Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the best cities to explore in the Midwest USA. In Kansas City, you’ll find tons of world-class museums, beautiful fountains, and of course, excellent places to eat and drink. Kansas City has tons of creative restaurant concepts and local chains, making it easy to find fun places to eat in Kansas City during your vacation!
Keep reading to discover some of the most fun places to eat and drink in Kansas City, including cozy breakfast joints, upscale dinner restaurants, and local breweries and distilleries.
Best Places to Eat Breakfast and Drink Coffee in Kansas City
1. Messenger Coffee
Messenger Coffee Co. is truly one of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City. This local coffee chain has three locations in Kansas City, but their flagship location, where they roast their beans, is located on Grand Boulevard in Downtown Kansas City. If you can, I recommend visiting this location.
Messenger Coffee + Ibis Bakery is a three-story building with a bakery on the first floor, a roastery on the second floor, and a rooftop seating area with an outdoor fireplace on the third floor. You can watch the pastries and coffee being made while you sip on your coffee, and everything they make is really tasty. I loved the almond croissant (so much that I ordered it two days in a row).
The other two locations are located in Country Club Plaza, so if you’re spending more time in this area, be sure to check out these locations as well.
2. Mildred’s Food + Drink
Mildred’s Food + Drink is another one of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City. They have two locations in Downtown Kansas City, and they serve a wide variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, like The Standard Sandwich, Chipotle Breakfast Wrap, and Guacamole Chicken Club.
Mildred’s also has a full-service coffee bar and serves lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, iced coffees, and other craft coffee drinks. They also serve fun brunch drinks, like a Mimosa, Paloma, and Bloody “Milly”. We visited the location on Wyandotte Street, and I loved sitting on the enclosed patio with a huge fireplace. They also had tons of bar seating, so it would be a great location for working remotely.
3. Made in KC Cafe
Made in KC is an adorable local retail chain that sells products exclusively made in Kansas City. Shopping at the Made in KC Marketplace in Country Club Plaza is one of the best things to do in Kansas City, MO.
However, they also have a coffee shop, called Made in KC Cafe, with three locations in Midtown, the Power & Light District, and River Market. I highly recommend visiting the location in River Market. The coffee shop operates out of a refurbished trolley, and it’s so cute!
There’s no doubt this spot is one of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City. We loved grabbing a handmade pastry and handcrafted coffee and enjoying them at one of the few tables inside the trolley. The trolley also has a porch outside with a few places to sit if you’d prefer to sit outdoors. Or, you can enjoy your coffee while walking around City Market and the Farmers Market on the weekends.
Best Restaurants for Lunch & Dinner in Kansas City
4. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that no list of the best restaurants in Kansas City would be complete without including Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.
Joe’s is probably the most iconic (and popular) barbecue joint in Kansas City. They served Pulled Pork Sandwiches, BBQ Dinners, Rib Dinners, and more. The original location is on the “Kansas Side” of Kansas City and operates out of a refurbished gas station with a retro flair. If you’re visiting this location at peak lunch and dinner times, expect to wait in line. It’s that popular!
Though the original location is the closest to Downtown Kansas City, Joe’s has two other locations in Leawood and Olathe. These spots tend to be slightly less busy, so if you’re willing to drive to avoid a crowd, I’d recommend these locations, instead.
Parlor is definitely one of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City for lunch or dinner. This three-story food hall features seven local restaurants, two bars serving local beer and artisanal cocktails, and plenty of places to sit—including a library, den, lounge, and second-story patio that overlooks the city.
Parlor feels a little like a big house with different places to eat in every room. It’s a little bit more sophisticated than a traditional food hall, but still cozy enough to sit back and relax. It reminded me of a toned-down version of Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market, two of the best things to do in Atlanta.
Parlor also hosts private parties and has special events each day, like Happy Hour on Thursday and Live Music on Friday and Saturday. When we visited for lunch, I ordered a Hawaiian Pulled Pork Slider from Slideshow, and it was tasty! The mac ‘n’ cheese from KC Mac N’ Co. and the fried chicken from Mother Clucker! also sounded great, so I’ll have to give those a try next time!
6. Extra Virgin
I think it’s impossible to go out for tapas and not have fun, which is why Extra Virgin easily makes this list of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City!
Extra Virgin is a tapas bar located in the trendy Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City. They have great deals, like All-Day Happy Hour on Thursday and Pizza & Wine Night on Monday. On their menu, you’ll find Mediterranian-style food, like Marinated Olives, Lebanese Hummus, Falafel, and more. Their menu is extensive, so you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
Extra Virgin also specializes in cool cocktails, and they have lots of options for wine. This would be a great place for a date night or happy hour with friends in Kansas City!
7. Gram & Dun
Gram & Dun, located in Country Club Plaza, is easily one of the most popular restaurants in Kansas City. It’s a great location for a celebratory dinner or fancy date night and has a fabulous patio during the summer and fall when the weather is nice.
