One thing travelers often seek when visiting a new place is a dining experience that gives them a genuine sense of their destination. This can mean different things to different diners, but could include eating in historic locations, restaurants that serve local and seasonal produce, and/or a city’s most prized restaurant.
Beyond the obvious and obligatory barbecue, here’s a roundup of places that we think give diners an authentic taste of Kansas City:
- Pierpont’s at Union Station
Located in the city’s historic Union Station, Pierpont’s specializes in serving steaks and seafood. The restaurant has managed to preserve many of the design details from when the train station opened in 1914 and has been recognized as one of the city’s best architecturally designed restaurants. They’re open for dinner seven days a week, as well as lunch Monday through Friday. The Kansas City Strip, with optional blue cheese cream, coffee and ancho chile rub, Grand Marnier butter, Bearnaise, blue crab, or cognac demi-glace garnishes, is a dinner standout.
- Blue Bird Bistro
Described as "upscale organic for the discerning diner," Blue Bird Bistro prioritizes organic produce, as well as all-natural beef and seafood. They source seasonal ingredients from local farms and offer a monthly "farmers’ table" meal consisting of five courses of "locally grown and raised food." They’re open for Sunday brunch as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday. Although the menu changes with the seasons, we’d love to sample the Farmers’ Menu house-smoked Campo Lindo Farm chicken ragù over Thane Palmberg Farm sweet potato gnocchi.
- Justus Drugstore
Nationally recognized as a trendy regional restaurant, Justus Drugstore believes in serving "real food raised with painstaking care by local small farm producers." The restaurant is located in a renovated drugstore in Smithville, Mo. (a suburb of Kansas City) and is open for dinner every night of the week except for Mondays and Tuesdays. The menu is also determined by seasonal availability, but the Rare Hare Barn stuffed rabbit with bacon, rabbit mousseline, pistachio, loin, sherried potatoes, endive, roasted pickled grapes, celery, and grilled onions in a sunchoke, turnip, and carrot sauce grabs our attention.
- The American Restaurant
The recipient of several national awards, The American Restaurant has been considered to be "one of Kansas City’s crown jewels for over 30 years." The restaurant sought out the guidance of James Beard and Joe Baum when it began and has since gone onto become one of the prides of the Kansas City restaurant scene. They are open for dinner Monday through Saturday and serve delicious dishes including Akaushi côte de bœuf with cauliflower gratin, wild mushrooms, apples, and bacon.