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The Tastes of Kansas City Will Amaze Your Palate

by Angela Orr | Mar 05, 2018
The below excerpt and images are from the 2016-2017 issue of KC Options. Read on Issuu.

Whether your tastes lean towards meat and potatoes, farm to market, sushi or International fare, Kansas City’s restaurants and food trucks fit the bill. Some of the most successful chefs are spread across the metro, and it is possible to find a new locale to try every day of the year.

Two of the most forward thinking chefs in the area, James Westphal and Mark Kelpe, are up to the task. As the owners and innovative minds behind four popular food destinations for young, urban professionals in Westport, all within blocks of each other, their menus are unique to each individual concept. Welcome Charbarians to Char Bar Smoked Meats and Amusements. The playground where carnivores, herbivores and locavores drink, eat and play lawn croquet, bocce and ping pong together. All while noshing on barbecue competitor extraordinaire Mitch Benjamin,’s award-winning saucy creations. Low and slow describes the timeless art of charring, smoking and grilling and it’s all on show here.

Taste of KC Blog2-minThe other three in this inviting foodie clan are Beer Kitchen, which is a beer lover’s dream. Walk inside the \ historic building, and your server will introduce you to the likes of Longfin, Nitro Merlin and Hoptimum served alongside corned beef hash, premium burgers and breakfast all day. 

Across the way is McCoy’s Public House, named after John C. McCoy, Westport’s founder. This pub invokes the spirit of public houses of old, and has produced KC’s best handcrafted ales and lagers for more than 19 years. Many of the beers are nationally recognized award winners, and Head Brewer, Morgan Fetters, recently won a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal for her Imperial Brown called Ursa Minor. You’ll want to indulge in the mac and cheese alongside your pint. This delight has won awards with more than 135,000 servings sold since 1997!

The Foundry is a late night urban beer palace that attracts a wildly diverse crowd, serving up McCoy’s beer options. Music ranges from new wave to underground hip hop to the 90s and is open late for those that just don’t want the night to end.

Port Fonda, also in Westport, was recently named the best new-age Mexican restaurant in the country by the New York Times. Over the course of his 20-year career as a chef, Patrick Ryan has focused on simple, ingredient-driven food influenced by the flavors of rustic, Mexican cantina cooking. Instrumental in the farm-dinners of Green Dirt Farms, Patrick brings that focus on authentic ingredients to Port Fonda where he was nominated for Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef Midwest 2013 and 2014 and most recently nominated for James Beard Awards’ Best New Chef-Midwest 2015.

Taste of KC Blog 1-min

Food trucks have taken the food scene by storm, and Kansas City boasts a wide variety. Parked at events and locations throughout the city, Wilma’s Real Good Food brings comfort food with a twist, while the Taco Republic truck serves up sensational street tacos. Schimeca’s Italian Sausage takes fennel-flecked Italian sausage to the masses, and The Moose Truck is stocked with everything from corn dogs to Philly cheese steaks to barbecue burnt ends.

Aixois is a classic French bistro in Kansas City’s Brookside neighborhood, offering one of the best outdoor patios and an intimate, relaxed dining room. Emmanuel Langalde, a native of Aix-en-Provence, opened Aixois with his wife, Megan, in 2001. Inspired by the techniques and recipes of his native France, he offers a distinct menu focused on fresh, organic, seasonal ingredients. He works with area farmers, butchers and bakers to bring local flavor to his classic French cuisine.

Satisfy your curry cravings with authentic Indian cuisine served up at Moti Mahal I and II, with locations in Zona Rosa and Westport. 

Colby and Megan Garrelts are the chef-owners of the wildly popular Rye Restaurant in Mission Farms [and on the Country Club Plaza], and Bluestem in Westport. They both have had careers working in top restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Chef Colby is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest and 2005 Food & Wine Top 10 Best New Chef. Chef Megan is a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Pastry Chef.

Cafe Gratitude, in the Crossroads Arts District, is one location of a collection of 100 percent organic plant-based restaurants specializing in naturally unique gourmet cuisines. Tables are situated close together, invoking conversation and fellowship with the eclectic crowd drawn inside. Each dish has a name to empower the diner, including Thriving, Comforted, Gorgeous, Awesome and Happy. As the server places the selected dish before you, he or she states, “you are thriving,”“you are comforted,” etc. The raw, chilled lasagna, aptly named Fabulous, is renowned and the smoothies and shakes will change your world, one coconut milk, kale, chia seed, vanilla bean sip at a time.

Care to dine on food harvested from local farmers and suppliers, in a castle setting? Then head to Shawnee, Kansas, and experience Renee Kelly’s at Canaen Castle. Shatto Milk, Two Sisters Farm and many other area providers contribute to the unique food offerings created by acclaimed, energetic chef Kelly, who recently competed on Top Chef. The menu changes often to reflect what the farmers are harvesting in that season. This is truly the definition of farm to table. And the venue is a magical locale for wine tastings and events - who doesn’t want to get married in a fairy tale castle?

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