Owen Morris from the Pitch, has an on going blog featuring the top 10 food in Kansas City to eat before you die. So I thought I’d join in the discussion. My list is rather nostalgic. They are place I’ve grown up eating. Most have been around since before I was born and if you want to experience the Kansas City I know these foods would be a good start. They are in no particular order, just 10 of my favorite Kansas City foods.
10. Holt’s Cream filled Long John -Owen is counting down from 10 and in his number 10 spot was Lamar’s Cinnamon Twists. Lamar’s are wonderful but they are no Holts Do-Nuts. Holt’s at 1325 Main in Grandview, are a family owned and operated bakery. They have been around since I was a little girl and that’s a long time. If you don’t get there early you won’t get any. They are sold out by 9am. Their cream filled long johns with homemade chocolate frosting were my breakfast every morning before school.
9. Jack Stacks Pit Beans and Cheesy Corn – Fiorella’s Jack Stack has been a staple in Martin City since the 1970’s, originally called Smokestack. I went to grade school at Martin City elementary. My childhood memories will always have a hint of hickory smoke whiffing through them. Their smoked meats are the best in the country but I could make a meal on their sides. I’m unable to chose between them for my list, so just like at the restaurant I will choose both!
8. Snead’s Burnt Ends – If you keep driving South on Holmes past Jack Stack , you will come to another business that’s been around since I can remember: Snead’s BBQ(171st and Holmes). My granddad would take us to family dinners here. It pretty much looks the same, with the carved bear in the parking lot ready to eat – greet you. Burnt Ends or Brownies are crispy end pieces of brisket that are surprisingly moist and juicy served on top of white bread with fries,pickles.and coleslaw. All that for less than 10 bucks! Order a side of the their beans too because they rival smoke stack’s and that says a lot. Nothing fancy here, the way a BBQ joint should be.
7. Royals Stadium Schweigert Hotdog – My taste buds don’t generally start salivating by the words “Natural Casing Wieners” but put those wieners in a metal steamer box out at the K and sell them for a dollar on “Buck” night and suddenly they are pork-by-product crack. Pass the mustard!
6 Fritz Hamburger – If you have kids, grandkids or are just a kid at heart, you have to eat a burger at Fritz – not the fancy schmancy one in Crown Center -but the original one on 18th street. Old Fashioned hamburger with grilled onions served to you by train. Don’t forget to ask for your paper engineer’s hat!
5. Jazz Mudbugs – Jazz isn’t “Holy cow amazing “but it’s consistently very good. I love their Krab cakes ala mer and the atmosphere at their 39th street location. I’m putting it on my list because it’s the only place I know of in town to get a plate full of crawfish for practically nothing. I have three boys and I’ve taken each one on a special individual date to introduce them to this delicacy. You can’t even imagine the look of awe in 12 year old boy’s eyes, when you set a plate of bright red “mudbugs” in front of him and say “dig in!”
4. Taco Pizza at Funhouse – The original Fun House Pizza and Pub in Raytown. Another family owned and operated restaurant that’s been around since the 60’s. If you grew up anywhere around here, you probably have childhood memories of riding the mechanical rides (they were free) or playing video game while your parents sat at the cafeteria style tables with a pitcher of beer watching a local cover band and standing on your tip toes to watch your pizza being made right before your eyes. What I’ve found though is that you must have grown up here to like this pizza. The locals LOVE it but many of the transports don’t..hmmm Try it yourself and let me know what you think!
3. . Strouds Pan-Fried Chicken – No one can make better fried-chicken then my mother, but Stroud’s is the next best thing. I admit I haven’t eaten there since they moved from there 85th street location but when I lived at 87th and Troost (20 years ago), we had Stroud’s for dinner once a week . Their portions were so huge, we could share a meal and not be hungry. Pan-fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, green beans flavored with bacon and onion and homemade cinnamon rolls for dessert. Oh yeah!
2. Jess and Jims Playboy Steak – As I mentioned I grew up in Martin City. I was in kindergarten when Playboy magazine announced Jess and Jims “The finest steakhouse in the world”. I admit at five I didn’t know much about steak but I was fascinated by the giant cow perched atop of the building precariously looking down on our school bus as we drove by. I think BIG is the theme for this steak house. I was 8 or 9 when I laid my eyes on the 25 ounce Playboy Steak and stood in awe, dreaming of the day my appetite would be big enough to order it. 40 years later I’m still not big enough. Not only that ,but they have twice baked potatoes that are bigger than your head!
1. Jaspers Scampi Alla livornese –It’s not always a good idea for an established restaurant to move locations after more than 40 years, but in Jasper’s case it works. Their location in Watt’s Mill is delightful, especially if you get a seat on their patio that overlooks Indian Creek. This is an Italian market/restaurant that is absolutely one of the best authentic Italian restaurants in Kansas City and surprisingly affordable. This is the real deal. You can tasted the Italian history in every bite from the cheese plate to the desserts, but my absoulte favorite is the Scampi alla livornese –shrimp with a hint of garlic in a wine laced cream sauce…heaven