Alex and I recently got to visit Kansas City, Missouri for my college friend Emily and her now husband Joey’s wedding. It was a new city for us, so we were excited to explore a little bit. Kansas City actually reminds me a lot of St. Louis, probably because they are both cities that cross a state border and have a river running through them. Also, they are both great Midwestern cities famous for delicious barbecue cuisine! One fun fact about Kansas City is that it is filled with the most fountains in the country (second in the world to Rome) and is nicknamed “The City of Fountains.” Another nickname for Kansas City is “The Paris of the Plains,” named for the large amount of boulevards in the city. We were fairly busy with wedding activities, so didn’t get to see many sights, but we did get to eat at some great restaurants that I am excited to share with you!
Alex and I enjoy watching travel shows and frequently record episodes that include cities that we are traveling to soon. Some of our favorites are: Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Man vs. Food. We had seen Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ on Man vs. Food and read about it on Anthony Bourdain’s list of “13 places to Eat Before you Die”. Obviously, we had to taste it for ourselves. Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ is inside of a gas station, but don’t let that fool you. It is incredible food. I honestly could not pick a favorite of the four types of meats that we tried. The owners started out as part of a barbecue competition team, then turned into a part-time catering business, and finally to a very successful restaurant chain (read their story in more detail here). In any case, if you ever make it Kansas City, you BETTER go to Oklahoma Joe’s. It is a bit of a hike, but I promise it is worth it and you will thank me. I can’t wait to return some time!
My friend Amy from college, Alex, and I had breakfast at the farm-to-table restaurant Bluebird Bistro in one of the up and coming areas of town. It was cute inside and we all enjoyed our mimosas and bloody marys. To be honest, Amy and I’s meals were nothing to write home about, but the reason I am including Bluebird Bistro in my recommendation list is because Alex’s meal was nothing short of amazing. I opted for a make your own omelette with breakfast potatoes and housemade biscuits. It was good and I ate it all, but it wasn’t out of this world or anything. Amy had the veggie scramble and found it to be a little bland, as I recall. Alex’s meal, however, was absolute heaven. He chose the ciabatta french toast with freshly baked Fervere ciabatta bread which was dipped in vanilla-egg batter and topped with butter and Missouri Northern Pecans. I had one bite and was immediately jealous I didn’t order it. It was so soft and sweet. Definitely the winner!
After brunch, we walked around the area to a little antique shop and to Fervere bakery. The entire time we were eating brunch, people kept walking by with loaves of bread that looked fantastic, so we had to pop in and check it out. The staff at Fervere was so kind and let us taste several types of bread that were all absolutely wonderful. I really enjoyed the polenta bread, whole wheat bread, and the olive rosemary. I would have loved to try the cheese bread, but I am sure that one is a quick seller. I wished we could take a loaf with us, but being out of towners, we really had no way to eat an entire loaf of bread. If you have more time and can pick up a loaf, make sure to go on the early side of the morning. We walked in at about 11 and there were only a couple of loaves left. They sell everything they make and then close down for the day. Fervere is obviously very popular with the locals!
The Historic Kansas City City Market is also a place to make a point of visiting. It is open daily (the market is open Saturday and Sunday) and features a mix of dining and shopping. Everything is open-air and there are vendors of all types, including a variety of fresh produce, meat, specialty groceries, flowers and gift items from nearby farms and around the world. There are also several restaurants of all types, so you can get whatever your heart desires, whether that be a smoothie, burrito, pizza, or a beignet. The City Market is over 150 years old and is the region’s largest farmers’ market. It also holds community events and concerts frequently. Since we had just eaten, we didn’t get anything, but I found the highlights to be the spice market and produce market. There were so many beautiful and fresh items!
A great place to get drinks downtown is at The Farmhouse. Both the inside and outside have a great ambiance and you can order wonderfully mixed artisanal cocktails. We didn’t have dinner because we were still full from Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, but the menu looked delicious. The Farmhouse is another farm-to-table restaurant with a healthier twist on typical American comfort fare. If anyone eats there, please let me know!
The bride and groom’s families hosted a cocktail reception at Harry’s Country Club in downtown Kansas City. We had drinks out on the large patio and the weather was beautiful! Harry’s also has standard bar fare, but we didn’t get anything to eat. We did enjoy beer from the local Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City. It was a great choice for the pre-wedding cocktail reception and was packed with people having a great time!
Emily and Joey’s wedding was held at the golf club at The National Golf Club of Kansas City. Several people played a round of golf earlier in the day. I am not a golfer, but I heard everyone enjoyed the course. The National Golf Club was a beautiful choice for a wedding venue. The clubhouse had panoramic views of the 18th hole and large locker rooms for the bride and her bridesmaids. The ceremony was held in the stone courtyard behind the clubhouse and was quickly converted to a table and dance floor set up for the reception. We all had a blast dancing the night away!
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Kansas City at Briarcliff with most of the other wedding guests. The hotel was very clean and modern and featured a decent sized gym, pool, and cafe area downstairs. Our rooms were comfortable and quiet. The hotel is situated in a very convenient location close to several restaurants and near the interstate for easy commuting. My only complaint would be that the stay did not include a free breakfast but rather a paid a la carte breakfast. It was a bit chaotic with the amount of guests there, so we actually never ate at the hotel’s cafe. The cafe serves drinks later in the day, so it was a nice spot for happy hour!
Oklahoma Joes BBQ, 3002 West 47th Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66103
Bluebird Bistro, 1700 Summit, Kansas City, MO 64108
Fervere Bakery, 1702 Summit Kansas City MO 64108
City Market, 20 E. 5th Street, Suite 201, Kansas City, MO 64106
The Farmhouse, 300 Delaware St, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
Harry’s Country Club, 112 E Missouri Ave, Kansas City, MO 64106
The National Golf Club of Kansas City, 6700 N National Dr, Parkville, MO 64152
Courtyard Marriott Kansas City at Briarcliff, 4000 N Mulberry Dr, Kansas City, MO 64116
Bonus Feature-Nashville Airport:
At the end of our visit, Alex and I had a layover in Nashville. Nashville is one of my absolute favorite cities in the country and I love visiting when I can. I always thoroughly enjoy the barbecue and the live country music. Nashville airport is one of my favorites because it has a convenient location of Tootsies (one of the famous bars on Broadway) in terminal C of the airport. Alex and I once spent 8 hours there waiting on a delayed flight and believe me, nothing helps pass the time like beer, barbecue, and live country music. If you’re in Nashville, check out the large location downtown on Broadway, but if you’re just passing through, hang out at Tootsies at the airport and enjoy some great live music!