Gates Bar-B-Q (Kansas City)


Here now is my last meal report from our brief visit to Kansas City in July and quite appropriately it is of a meal eaten at one of the city’s most sanctified barbecue institutions, perhaps second only to Arthur Bryant’s in that sense. I am referring, of course, to Gates Bar-B-Q. It too traces its history back to Henry Perry—the father of Kansas City barbecue and the man whose restaurant evolved into Arthur Bryant’s. The original location of Gates was founded in 1946, with the Gates family partnering with another of Perry’s employees/students, Arthur Pinkard. Unlike Arthur Bryant’s, Gates is still black-owned and indeed still in the Gates family. That original location, at 18th and Vine, does not appear to still be extant. Gates does have six locations in the Kansas City metro now. Of those, we dined at the large restaurant on Emanuel Cleaver Blvd., selecting it for its proximity both to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, which was our previous port of call and to access to the highway back to Minnesota, which would be our next. It was a fine meal and a fine farewell to Kansas City. Continue reading

Voltaire (Kansas City)


My reports on our meals in Kansas City in the second half of July are almost at an end. Here is an account of our penultimate meal in the city, at Voltaire. This was one of two meals we ate on this trip that were not centered on barbecue and both were positioned to break up the consumption of barbecue so we wouldn’t get stuck in a (smoky) rut or die (at this point we had already eaten smoked meats at Joe’s Kansas City, Arthur Bryant’s and Pigwich). The first of those meals was our dinner the previous night at Waldo Thai Place. Like that restaurant, Voltaire had been recommended by the same friend of a friend on Twitter. And given how much we’d enjoyed our dinner at Waldo Thai we had high hopes of our meal at Voltaire as well. These high hopes were mostly met. Read on for details. Continue reading

The City Market and Lunch at Pigwich (Kansas City)


I do very much enjoy walking around urban markets in cities I visit. Accordingly, a stop at Kansas City’s City Market was on our itinerary. Originally, this was supposed to be our last stop on the Thursday of our trip. It’s located in the north of the city, right by Highway 35 and the plan had been to go for a walk by the river, browse the market, eat a quick lunch at Pigwich and hit the road. All of this got thrown for a loop by my lame trip planning. I’d put a visit to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on the agenda for Wednesday (preceded by lunch at Gates-Bar-B-Q). Of course, since I only bothered to look at the museum’s website closely on Wednesday morning I discovered rather late in the game that the Nelson-Atkins is closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays. (Isn’t all this detail fascinating?!) So we went to the Nelson-Atkins and Gates on our last day and on Wednesday started out with a walk by the river, a stroll through the City Market and lunch at Pigwich. Here’s how it went. Continue reading

Waldo Thai Place (Kansas City)


Our trip to Kansas City, in case I haven’t mentioned it before and in case it hasn’t already become obvious, revolved largely around the eating of barbecue. Gluttons for smoked meat though we are, we knew we needed to punctuate these barbecue blowouts with at least a couple of other kinds of meals or risk the very real possibility of untimely death. And so in doing my internet research I looked for interesting sounding restaurants that were some distance from barbecue. One of the names that came up a few times was a place with the unlikely sounding name of Waldo Thai. I put it on the long list but when a friend of a friend recommended it on Twitter I looked closer at its menu and we decided to give it a go. And a very good thing too that we did so. Not only was this a nice changeup from barbecue (our two previous meals had been at Arthur Bryant’s and Joe’s Kansas City), it was an excellent Thai meal, one of the best we’ve had in the US outside Los Angeles. Herewith the details. Continue reading

Arthur Bryant’s (Kansas City)


Our eating in Kansas City began at the original gas station location of Joe’s Kansas City, a few hours after our arrival. When I say the “original” location I don’t mean to suggest that this is a very old restaurant: it opened in the late 1990s. Arthur Bryant’s, where we ate lunch the next day, on the other hand goes way back to the beginnings of Kansas City barbecue, being indeed the place where the genre solidified and gained renown. The original proprietor, Henry Perry, the “father of Kansas City barbecue, had begun to sell his wares in the early decades of the 20th century, first at a stand and then to a restaurant in the 18th and Vine neighbourhood. On his death Perry’s business passed to his employee, Charlie Bryant in 1940 and his brother Arthur took over in 1946 and moved the restaurant to its current location at 18th and Brooklyn in 1949. (All this information is from Wikipedia, in case you’re wondering.) Continue reading

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Kansas City)


Okay, let’s get the Kansas City meat-a-thon going. As I said at the end of last week, we drove down to Kansas City for three days for a trip that was largely built around the eating of barbecue. As you doubtless know, Kansas City is one of the four traditional centers of barbecue in the United States—Texas, Memphis and the Carolinas being the others. The major differences between Kansas City barbecue and the others is first of all a more catholic approach to meat: there is no meat that is given emphasis over others in Kansas City. Anything that can be barbecued is. The other is the deployment of a tomato-based sauce with more than a little sweetness to it. Our main desire with the eating of barbecue was to eat at places with historical/cultural significance rather than places that top “Best of” lists. To this end I looked up reviews and articles online and canvassed recommendations on social media. We settled on Arthur Bryant’s and Gates for the historical/cultural significance. But we began our eating at the relatively much-newer Joe’s Kansas City which does often land at or near the top of those “Best of” lists. We had dinner there just a few hours after arriving in Kansas City. Continue reading

Three Days in Kansas City


What is this now, a tourism blog? Well, why not.

On more or less a whim we went down to Kansas City for a few days earlier this week. We hadn’t been outside southern Minnesota as a family since February 2020 and were itching to go somewhere. With the younger boy not yet vaccinated we were not comfortable getting on a plane and nor were we into the idea of a much longer drive, which would also mean a much longer stay away for it to make sense and would need more planning than a trip made on a whim. Chicago was the obvious choice but we’d been there a few years ago and didn’t really want to deal with the hectic traffic. Kansas City, located exactly six hours from our door, seemed like a great alternative: get on Highway 35, drive six hours south and get off; Des Moines located almost exactly halfway for a lunch stop. Lots and lots of great barbecue to eat once we got there. What could go wrong? Well, a few things did but it was a nice visit overall. Accordingly, here are some tips for anyone else looking to make a quick jaunt to Kansas City and also a request for a list of things we should have seen/done but didn’t. Continue reading