktails, snark.

October 14, 2008

Top 10 KC foods to eat before you die.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — akcb @ 5:31 am

Got this idea from Fat City, where several other local bloggers have picked up on it. The stuff I chose may not be the best example of that particular food the city has to offer, though in most cases I think it is. I chose these for the experience they offer and how I feel when I’m eating them. Numbers 1 & 2 are, for all intents and purposes, a tossup. Number 3 was almost number 1. Number 7 is debatable, but speaks to my own KC experience. Here you go.

10. Festival food KC-style. I love festival food. I love corndogs and cotton candy and sno-cones and funnel cakes. But my true love is for festivals where food’s the star. The Kosher Fest is a must-go. It has my highest recommendation. The Greek Fest? Eh, unless you skip directly to the dessert selection and then it’s in the running. I love these, because even if its not iconic Kansas City food, its Kansas Citians cooking for Kansas Citians the things they love and want to share. And that’s pretty darn cool in my book.

9.  The reuben at Browne’s Deli. I’m not Irish nor do I have any particular affinity for Irish shim-sham. In fact, I find Irish pride kinda funny. I think the St. Pat’s day parade is a joke. This reuben is not. I don’t think I’ve ever had more tender corned beef. A half reuben and a bowl of soup is my new winter lunch staple. Browne’s has been in business since 1887, so they’re probably doing something right.

8.  Stroud’s chicken fried chicken with all the fixin’s. For a long time, I resisted going to Strouds because how can anything be worth an hour+ wait. I don’t generally approve of establishments that don’t take reservations. I get it now. Yes, the chicken’s fantastic. I chose the chicken fried chicken because I’m a big fan of anything served on a platter and covers that platter. When I die, I want to be smothered in country gravy. People drive for hours to eat here.

7.  Prime Cut pizza, original crust at Minsky’s. Kansas City isn’t known for its pizza. For that you go to Chicago or New York. I prefer Chicago-style. But I’ll be damned if Kansas City doesn’t sport an A+ pizza place in Minsky’s at 51st & Main. Of all the Minsky’s locations I’ve tried, this is the best. As a midwestern farm kid, I’m a big fan of eating things that used to have faces. When I discovered the Prime Cut, it felt like coming home. Not only is it chock full of every meat you hope to find on a pizza (and not a sardine in sight), there’s a slice of bacon on every goddamned piece. Thick crust or thin crust? Meet in the middle and go with the original.

6.  The all-meat pork burrito spread at Los Corrals. Sure authentic Mexican is fantastic. And there are some excellent authentic places in town. But this is the Heartland. We like our Mexican food with lots of red sauce and cheese. And if you drop it in the frier before you smother it in sauce and cheese, who’s going to mind? The burrito doesn’t get dropped in the frier, but its none the worse for it. I love it. And I love the Quality Hill locale. It’s a winner.

5.  Murray’s ice cream. I hate waiting in line for anything. I wait in line for Murray’s. The flavors are ever-changing, but you can get on a call-list for your favorite. At our house, it’s Strawberry Fromage and Grandma Spruzzi’s.

4.  Lamar’s Donuts german chocolate knot. I used to have them more frequently than I do now. I had one just a few weeks ago. They are still the best thing Lamar’s sells.

3.  The Manhattan at the Golden Ox Lounge. How can a cocktail be a meal? Serving it in a snifter the size of an infant’s head is a good start. Honestly, the food at the GO is nothing to write home about, though they do have a perfectly adequate happy hour menu to help soak up the booze. I’ve even made better Manhattans at home. How could it possibly make it to number three on the list? The Ox, to me, is quintessential Kansas City, from its location in the Bottoms to its perfectly dated interior to bartenders who treat you like an old friend even if they’ve never seen you before. The lounge is one of my favorite places in this city. I never feel more connected to this city than when I’m knocking back my second cocktail with Scoots and Ladybird while straining to overhear locals discuss politics over a couple of beers or staring at the photo of the smoking cow corpses from the 1917 stockyard fire that hangs over the urinal (if I had a bigger purse, I’d totally steal that and give it pride of place in my living room).

2.  LC’s BBQ beef sandwich and fries. It’s a hole in the wall and, to my mouth, the most sublime barbecue in the city. Everybody wants to go to Bryant’s(famous but inconsistent) or Gates(consistently mediocre) when they come to KC, but this is the place I take out-of-town guests when they say they want the best the city has to offer. I love pretty much everything on the menu, but beef brisket is where LC’s excels. It’s tenderness and flavor is unsurpassed. But frankly, if LC’s stopped smoking tomorrow and sold only their sublime french fries and that divine sauce, I’d do my damndest to keep them in business.

