Kansas City is often called the Paris of the plains. Some think that’s because August Meyer and George Kessler, two urban planners from the 1890s, set out to build Kansas City “more boulevards than Paris and more fountains than Rome.” Others believe it’s because of the city’s 1920s boozy heritage. When all other cities were going dry, the liquor never stopped flowing in Kansas City (thanks in part to organized crime).
This brazen spirit comes across in the city’s cuisine. Not only can you find traditional barbecue as well as biscuits and gravy, but you can also explore a host of great Mexican spots. And the city features a lineup of hip new restaurants seeking to feature local farms and highlight this Midwestern city’s food identity.
We talked to two food experts in Kansas City to get the low-down on what makes Kansas City eats so special. Ryan Bazeal, owner and chef of Novel, and Natasha Goellner, pastry chef at The Antler Room and owner of her own bakery, Mulberry & Mott, broke it down for us.
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