Garbage Gobbles: Kansas City Ed.
As a long-time vegetarian, my life has always revolved around food. Checking the nutritional info and ingredients, finding out where it is sourced from, remembering to bring a Clif bar with me to any social events (in Missouri, there have been several weddings/baby showers/etc. I have been to with not a single vegetarian option. Not even the salad or bread!). Due to my restrictions, however, I have come to have a deep appreciation for the foods I can eat.
And boy, do I eat.
I am a hugely influenced by food choices when looking into a new place to travel, and would be approximately 10% richer if I would just pack my own snacks. But, in my opinion, food and drink brings people together and partaking in a travel location’s food culture can shape your experience of a place.
You are probably finding it ironic that I would find so much to eat in Kansas City. I mean, they aren’t exactly renowned for their kale. But it’s true, even in the land of barbecue, Kansas City is similar to St. Louis in that there is much to be enjoyed for both vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.
I have been to Kansas City a handful of times now, so below I have included several places of interest for your next foodcation!
- The Roasterie
You really can’t miss The Roasterie when choosing to visit KC, as they are the building with a giant airplane assembled on their roof.
The crew offers a complimentary tour to those visiting, and it is quite interesting! They start you off with a video explaining the company’s start up and how coffee beans are plucked in Central America. You then are guided around the facility to admire the mass amount of beans and machines, learn about their air roasting techniques (super fascinating), and at the end are provided free samples.
Afterwards, it’s back to the cafe area where you can purchase a cup. I chose to try out a lavender, almond milk latte.
- Boulevard Brewing Company
It has now been 3 times that I have been to Kansas City, and I still have not managed to score the elusive free ticket for a tour of Boulevard. There is no online booking method and they give the tickets away immediately upon opening.
However, they do hand out coins for free tastings to the glum and sore losers. The taproom is fun as Boulevard is always experimenting with beers and by visiting you get to taste some potential new sellers!
- Zoo Bar
Power & Light District
I am strategically placing Zoo Bar before Power & Light for your benefit. Being just around the corner and within walking distance of the stage, Zoo Bar is the embodiment of a perfect dive-bar. Take a couple of shots or drown a vodka cranberry in their heavily graffiti’d space before you head over to the much more expensive dance area.
P.S. It’s cash only!
- Power & Light
Power & Light District
If you can see past the “bro-like” atmosphere, enjoy spending your money on overpriced alcohol, and are okay with surrounding yourself with college kids and other tourists, then you will enjoy Power & Light.
Despite it’s drawbacks, Power & Light is a cool spot to dance at and is unlike anything you will find within surrounding states (no, sorry, Ballpark Village doesn’t even come close). My guide to having a good time:
- Grab some friends that you trust being drunk around.
- Take the streetcar down.
- Pregame at Zoo Bar.
- Get to Power & Light before 11 so you don’t have to pay the cover.
- Have fun on the dance floor, or check out a surrounding bar for performances like at Howl at the Moon!
- City Market
Go for the weird steamboat museum, stay for the fresh produce.
The Historic City Market in KC is home to a variety of diverse places to eat. Grab a cup of City Market coffee (seriously the best), walk around smelling spices or exploring the public farmers market, and then settle in for a meal at one of the several local eateries. I am partial to Beignet (because Nutella), though I have heard Burrito Bros and Blue Nile Cafe are both spectacular!
Afterwards, walk around and check out the local stores such as The Candy Wizard, Dutch Flowers, or Yoki.
- Kansas City Taco Company
A newer Mexican restaurant gaining ground in KC’s fastest growing area is Kansas City Taco Company. The joint harbors tacos stuffed with fresh ingredients and sneaky margaritas (I didn’t realize how much tequila was in mine until I had finished and was – ahem – pretty buzzed). They offer two vegan taco options, and plenty for those who partake in a meatier diet.
If you are from STL, this taco joint reminded me a bit of Mission Taco.
- The Farmhouse
If you are seeking a slightly over-priced, albeit delicious, morning then look no further than The Farmhouse. The buzz surrounding this brunch spot is evident as you talk to locals, with multiple folks referring to it to me as “pretentious”, “cozy”, and as “having good coffee and cocktails”. Honestly, imho, anywhere that serves coffee in a french press is worth visiting.
The Farmhouse lives up to it’s name as being “farm to table” style, while still offering options for vegans and vegetarians alike. I have eaten here for brunch but never been for dinner, so you’ll have to let me know how you like it if you go!
- Beer Kitchen
Beer Kitchen is thus far my favorite restaurant in all of Kansas City, and apparently everyone else’s as well because they are known to have an extensive wait. I would highly recommend making a reservation before adventuring out to eat, or else at least preparing to entertain yourself while you wait to be seated.
The menu is loaded with delightfully unhealthy options, including french fries with an assortment of aioli, loaded mac and cheeses, and of course, gallons of beer. However, if you take any advice away from this blog post, please, oh please, purchase their jackfruit tamales. They are to die for.
- McCoy’s Public House
If you happen to find that there is an hour long wait at Beer Kitchen and don’t want to wait around for that long, then head across the street to McCoy’s Public House for some additional fine food. While I still think Beer Kitchen is better (don’t tell them I said this), McCoy’s offers plenty of basic options for vegetarians, such as a veggie pizza or a black bean burger.
Apparently they have jackfruit tacos here as well (copycats), but were conveniently out when I visited and I am still kind of salty about it.
- Panache Chocolatier & Cafe
The Kansas City Plaza is shopping central and features all of the basic clothes stores like H&M and Forever 21, as well as being home to a few stores you maybe wouldn’t find back home (at least in St. Louis) like Warby Parker and Tesla.
As any place with a Tesla store is likely to be, the plaza is not the cheapest place to find a bite to eat. For this reason, my friend’s and I chose to snack instead. And what is better to splurge on in a ritzy area than fancy ass chocolate? Panache is home to imported dark chocolates and boozy truffles, as well as other cafe items like coffee and cold treats. I stuck to ice cream this time around since it’s summertime.
- KC Nanobrew Festival
Kansas City is known to have quite a few beerfests, and the KC Nanobrew Festival is one worth the $35.00 (or so)! Tickets include a free glass, unlimited tastings from all of the local brewers, and a meal ticket at one of the abundant food trucks parked nearby.
The festival is 4 hours long, and we all thought for sure that we couldn’t possibly stay out for that long. As the day went by though, we realized we were still hanging around as they closed up and were sad it ended so soon!
So go on and enjoy day drinking while walking along the beautiful riverfront. Check them out next year, and grab your ticket early as they have sold out in the past.
Questions? Ideas? Concerns? Leave them in the comments!
And let me know what I need to try next time I am in the city!