Kansas City is a Food Town.
In no place I have ever lived or visited have I found the same quality, quantity and variety of restaurants that serve consistently great food at a reasonable cost. There is so much competition in the restaurant market that subpar establishments quickly go out of business.
And yes, I am comparing Kansas City to New York, London, Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans. Kansas City can stand toe-to-toe in the restaurant category with any of them. Seriously.
Kansas City is best known for it's Barbecue. And that is Barbecue with a Capitol "B." Kansas Citians take their Barbecue very seriously. After all, is it the home of the Annual American Royal Barbecue Competition. Now in it's 28th year, the event will take place from October 4- 6. Make your flight and hotel arrangements now. People come from all over the world to compete. And sample the competition, of course! During the American Royal Barbecue Weekend, the city is full.
Although I tended to go somewhere else that weekend. Let me put it this way - imagine that many people all eating barbecue for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for three straight days. The flatulence that can cause is mind-numbing...
But let us not forget that Kansas City is also the Original Cow Town. From the long time locals-in-the-know favorite Golden Ox to the high-end dining experience of Capital Grille, you are sure to find a top-notch, perfectly prepared steak in any price category. And in any dress category from casual jeans and sneakers to Armani.
But do not think that Kansas City is for meat-eaters only. Vegetarians and Vegans can also feel at home!
I would be remiss if I did not write of Kansas City's African American cultural history. The corner of 18th and Vine is the center of KC's African American history. After a visit to the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, stop in at the Peachtree Restaurant for "soulfood with elegance!"
Do not discount the ethnic food category, because Kansas City always has been and remains home to a large population of immigrants. Your food choices are incredibly diverse! From its early days with a booming Italian and Irish population, to the current day influx of people from Africa, Southeast Asia, India and more!
Not to mention, my must-have of Mexican at Dos Reales!
But no trip to Kansas City for me would ever be complete without a trip to my personal all-time favorite restaurant: Lidia's. Not coincidentally, also the place where GLH proposed on April 16, 2005!
So with all these fabulous options, why isn't Kansas City a major tourist destination? Well, 'cause the city falls down the ladder a bit when it comes to other attractions.
For while the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is world-class and free to boot, it cannot compare to the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Nor can the musical abilities of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City compare to the New York Metropolitan Opera. And let's be honest, even the often mocked Euro-Disney outside of Paris is a substantially better visit than World's of Fun in Kansas City.
But still, if you ever happen to be in the Midwest, be sure to swing by Kansas City. You will not go away hungry!