Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue

The BBQ legend was founded in the early 20s, by Charlie Bryant, Arthur’s older brother. When Charlie died, Arthur took over and moved the BBQ restaurant just four blocks away from famed Municipal Stadium, the home of the baseball team, the Kansas City Blues (a New York Yankees farm team) and briefly MLB’s Athletics.

It became a nationally known eatery. Major league players ate there, and fans would stop by before the games. The fame of Arthur Bryant’s grew. Then, renowned writer Calvin Trillin declared in Playboy magazine that “…the single best restaurant in the world is Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue at 18th and Brooklyn in Kansas City.” The rest is history.

1727 Brooklyn Ave
Kansas City, MO

B.B.’s Lawnside Bar-B-Q

When Lindsay Shannon was a boy, he would watch ballgames at Municipal Stadium near the barbecue and music mecca of 18th and Vine. Eating barbecue before the game became part of his ritual. By the time Lindsay was in college, he got his own smoking pit and began to develop barbecue recipes while listening to the blues.

The main focus of B.B.’s is Kansas City-style barbecue and Louisiana dishes. The menu includes favorites like ribs, sausage and pulled pork, which are slow-smoked in a 60 year old pit with apple wood. making it even better, Shannon’s love of the blues has become a staple at the roadhouse, with live music Thursday through Sunday.

1205 E. 85th St
Kansas City, MO

Danny Edwards Blvd Barbecue

Barbecue sauce runs through Danny Edwards’ veins. His dad opened the family’s first barbecue joint, Jake’s Barbecue, during the depression and moved it to Kansas City in 1938 where he ran it until 1981. During that time, Lil’ Jake (a nickname Danny picked up while working as a kid at his father’s restaurant), gained his appreciation for slow cooked meats.

Danny took the family’s recipes and opened up Lil’ Jakes downtown KC in 1980. There, the tiny 18-seat eatery with a pink concrete pig mascot became something of a lunch legend. The restaurant’s slogan “eat it and beat it” reminded folks that there was a long line waiting for its share of Danny’s barbecue.

For 23 years Danny’s smoked meats mingled in the city air with only one change: the Lil’ Jakes nickname changed to “Danny Edwards’ Famous Kansas City Barbecue.”

In 2007, city developers took over the block where Jake’s stood, to build the Sprint Center and adjacent Power and Light District, forcing him out. Undeterred, Danny grabbed his concrete pig, counters and nostalgic signs and moved them all to “Barbecue Boulevard”.

2900 Southwest Boulevard
Kansas City, MO
(816) 283-0880

Earl Quick’s BBQ

You can always tell you are walking into the right BBQ joint when you see a pile of wood by the kitchen door. Earl Quick’s Bar-B-Q is no exception to this rule. Opened in 1964, it offers the usual suspects… and not so usual…such as ham, catfish, cod, corn dogs, spiral cut deep fried hot dogs and hickory smoked, deep fried bologna sandwiches. Try the smoked chicken, which is smoked first then fried just before serving.

1007 Merriam Lane
Kansas City, KS
(913) 236-7228

The Filling Station

The Filling Station is another gas-station-turned-bbq-joint. The tiny, 8-table spot is family-owned barbeque and loved by their neighbors for the smoky, enticing aromas. (Oh, and for their friendly atmosphere and good food.) There is plenty of outdoor seating, too, making it perfect for a summertime evening.

333 SE Douglas St.
Lees Summit, MO
(816) 347-0794

Gates Bar-B-Q

“Hi! May I help you?” Welcome to a Kansas City BBQ institution. Established in 1946, the single storefront has grown into 6 locations, all struttin’ with the red roof design and man in the tuxedo top hat “depicting their style.”

Gates Bar-B-Q is one of two Kansas City, Missouri, restaurants that trace their roots back to Henry Perry, the founder of Kansas City-style barbecue. The other restaurant is Arthur Bryant’s located at 1727 Brooklyn.

1325 East Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard
Kansas City, MO

Jack Stack Barbecue

Jack Stack serves up classic Q with an upscale vibe. Zagat’s has consistently voted it one of the best BBQ restaurants in the country, making it an obvious choice for visitors wanting to sample authentic KC barbecue in a tidy environment.

