This will be a long one, and I might repeat recommendations I've made before.
Kelley Martin put together this list of local BBQ joints that I completely forgot to include (sorry, Kelley!): http://www.arsc-audio.org/conference/pdf/2013AmericanBBQList_WorkingListforARSC.xlsx. Everyone is super-opinionated 'round here about their barbecue so I'll just give you my opinion, for what it's worth (probably not much). I'm not a long-time resident (coming up on 5 years) and I haven't tried every place on the list because I'm not often in the mood for BBQ. Here's my (short) list:
Best meat: Oklahoma Joe's -- they don't drench their meat in sauce so you can actually taste the smoked meat.
Best sauce: Gates -- I prefer more vinegar in their sauce so Gates it is! BTW, perfect time to plug the Local Arrangements Reception on Thursday night where you'll get your chance to taste Gates BBQ!
I never liked Arthur Bryant's but Chuck told me I need to get the ribs at the AB's in Martin City. I've heard great things about Woodyard. In any case, if it's an establishment that's survived in this BBQ city, it's probably good.
In terms of distance, Westport is a walkable distance away. Westport has lots of local restaurants (unlike the Plaza, which has mostly chains). Here are my personal Westport-area recommendations:
Ice cream: Murray's -- caution: cash and check only
Coffee: Broadway Café -- great espresso and great people-watching. Oddly Correct -- they've got coffee down to a science, no need for cream and sugar in this place.
French: Westport Café & Bar -- KC has a good number of excellent French restaurants.
Bar food: McCoy's Public House and Beer Kitchen -- KC does bar food well. McCoy's is a go-to establishment, and they have a really nice outdoor seating area.
Mexican: Port Fonda -- started off as a food truck, but now they have a gorgeous space in Westport. Fresh-made chicharrones, chips, etc.
Middle Eastern: Bread for All -- some prefer Jerusalem Café, but I find Bread for All to be far superior (I'm biased by their za'atar).
Steak: I don't eat a lot of red meat, but I've heard good things about several of the places on the Plaza.
Vegetarian: Eden Alley Café in Unity Temple (Plaza); Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse (Volker), Café Gratitude (Crossroads)
Farm-to-Table: The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange (on Main Street in Union Hill/Crown Center), Westside Local (near the new Performing Arts Center and my favorite), The Farmhouse (City Market)
Fine dining: Starkers (Plaza) -- I had an awesome trout dish here. Room 39 -- near the record stores, small place but excellent food. Bluestem -- The chef has been a James Beard award finalist several times, and although he's never won, the food is amazing. And the pastry chef (his wife) made the best dessert I've ever had.
I wouldn't say KC has good Asian food. The best Asian food I've had in KC is the pho at Vietnam Café down in the Columbus Park (near the City Market). IMO, the strengths of KC dining is BBQ, bar food, steak, and farm-to-table.
The conference hotel is right on Main Street so you can just hop on the Main Street Max bus (http://www.kcata.org/maps_schedules/routes/mainmax/) and get to just about anything really interesting in KC. To the north-- Westport (if you prefer not to walk), Union Hill/Crown Center area which includes the WWI Museum and Union Station, Crossroads Arts District, downtown Power & Light District which now has an Alamo Drafthouse, and the City Market (farmer's market, shopping, antiques). To the south: Brookside which has several local restaurants and shops. If you're headed to the 18th & Vine Jazz District, you'll have to transfer since it's northeast.
I hope that helped some. I'm happy to give more specific recommendations.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steve Ramm
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 7:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] ARSC Conference 2013: Some General Questions for the LAC Committe
Sandy and Wendy and Chuck:
Thanks for your previous posts in response to Rainer's questions. Since we are only three weeks away, I have a few questions that I'm sure the answers would be of interest to others attending. They are basically logistics, and I don't think are on the Conference Web site:
I know the Marriott is one part of town (last time I was there was the last ARSC Conference in KC where we stayed at the Westport Inn). And many of us won't have cars. We can carpool to meals I guess - though Friday night is the only night without a reception.
So, for those that are coming in early or want to get away for a few hours during the conference and see sights, what is within reasonable walking distance (say 20 minutes or so) or can be reached easily on frequent public transport without changing many buses)?
I used your Restaurant guide and looked at "BBQ and other" near Country Club Plaza. I certainly recognized about 80% of them 'cause they are major chains which have locations in Philly and other major cities. For those of us who want the "Kansas City Experience" (Isn't that why we are there?, Could you (the group of you and others on ARSClist from the area) give us a "subjective" list of local places (hey I could do BBQ every day! - Last great BBQ was in Rochester last year!) that we wouldn't know about. There should be some good like steak places for some and I'm sure a few might want vegetarian. I for one would love a real BBQ joint (Gates, Bryants, or the other place mentioned) But I fear they are not close.
Also ice cream! (I still remember the place in Westport though not sure in
And, for the newbies to KC are there special local foods BESIDES BBQ that you would recommend. (Hey, you folks came to Philly and I got you to the right cheese steak and hoagie places and found you real Philly soft pretzels.) . So please editorialize away! we're in your town!
Thanks so much. See many of you in three weeks. And don't forget to register!