Kansas has various bars, restaurants, and gastro pubs to suit everyone’s tastes, from fine-dining establishments to nationally significant haunts.
This foodie’s tour of Kansas’ top culinary destinations takes you from Kansas City to Wichita and everywhere in between. You won’t have to go far in Kansas to find fantastic restaurants providing mouthwatering cuisine in unusual settings.
When it comes to Kansas, everyone knows there is no place like home. So if you’re in the mood for a dish that makes you think of your mother’s cooking, you may get it here. Kansas can also satiate your appetite if a gourmet meal is more your style. Here are the top 10 restaurants in Kansas.
List of the Best Restaurants in Kansas
The Diner’s Club has ranked Story as one of the top fifty restaurants in the USA and Canada.
Its enormous popularity is mainly due to its stunning location, which has a monochromatic theme and lovely contemporary design, as well as to its creative menu created by the restaurant’s award-winning chef and owner, Carl Thorne-Thomsen.
He came up with the moniker Story to represent both the personal journey of each dining experience and the tale behind how ingredients and dishes come together.
By doing this, Story, despite its slick, contemporary decor, returns eating to its traditional roots of thoroughly enjoying and savoring each mouthful and moment.
9. Rosedale BBQ
Although Kansas City-style barbecue originated in neighboring Missouri, it has since spread to Kansas and has become just as popular as it was in its home state.
Rosedale BBQ has been serving barbecue for over 70 years and has honed its ability to deliver a memorable, authentic barbecue eating experience.
The restaurant employs the traditional technique of slow-smoking meat over a wood fire before it is covered in a delectable sweet barbecue sauce, producing tender, melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful meats that are served with a variety of enticing sides, such as homemade onion rings, crispy fries, coleslaw, or barbecued baked beans.
8. Renaissance Café
The Renaissance Café is housed in the early 20th-century structure that was once Assaria High School and has been transformed into a distinctive, upscale dining establishment.
With tables set up around the former gymnasium’s sunken floor, piled bookcases occupying the corners, and vintage posters, pictures, and portraits of prior presidents adorning the walls, it still contains many nostalgic nods to its former existence.
The menu, which specializes in northern Italian cuisine, thankfully strays from the usual cafeteria fare. Standouts include the gorgonzola salad with pecans and dried cranberries and the steak Fiorentina, which is marinated in olive oil, herbs, and garlic before being chargrilled to perfection.
7. Public at the Brickyard
The Public at the Brickyard, a truly hidden gem in the community, strongly emphasizes a farm-to-table philosophy regarding its cuisine.
It sources its food locally and collaborates closely with local farmers and brewers to ensure that only the best ingredients and goods are used. The outcome is a delectable eating experience showcasing the area’s specialties and Kansan cuisine.
If you like barbecue, try the Wichita wings or the prairie sliders, which are composed of bison meat, cheddar cheese, sweet onion marmalade, and mustard aioli. Choose from one of the many distinctive microbrews available as an aperitif, including those from Wichita-based River City Brewing Co. and Hopping Gnome Brewery.
6. Merchant’s Pub and Plate
Visit Merchant’s Pub and Plate for a genuine taste of Kansas and the Midwestern region. Maps on the back of the menus identify the farms from where certain meals have been sourced, and all products and produce are sourced as locally and responsibly as possible.
Try the shrimp and grits with homemade andouille sausage or the sticky chicken lettuce wraps with enticing flavors of sweet soy and ginger from the menu, which features delectable gastro-pub fare ranging from sandwiches to scallops.
With 30 different beers on tap at any given moment, Merchant’s Pub and Plate also offers the most draught craft beer in Lawrence.
5. Hay’s House Restaurant and Tavern
Seth Hays, the great-grandson of Daniel Boone, opened The Hay’s House Restaurant and Tavern in 1857, and it has since become something of a Kansas landmark. Hay’s House Restaurant and Tavern is the oldest continually running restaurant west of the Mississippi River, having proudly served patrons for more than 150 years.