Gram & Dun serves sustainable, chef-focused meals with ingredients sourced from local farms. You’ll find Sandwiches, Sushi, and Wood-Fired Entrees on the dinner menu, and similar offerings for lunch. Gram & Dun also serves fabulous cocktails. The Tiramisu Martini, pictured below, was one of the best dessert drinks I’ve ever tasted.
My husband and I loved dining at Gram & Dun. The service was impeccable, the food and drinks were fantastic, and the atmosphere was charming. I was ever impressed with the prices. For such a nice restaurant with high-quality food, the prices were very reasonable.
8. The Campground
The Campground in the Stockyards District is a cool cocktail lounge that also serves seasonal dishes, so it’s the perfect spot for dinner and a drink. They’re only open from 5 PM – 10 PM on Thursday though Sunday, but if you can stop by, this local spot is one of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City!
The Campground serves snacks, like Tapenade and Charcuterie Boards, and tasty entrees, like the Citrus Cured Salmon Tartine and Double Smash Burger. They’re famous for their S’mores Tart, a graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow meringue. The Campground serves dozens of spirits, handcrafted cocktails, and a handpicked list of beer and wine.
9. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue
If you haven’t had enough barbecue yet (it is the main attraction in Kansas City, after all), Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue is a great place to enjoy a gourmet barbecue dinner. Unlike many of the quick-service barbecue joints in Kansas City, Jack Stack Barbecue offers an upscale, sit-down experience.
Jack Stack Barbecue is a fourth-generation family business and the largest wood-fired cookery in the United States. This local chain has multiple locations across Missouri and Kansas, but the historic Freight House location in the Crossroads Arts District is the most accessible from Downtown Kansas City.
Jack Stack is one of the most fun places to eat in Kansas City because they serve family-style barbecue, like the Burnt End Combo, Pork Spare Rib Slab, Taste of Kansas City, and more. If you’re traveling with a group, these oversized entrees can be a great way to save some money! They also have tons of tasty appetizers, sides, and sharables you can pass around the table.
Cool Places to Enjoy a Drink in Kansas City
10. Casual Animal Brewing Co.
Kansas City is filled with tons of craft breweries, but the ambiance at Casual Animal Brewing Co. is simply unmatched. This converted brick warehouse is filled with hanging plants, eclectic rugs, cozy furniture, and fun games, like darts, to create a trendy, laid-back environment where you can enjoy a drink with friends.
Casual Animal focused on fresh, small-batch beers, and quality over quantity is their motto! They have different beers on tap each day, and with such a wide range of options, like the Nomo Rhino IPA and Earth Hound Vanilla Porter, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
Casual Animal also donates a portion of the profits they make on certain beers to select local charities across Kansas City, so you can feel good about helping out the local community while sipping on a refreshing drink.
11. Boulevard Brewing Co.
Boulevard Brewing Company is a staple in Kansas City. It’s not only one of the most fun places to eat and drink in Kansas City—it’s one of the best things to do in the entire city! Boulevard was established in 1989 and is the largest brewery in the Midwest USA.
Boulevard Brewing Company is located in a two-story building. Downstairs, you can learn about the history of the brewery and shop for merchandise, and upstairs, you can order food and drinks. The second floor has tons of seating and dozens of beers on tap. They also have a great kitchen menu and serve pretzel dogs, creamy artichoke dip, and more.
12. J. Rieger & Co.
Kansas City is filled with distilleries, but J Rieger & Co. is the location that started it all. This distillery was founded in 1887 in the West Bottoms Livestock Exchange District. They served over 100 alcoholic beverages and served a quarter of a million customers with mail-order delivery.
The company had to close after prohibition was enacted in 1919. However, the company reopened in its original location in 2014—nearly 100 years later! Today, you can try gin, whiskey, vodka, and other alcoholic spirits when you visit J. Rieger & Co. They also serve cocktails you can enjoy from a lounge while you watch how the spirits are made on the production floor.
13. Mean Mule Distilling Co.
Mean Mule Distilling Co. is a small distillery that makes handcrafted agave spirits, including gin, tequila, and mezcal. The tasting room is small but cozy, and it’s a great spot to relax and unwind with a drink.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of great cocktails, but I think the drink I enjoyed at Mean Mule Distilling Co. is my all-time favorite to date. It was called Good Luck Golden Rod, and it was on their seasonal menu, so if you see this drink while you’re at Mean Mule, you should definitely order it!
What food is Kansas City known for?
Burnt ends, strip steak, cheesy corn, and chicken spiedini are popular foods that Kansas City is known for.
What is different about Kansas City BBQ?
Compared to other popular barbecue styles, Kansas City BBQ features sweet, thick sauces typically made from tomato, molasses, and brown sugar. The sauce is usually cooked with the meat or brushed on immediately after it is removed from the grill.
Get Your Grub On at These Fun Places to Eat in Kansas City
With so many fun places to eat in Kansas City, Missouri, it’s hard to choose just a few to enjoy during your vacation! Whether you love savory meals, like barbecue, or sampling local beers, you’ll find something to suit your taste in Kansas City.
Which of these fun places to eat in Kansas City seems the most interesting (and tasty!) to you? Let me know in the comments below!
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