It's no secret that Kansas City is a wonderful place. It is lively, young, and only getting better. One of the best things about KC is that there are so many stellar and unique restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, distilleries, and so much more. I’m still finding new gems after calling KC home for nearly 5 years now. Today, I’m sharing a handful of my favorites. These are the places I take visiting friends and family, recommend to out-of-town guests and co-workers, and will keep returning to as long as I live in this wonderful city.
Succotash - Midtown area
One of the most artistic and quirky restaurants I've ever seen, Succotash has definitely proven itself as a favorite among Kansas-Citians, as witnessed by the out-the-door lines on weekends. The vibe here is colorful, lively, and loud, especially on a crowded Saturday morning. I love their fresh-pressed juices. The unmistakable signature of Succotash is the enormous wall-hanging of a woman slurping on a spoonful of tomato soup. Hundreds have posed for pictures with this weird yet intriguing photo. Don't forget to try the sumo-food challenge, if you dare: eggs, ham, peppers, onions, fries and cheese wrapped in a giant pancake topped with sausage gravy. If you manage to eat the entire breakfast set before you, the meal will be on the house, and your name will go up on the wall. I also love that they have a signature dessert, which is a rainbow 8-layer citrus cake.
What I've tried: Farmstand, Body Builder, short stack pancakes, Little Richard, Burrito of Love, mexican coke, Cubano juice, Lawnmower juice, Sexy Beast juice, Ninja Sunrise juice
What I can’t wait to try: Veggie wrap, eggs benedict, zesty dipping platter, Mr Green Jeans juice, 8-layer citrus cake
Favorite(s): Lawnmower juice, Body Builder, chocolate chip pancakes, Cubano juice
2601 Holmes St. Kansas City, MO 64108
The Farmhouse - River Market
This little treasure is one of my favorites. I love coming here for weekend brunch. I have not yet made it here for lunch or dinner, but from what I've heard, it's delightful. The staff is dedicated to merging local, high quality ingredients and food with great customer experiences. They work with local farmers and always have a fresh, seasonal menu. I have never been disappointed here.
What I've tried: Eggs benedict, steak & eggs, cinnamon roll, Midwest Croque Madame
What I can’t wait to try: KC Hot Brown, Airline chicken, pan seared duck breast, pumpkin flapjacks, veggie benedict
Favorite(s): Eggs benedict, cinnamon roll
300 Delaware Street Kansas City, Missouri 64105
The Sundry - Midtown area
After one visit, the Sundry became my new go-to lunch spot. It's close to my work, uses local and organic ingredients, and is fairly priced. Something unique about this place is that you can buy grocery products from local vendors here. The interior is spacious and bright with various seating, and they also offer outdoor patio seating. I love the pop of yellow that they incorporate along with the finished wooden tables and chalkboard walls. Fun fact: They are now expanding to add a full service espresso bar and plan to serve coffee, beer on tap, wine, kombucha, and cocktails.
What I've tried: Lamb & beef gyro, greek chickpea wrap, quinoa salad, Yudon bowl, falafel & hummus, chicken & rice soup
What I can’t wait to try: Sundry club, chicken & bacon carbonara, Bruschetta, soon-to-come breakfast items
Favorite(s): Lamb & beef gyro, Yudon noodle bowl, quinoa salad
1706 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, MO 64108
Beer Kitchen - Westport
This is one of my husband's top 3 go-to places - it's a good thing we both love it! It is very loud here, always boisterous and alive with excited conversation and laughter. We've been able to enjoy this restaurant at all hours of the day, so we know it's amazing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cocktails are the some of the best I've had, and if you're into beer, they have a huge selection, hence the name.
What I've tried: Mint julep, moscow mule, blackberry margarita, turkey-turkey sandwich, mushroom flatbread, zucchini-potato latkes, black-eyed pea hummus, chicken & waffles, veggie benny, fish & chips
What I can’t wait to try: Dutch babies, eggplant muffuletta, Oral Fixation, Ginger Tango, root veggie pot pie, red velvet waffle
Favorites(s): Blackberry margarita, veggie benny, zucchini-potato latkes, turkey-turkey sandwich, mint julep
435 Westport Rd. Kansas City, MO 64111
Columbus Park Ramen Shop - Little Italy area
What I love most about this restaurant is its uniquely creative personality. I found it in passing, on my way to Happy Gillis for weekend brunch. At the time, I wasn't even aware of the Ramen trend, and assumed the place was a buffet of sorts. I was very wrong. Their menu is small, simple, and oh so tasty. This little restaurant introduced me to one of my now favorite cuisines - Japanese noodle bowls. They are filled with a delicious broth, spinach, meats (or none, if you've vegetarian), tons of fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley, soft boiled eggs, scallions, bean sprouts, sometimes seaweed and, of course, noodles. These bowls are filling, but I never leave with that uncomfortable "stuffed" feeling, or like I ate too much. They are comforting, healthy and so flavorful. To put it bluntly, I'm obsessed. The atmosphere here is fun and very inviting. You can tell that it's a family-owned business by its welcoming and homey vibe. It's compact, but no one seems to mind. A few tables and a bar seating outside allow for a warm summer night under the string lights with friends. The place definitely draws a crowd, especially on those balmy, late spring and early summer evenings. The shop is only open during evening hours from Thursday - Sunday, but right next door sits Happy Gillis for breakfast and lunch!