Jesse James and George Armstrong Custer were among the tavern’s former customers, making a trip there a genuine window into Kansan, American, and gastronomic history.
The subterranean eating room of the restaurant still exhibits the original fixtures and bar, maintaining the restaurant’s vintage, nostalgic ambiance. The menu also features a selection of steaks, seafood, and barbecues and is primarily straightforward and classic.
4. Free State Brewing Company
The Free State Brewing Company was Kansas’ first legitimate brewery to start in more than a century when it did so in 1989.
The Free State Brewing Company, a small 14-barrel brewery, does not restrict itself to one style of beer but instead produces a variety to suit all tastes, from the malty Ironman Imperial Stout to the crisp Copperhead Pale Ale.
It has also recently expanded its business to include beers that are bottled on-site. The brewery’s restaurant, which is connected, offers a delicious selection of sandwiches, kinds of pasta, steaks, and quesadillas as a hearty companion to the distinctive brew of your choice.
3. The Burger Stand
The Burger Stand makes a distinctive and stylish first impression with a wiry light-up sign over the doorway and giant, shining dinosaurs in the windows.
The interior decor is pleasantly industrial, with exposed bricks, pipes, signage, and chalkboards in vibrant colors. The Burger Stand, as implied, specializes in gourmet hamburgers made with premium, locally sourced ingredients.
Notable items include the Kobe burger with truffle butter and greens and the Smoke, which comes with Applewood smoked bacon, gouda cheese, and chipotle-cola ketchup.
2. 715 Restaurant
The 715 Restaurant is a stylish European bistro in the heart of Lawrence that offers an exceptional menu and is the perfect setting for the discriminating diner.
With scenic lighting, a bar against exposed brick that rises to the ceiling, and an open-concept kitchen, the interior mixes a modern aesthetic and a certain rustic charm. The menu is equally outstanding and features exquisite Italian-inspired meals such as the kc strip steak served with anchovy aioli, papas bravas, and chimichurri.
It was created by head chef Michael Beard, who studied culinary arts at the Apicius Culinary School in Florence. As a pre-dinner aperitif, try one of the house cocktails for an added touch of elegance.
1. 4 Olives Wine Bar
The 4 Olives Wine Bar takes fine wine very seriously. The restaurant’s collection of more than 800 bottles of wine is kept in a big glass cave in the middle of the dining room, providing an eye-catching, dramatic centerpiece that doubles as both decoration and a menu.
Each of these 800 wines, many of which are offered by the glass, is then paired with a certain item on the menu to create the ideal balance of food and drink.
The bacon-wrapped Medjool dates packed with Gorgonzola cheese and the grilled scallops in shiitake broth are two dishes on the menu that stand out.
The menu also includes an outstanding selection of cheeses and charcuterie that may be combined and matched to suit the taste of those who prefer a lighter meal or a more conventional wine accompaniment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most popular meal in Kansas?
Kansas’s most well-known food combination is a bowl of chili and a fresh cinnamon bun. Though they seem odd, chili and cinnamon rolls are frequently found on menus across the state, including at public schools and neighborhood benefit events.
What is Kansas City’s signature food?
Burnt ends, the unique steak cut, cheesy corn, and chicken spiedini are the four Kansas City specialties that truly stand out above all others. These four creations are both distinctive to the city and incredibly common.
What dessert is Kansas famous for?
Kansas dirt cake is the most well-known dish to bear the name Kansas, a chilled mixture of instant pudding, imitation whipped cream, and crushed chocolate sandwich cookies.
What BBQ is Kansas known for?
Crisp, charred ends of pork or smoked brisket are what make Kansas barbecue unique. The tomato-based, sweet-and-spicy sauce that finishes everything is another distinguishing feature of this regional culinary style.
What was the first restaurant in Kansas?
As the oldest continually running restaurant west of the Mississippi River, The Hays House Historic Restaurant and Tavern are one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas Cuisine.
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