Some prefer their burnt ends and has them shipped to California when he gets homesick. (I still lean towards Oklahoma Joe’s.) If you are looking for a reason to see your cardiologist, get the cheesy corn as a side to your carnivore’s delight.

13441 Holmes Rd
Kansas City, MO

LC’s Bar-B-Q

On the way to the stadiums, at the fork in the road of Sni-A-Bar and Blue Parkway, sits LC’s, a small BBQ joint for people in-the-know.

The portions are impossibly huge, atop white bread for sopping up the sauce. The meat is tender, not too lean, or too fat. Its smoky goodness will linger with you all day…yes, the smoker is inside the restaurant, and despite the exhaust fans, some of the olfactory goodness permeates all who enter.

5800 Blue Parkway
Kansas City, MO

McGonigle’s Market

Famous for their killer ribs, this 1950s neighborhood grocery store is known for prime cuts of meat and seafood. The pitmasters also take some of those choice cuts and toss them in the smoker parked out front to serve up great BBQ. The sausage is homemade, the baby backs are crazy good.

Go inside the market for a trip down the meat aisle to find yummy sides…the baked beans are like no other! Then, head back outside to the trailer to pick up your order. When the weather is nice, there are picnic tables in the yard next to the parking lot, so you can enjoy the smoky goodness right away.

1307 West 79th Street
Kansas City, MO
(816) 444-4720

Oklahoma Joe’s

BBQ, Grocery store, Gas station, Smoke house

“People may disagree on who has the best barbecue,” Anthony Bourdain writes. “Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It’s the best barbecue in Kansas City, which makes it the best barbecue in the world.”

Great BBQ in a gas station! Not only does the pig rule, the fries are killer. Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue can be traced to competition barbecue and the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). After winning eight Grand Championships, owner Jeff Stehney decided to open up his own place.

Sure, you probably will have to stand in line to get the Q that Bourdain declared to be one of the 13 places he must eat before he dies. But it is soooo worth it. If you can’t decide, the Z-Man is a sandwich you won’t soon forget. (Insider’s tip – order it with pulled pork instead of beef.)

3002 W. 47th Ave.
Kansas City, KS

Rosedale Bar-B-Q

Founded by Anthony Rieke, wife Alda, and brother-in-law Anthony “Tony” Sieleman in 1934, Rosedale Bar-B-Q began as a neighborhood hot dog and beer stand known as “The Bucket Shop” where you could buy a half-gallon bucket full of ice cold beer for a quarter. With $183 between them, they nailed some tin siding on a 12 x 16 foot frame and fired up their first barbecue pit the following summer.

Today, Rosedale is still the down-home place where you pick up your order at the counter, slide into your seat and dig in. They have stuck to the traditional barbecue fare: brisket, ham, pork and turkey as well as the ever-popular ribs and chicken. The sauce is a spicy, mildly hot family recipe that complements the meat to perfection. Some restaurants serve a smoky-flavored sauce but they believe the smoked flavor should be in the meat, not artificially added to the sauce.

Rosedale is Kansas City’s oldest major barbecue restaurant continuously owned and operated by the same family. They have been recognized by Midwest Living, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Saveur, Chili Pepper, The Travel Channel, Kansas City Public Television, and many others.

600 Southwest Boulevard
Kansas City, KS

Woodyard Bar-B-Que

It’s in an old wood yard, and known for mixing up a one-of-a kind rub for baby back ribs and kick butt BBQ. This is the place that other Kansas City restaurants and BBQ aficionados come to get cherry, oak, hickory and pecan wood for their own smokers.

A true family affair, it was started by the current owner, Frank Schloegel’s grandfather who would work the grill at lunch, feed customers and friends for free, all the while taking orders for wood deliveries over the phone. His son, instilled with the same spirit of generosity, eventually opened the restaurant.

Duck inside the house, place your order and head back outside to the picnic areas. (Inside there are a few tables, but it is pretty small.) If you’re lucky, you might meet Frank’s dad, Frank, and hear some of the myths and legends that make Kansas City BBQ heaven, and Woodyard one of the best places to get it.

Featured on “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives”

3001 Merriam Ln
Kansas City, KS
(913) 236-6666