What I've tried: Shoyu bowl, Chicken Miso bowl
What I can’t wait to try: Mushroom bowl, Daily Pickle
Favorite: Chicken Miso bowl
549 Gillis Street Kansas City, MO 64106
Komatsu Ramen - Westport
Another excellent place for noodle bowls, is this new addition to the Westport area. Komatsu was just opened in 2016 and has already made quite a name for itself. The unfinished wooden interior is an intriguing and modern touch. The menu is organized by the type of broth (pork, soy, or miso) and type of noodle (hakata, tokyo, or hokkaido), and from there, you choose a combination. They have a full service bar and make some great cocktails, for a reasonable price. One thing I like about this place is that they have a daily special for $8. Each day, one of their bowls is chosen and made available for a discounted price. With long, late hours and an extensive menu including salads, hot steamed buns, and even a shaved ice dessert, this place is a crowd-pleaser.
What I've tried: Oishi bowl, Susaki bowl, Takaida bowl
What I can’t wait to try: Seaweed salad, cucumber salad, pork belly buns, Kama bowl
Favorite: Susaki bowl
3951 Broadway Road Kansas City, MO 64111
Novel - Westside
One of Kansas City's hidden gems, Novel is one of those places you'll miss if you're not looking. It's located in an old house in the Westside area. Novel serves very creative and gourmet dishes, and the menu consistently rotates. This place is top notch quality, and it's definitely for special occasions. With an organically rustic and modern atmosphere, meals at Novel are a wonderful experience. I wasn't exactly sure what some of the menu items were, but the wait staff are extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and love giving recommendations. You can tell that everyone here, from the wait staff and bartenders, to the chefs, are proud of what they do. This is upscale dining at it's finest. You'd be hard pressed to find another restaurant like Novel, and that is what I love most about it. Everything I have had here was excellent and delicious.
What I've tried: Duck neck dumplings, soft shell crab cake, fried KC shrimp, crispy egg, seared diver scallop, chicken porchetta, coconut pavlova, carrot cake, Chocolate
What I can’t wait to try: Potato bisque, Alaskan halibut, fried blueberry pie, sticky gingerbread
Favorite(s): crispy egg, seared diver scallop, duck neck dumplings, Chocolate
815 W 17th Street Kansas City, MO 64108
Quay Coffee - River Market
Besides being adorable, the coffee here is excellent. Quay (pronounced "Key") is one of those coffee shops in which you snuggle up with your favorite book when it's cold outside. I really enjoy the taste of the espresso here, and the cold brew is outstanding. The baristas are friendly and knowledgeable. Bonus points: Their space is highly Instagram-able, so if you want some picture-perfect style, you'll find lots of potential here. The famous window framed by string lights, the farmhouse tables featuring a single vase of a few delicate blooms, and the high ceilings will have you swooning.
What I've tried: Black coffee, cold brew, Americano, spice brown sugar latte
What I can’t wait to try: Fresh vanilla latte, honey latte
Favorite(s): Cold brew, Spice brown sugar latte (hot or iced)
412 Delaware Ste. B Kansas City, MO 64105
Goat Hill Coffee & Soda - Westside
Formerly known as Little Freshie, this space has now become a darling coffee shop serving espresso drinks as well as keeping the house made sodas and snow cones from Little Freshie. The decor is absolutely perfect - simple and clean, yet colorful and trendy. The small menu is not underwhelming; it is just right with enough options for everyone to find something that they like without having a hard time making a decision. They partner with Post Coffee (located in Lee's Summit) for their espresso beans. I have always liked the taste of their espresso, it is more earthy and muted as opposed to sour like some shops in the area. Their flavored lattes are not too sweet, just how I prefer. It is such a bright and cheerful little shop.
What I've tried: Americano, lavender latte, blackberry lavender soda
What I can’t wait to try: Blood orange rosemary soda, vanilla latte
Favorite(s): Lavender iced latte
811 W. 17th St. Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Hi Hat Coffee - Westwood, KS
Not only is this place cozy and adorable, it is also the home of my absolute favorite latte of all time - the Butter Bean latte. They have some of the most creative latte combinations I've found. As anyone who's visited knows, the place is very small, but the quaint outdoor seating and storybook scenery, especially in the fall, are enchanting. With kind and friendly baristas, delicious menu options, and the slow, scenic feel of a morning spent with friends, this coffee shop is one of the most delightful.
What I've tried: Americano, black coffee, Butter Bean latte, Almonette latte
What I can’t wait to try: Bam Bam, Aztec Mocha, Bee High
Favorite: Butter Bean latte (it's a winner hot or iced, and I usually don't care for hot lattes)
5012 State Line Rd. Westwood Hills, KS 66205