BBQ and Brews in Kansas City

By Megan Hulshizer

After 39 strenuous hours of travel, I arrived home to Oklahoma City on July 1st. Before I would return to my job on July 17th, my boyfriend Brian and I decided to take a weekend road trip to celebrate my return. We decided on Kansas City, Missouri since I had never been, and there was a concert there we both wanted to attend. Fortunately Brian was able to take some time off work, so we left after he got off work on Thursday afternoon and headed toward Wichita, Kansas.

I must admit, although Wichita is fairly close, I have never spent any significant time in Wichita. I didn’t think there was much to do or see. Although we only had one evening in the city, we had a blast. Once we arrived to the hotel and set down our things, we then ventured out to eat at Larkspur, a restaurant recommended to us by one of his coworkers. It is located in the Old Town area, which reminded me a little of Bricktown in Oklahoma City. One thing that I missed so much in Germany was complimentary water when you eat at a restaurant. In America, water magically appears on your table and is constantly refilled with wonderful ice cold refreshments. However, in Germany you practically have to strong arm the waiter into giving you lukewarm tap water in a tiny glass that barely sates your thirst, and that’s all you get. My joy at getting water at the table may have surprised the other patrons. We also tried some local beers which I promptly forgot the name of. We split the delicious lamb chops, mashed potatoes, and roasted cauliflower, as well as a side salad. Even splitting the entree was too much food! It was delicious, and we were happily full with great food.

Next we walked a few minutes down the street to a local brewery, Third Place Brewing. Brian had found a Groupon online for a deal for two flights of beer and a free growler. The little brewery was so cute, and it had different board games you could play while you sampled the beer. It had a lively crowd for a Thursday night, and a wall full of events coming up in Wichita that made us want to come up for future weekends. I really enjoyed the beer, although it wasn’t Brian’s favorite. We didn’t let that stop us though.

The next day we journeyed onward to Kansas City. We arrived at our adorable bed & breakfast, 1812 Overture. It was built in the 1800s and was so charming and cute. We stayed on the top floor in the blue room. It was perfectly located for our weekend. The B&B was so close to our first destination: Boulevard Brewery. We had an appointment for a tour at 11 am. Brian and I had decided to pay for one of the longer, fancier tours since the free ones can book up quickly and it would be possible we wouldn’t get a spot. Our tour guide was very funny and we both gained a greater appreciation and respect for the company after the tour. The free beers along the way probably helped with that too. The tour showed us the production line as well as great views of downtown from the roof. The end of the tour is a tasting of four beers and four samples of snacks, which are supposed to bring out the different flavors of the beers. I found all the beers and food delicious, and it gave us a great opportunity to chat with other tour members about their advice for Kansas City. Some were locals just taking the day off work, and they gave us such a great, long list of things to do in KC that we will have to go back!

After the tour we decided to get some coffee from a nearby local coffee place, The Roasterie. Brian tried the nitro coffee and I got a regular iced coffee, which was nice and refreshing after our walk over. Even though it was a short walk between the two places, the weather was quickly heating up. We popped back over to Boulevard for our last free beer, and by that time it was already getting pretty far along in the afternoon. We had reservations that evening for dinner at Q39, a new BBQ place that’s quickly gaining a great reputation in the city. Obviously we will have to return for the classic like Joe’s, but Q39 blew us away with their delicious burnt ends. We also sampled the pork belly and sausage corn dogs, which were wonderful as well. But when that plate of burnt ends came out, I think I cried a little. They were so good. Germany doesn’t really understand true barbecue (although their sausages are obviously amazing), but Kansas City does it right. It was difficult to leave the restaurant but eventually we had to go, we just couldn’t eat any more.

Luckily we were in Kansas City for their first Friday event, which is in the Crossroads district, walking distance from our hotel. We decided to walk over to the street car and take it one stop though, just for the joy of it. The street car was nice and new and shiny, and I really hope OKC gets one from uptown to downtown. That way we can street car from our apartment anywhere we would like to go! (I miss European public transportation). First Fridays have live music, street food, and special events at local art galleries. We wanted to stop at the Ruins pub for a drink, but it was packed, and another place recommended was right next door: Tom’s Town Distilling. Outside there was some live music we listened to, which once I pointed out that it sounded like an adult KidzBop, we could never un-hear.

Finally it was time to head to the concert we had come to Kansas City for: Markus Schulz. He is a DJ we both enjoy and he was playing the the Power & Light District at Mosaic. It was an interesting vibe because there were people there specifically to see Markus Schulz, but there were also people there just to dance and go out on a Friday night.  We had a good time listening to the music and dancing but I think I prefer performances when all of the people are there to see the show.

The next day we had a goal: IKEA. After a delicious breakfast at the B&B, we headed to the store nearby to get some things for our new apartment. We went with the goal to get a specific bookshelf and maybe a few other things, and left with plenty of decorations and furniture for our place. IKEA can be overwhelming for me, and it was a Saturday so the crowds were out in full force. But we had a successful trip! We then wanted to eat at an Ethiopian/Caribbean restaurant that had great reviews, but when we finally arrived, it was closed! Although we were disappointed, we ended finding a good sushi place that ended up having a Saturday deal for sushi. We ate our weight in sushi and sampled a delicious sparkling sake.

We met up with Brian’s friend Patrick at an arcade bar Up Down. They have all sorts of retro games like NBA Jam and skeeball. I got absolutely destroyed at MarioKart 64 but Brian and I held our own at NBA Jam and beat Patrick and his friend Nick 4-0. Maybe I could play professionally. Next Brian, Patrick and I wandered over to Grinders for pizza, which was delicious and wonderful and massive. I’m sure I ate way too much. Nick had left for a date with a girl, so we met up with them next at a local brewery, Double Shift Brewing. We each sampled some flights and crashed Nick’s first date, and laughed and joked about clown spiders and LEGO Batman. We then walked up to the Power & Light District for some music and dancing at Shark Bar. All day I had a long-running bet with Brian about the color of his shirt. I argued it was red, while he insisted it was pink. Whoever was the winner would have to buy the other person a drink. That night at Shark Bar, a bachelorette party approached us. They were playing a scavenger hunt, and had to take a picture with a guy in a red shirt, and they chose Brian. Vindicated! Brian still insists it looked red because of the lighting, but I know I was right.

The next day was Sunday, and we had to begin our trek home. We stopped in Tulsa for lunch with Brian’s friend Caddy, and we ate at the delicious Roosevelt’s on Cherry Street. But then it was time to drive onward home to Oklahoma City. We had such a good time exploring the many breweries and restaurants of Kansas City, and I know we will return soon for more barbecue and beer.

Leave a Reply