1.  Go-Chicken-Go’s livers and gizzards. It was a tough choice between this and LC’s for the top slot. I give the edge to GCG because a) while no one denies it is the first food that comes to mind when you say “Kansas City,” barbecue is incredibly subjective and everybody has their favorites, defended with no quarter given; 2) I’ve simply never had fried chicken organ meat anywhere else that can compare with these; and d) they’re closer to my house. Absolutely perfect in every way (I’ve never asked how they get the gizzards so tender; I think it might be some sort of pressure cooking prior to frying?), they are served with one of the finest hot sauces, G-Sauce, I’ve ever tasted. Get a mixed half-order, and extra sauce and a small potato salad. It’s my guiltiest of pleasures.


  1. Great list! There are a lot of those I haven’t tried and I’m a kc native. Of course I will have to start the Manhattan – that’s my kind of meal. My favorite festival for food is the Ethnic Festival in Swope Park. Amazing food and amazingly cheap!

    Comment by venus00 — October 14, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  2. […] Reuben at Brown’s Irish Market & Deli makes a list on God’ll get you for that, AKCB of the Top 10 KC foods to eat before you die. (Try eating any of them after you […]

    Pingback by [ Irish KC ] » Kansas City Irish Festivals, Music, Pubs, & Events by an Artist in Ireland » Brown’s Irish Deli Makes Top 10 KC Food List — October 14, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  3. Dude, I was excited to come home and visit before. Now I’ll be drooling for the whole flight.

    Comment by Sarah — October 14, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  4. Browne’s Reuben!!! It’s been a REALLY long time. It used to be a regular Saturday date day thing for my husband and I to do before we got married. I really, really need to go down there! They have great Christmas gifts too. Thank you SO much for the reminder!

    Comment by MoxieMamaKC — October 14, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  5. speaking of fries:

    do you know Paul’s? It’s a 45+ year old burger joint on the east side, just short of 107th and blue ridge. having grown up in the area, i still go back now and again for their burgers and am always surpirsed at how damn good the fires are.

    best burger fires in town, hands down.

    Comment by Doc — October 14, 2008 @ 6:07 pm

  6. I think you nailed it! LC’s and GCG never get the press they deserve.

    I always take people from out of town that want barbeque to LC’s for REAL BBQ. The burnt ends are my favorite. It’s always refreshing to see LC cooking the books at one of the tables in the corner too.

    GCG Livers & Gizzards are unmatched anywhere. If you want other parts of a chicken then Stroud’s can’t be beat.

    But, as for the best Ruben you must try the Ultimate Ruben at the New York Bakery & Delicatessen on Troost.

    Comment by Dan McCune — October 14, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  7. I keep hearing people brag on LC’s, guess I’ll have to try it, though I’m a Bryant’s fan.
    The Rueben at the NY deli on troost is really good, and it’s huge.
    As for Strouds, I haven’t had it since they closed the original on 85th, but the chicken noodle soup was the best ever.

    Comment by midtown miscreant — October 14, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  8. I forgot the rueben at Browne’s Deli! That’s worth making a trip down Troost just for. I really like your picks.

    Comment by Owen — October 14, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  9. Its Fall – Which means Manhattan time at the Golden Ox. Save me a seat at one of the circle tables and don’t call a cab too soon. Cheers, Scoots.

    Comment by Scoots — October 14, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

  10. Ahhh, the Golden Ox manhattan. It’s like that whole description came right out of my brain–perfectly described.

    Which GCG do you visit? I recently heard the original is in KCK but I’ve never been.

    Comment by DLC — October 15, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  11. Venus, thanks! I’ve been trying to go to what in my circle we call the Ethnic Cleansing Festival for a number of years now, but always seem to have a scheduling conflict. Maybe next year…

    Moxie, you’re welcome 🙂

    Doc, I’ll put Paul’s on my ‘must-try’ list.

    Dan, it’s been a good number of years since I’ve been to New York bakery and Deli. One of the other commentors here used to work there for a bit back in the 90s. I remember the reuben as pretty darned good, but the macaroons were what I loved the most.

    MM, you’re right about the soup at Stroud’s. Why anyone would have a salad when they could have that soup is beyond me.

    Owen, thanks for linking to me!

    DLC, we frequent the Go Chicken Go on Troost. If you’re ever up for a get-acquainted trip to the Ox with Scoots and I, drop me a line. I’m a big fan of your blog.

    Comment by akcb — October 16, 2008 @ 1:25 am

  12. […] Eat Before you Die” meme got started. One of my favorite reads, Another Kansas City Blog had a list that I think was my favorite, and included the Reuben sandwich from Browne’s Deli. Y’all remember how much I love […]

    Pingback by Browne’s Irish Market and Deli: 3300 Pennsylvania Ave. » Kansas City Lunch Spots — September 18, 2012 @ 3:57 am

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