The Best of the Best: Kansas City Food & Drink

From Veggie Poke Bowls to Steaks Bigger Than Your Head, Here's How to Make Sure Every Bite is the Best

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Best Guys' Night Out


Pendergast Club  The top floor of the Majestic Steakhouse conceals one of downtown Kansas City’s best-kept secrets: The Pendergast Club; a private cigar lounge that started as a turn-of-the-20th-century brothel and was also once an office to notorious KC mob boss Tom Pendergast. Today, this old-school bar boasts an impressive collection of fine Scotch, whiskey and bourbon, and guests can enjoy the entire restaurant menu while reclining in one of the comfortable leather chairs. There’s a walk-in humidor, too, for those who would like to partake in the cigar action. True to its name, Pendergast is a members-based club and admission is at the discretion of management — although any Majestic guest should have little trouble gaining entry so long as there’s room available upstairs. Or, for your own epic (and exclusive) guys’ night out, you can reserve the whole club.

Best Coffee Experience


The Wild Way Coffee Truck There’s plenty of good coffee to be found in Kansas City, but perhaps no experience is as charming as the one delivered by The Wild Way Coffee Truck. This pop-up shop founded and managed by husband-wife team Jon and Christine Clutton, features specialty espresso and coffee drinks like the Chillchata, with housemade horchata (cinnamon-spiced rice milk) and cold brew, as well as a pour-over bar. Most weekdays, you can find the Cluttons parked in the El Torreon lot in the Tower East District. Infuse your morning routine with something a little wild.


The Wild Way Coffee Truck

The wild way coffee truck

Best Place to Get a Huge Steak


Golden Ox Thanks to business partners Jill Myers and Wes Gartner (the duo behind Voltaire and Moxie Catering), one of the West Bottoms’ most beloved landmarks, the Golden Ox, has been resurrected this year (it closed in 2014 after 65 years in operation). Myers and Gartner have stayed true to the restaurant’s chophouse legacy, emphasizing Kansas City’s stockyards history in the 1940s-inspired décor — but it’s the expansive steak menu that shines brightest here. Among the nine different locally-sourced cuts available, you’ll find “The Drover,” an astonishing 34-ounce, bone-in, dry-aged masterpiece. Come hungry, leave happy.

Best Resurrection Story


Freshwater  Freshwater had only been open three months before a drunken driver crashed into the Midtown restaurant in June last year, destroying the main dining room and forcing chef-owner Calvin Davis to shutter his doors. Less than a year later, though, Davis has gone from tragedy to triumph as Freshwater reopened in May at its original Southwest Trafficway location. Extensive reconstruction reflects the cozy, modern, American vibe that the first iteration exhibited, and Davis’ menu — an affordable assembly of dishes showcasing locally sourced ingredients — is as vibrant as ever.



Freshwater, photo courtesy freshwater

Best Artisan Sandwich


Bay Boy Specialty 
Tucked into a basement kitchen in a residential part of the West Plaza neighborhood is one of the city’s best-kept sandwich secrets: Bay Boy Specialty Sandwiches, a tiny shop helmed by San Francisco native Julian Garcia. Here, Garcia brings a little bit of the Bay Area to the Midwest with hefty handfuls of house-roasted meat piled into a housemade Dutch Crunch bun. Dutch Crunch — also called tiger bread — is a signature loaf in northern California, famed for its squishy center and satisfying outer crunch. Get the El Jefe, a twist on the Cubano, with smoked pulled pork, honey ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and hot pepper sauce.​