Kansas City Barbecue

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Kansas City Barbecue – The Barbeque Capital of the World

Ask any two docents for their favorite barbecue restaurant and you’ll get three answers.  With a worldwide reputation for delicious barbecue, Kansas City has over 100 BBQ restaurants to choose from. Kansas Citians are passionate about their barbecue and we all have our favorites.

The rich culinary tradition started in the 1920’s with Henry Perry, who started barbecuing in an outdoor pit at his streetcar barn in the 18th and Vine area.  His slabs of meat were served on newspaper and were priced at 25 cents a slab.  In addition to pork and beef, Henry offered opossum, woodchuck and raccoon.

When Henry died in 1940, he left the business to one of his cooks, Charlie Bryant. Charlie brought in his brother Arthur who took over the business in 1946, renaming the restaurant Arthur Bryant’s.

In Playboy magazine in 1972, Calvin Trillin, author and food writer, called Arthur Bryant’s “the single finest restaurant in the world.”  Frequented by Presidents and celebrities of all kinds, Arthur Bryant’s was the beginning of a long line of Kansas City barbecue establishments. There are now over 100 BBQ restaurants in town!  A few more of Kansas City favorites include:

Gates Bar-B-Q – This family owned business dates back to 1946. Known for its trademark greeting, “HI, MAY I HELP YOU?” as you walk in the door, as well as the good food and fast personalized service all contribute to the continual popularity of this restaurant and their nationally distributed BBQ Sauce.

BB’s Lawnside BarB-Q – This popular spot combines what Kansas City is historically known best for - BBQ and the Blues. BB’s live music and award winning slow-smoked meats make this unique restaurant a fun place to feast.


Fiorella's Jack Stack – There are five Jack Stack Barbecue restaurants around Kansas City, including one on the Country Club Plaza. Besides the gourmet tasty meats, the menu also includes fresh seafood, lamb and popular side dishes like Hickory Pit Beans and Cheesy Corn Bake.

Joe’s Kansas City – This now famous restaurant opened in 1996 in a little neighborhood corner gas station in Kansas City by a couple who started winning prestigious barbeque competitions. They have since opened two more locations around town where people line up daily for the famous Z-Man sandwich, brisket, burnt ends and pulled pork. Anthony Bourdain named Oklahoma Joe’s – now Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que - on his “13 Places to Eat Before You Die” list proclaiming ,”It's the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world.” (Best Dining Options Around the Globe:Men's Health.com (menshealth.com)

Kansas City’s barbecue continues to evolve with a delicious blend of tradition and creativity.  Pick a BBQ spot and give it a try.  What’s your favorite??


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