Today: Anthony Bourdain Descends on B.B.’s Lawnside & the Ghost of L.C.’s Past

What in the world was foodie Anthony Bourdain doing today chowing down at one of KC’s ‘s lessor BBQ joints?

Making the rounds of local dining establishments ahead of his performance Friday at the Midland by AMC, that’s what. KCC reader and comments dude Chuck Lowe stumbled onto Bourdain at lunchtime today at B.B.’s lawnside BBQ in South Kansas City.

"I think he was having burnt ends when I saw him," Lowe says. "The place was packed and everybody was standing around looking at him and he had a crew filming it. But I couldn’t get near him because (owner) Lindsay Shannon was guarding him."

Like Lowe, my experience with B.B.’s cuisine has been mediocre at best. That said, the place has a kickass roadhouse feel and features some of KC’s best blues bands like Trampled Under Foot, John Paul’s Flying Circus and Samantha Fish.

Now back to B.B.’s and the nail biting that may be going as to how Bourdain will rate B.B.’s on his Travel Channel show "No Reservations" come next April.

Return with me now to a column I wrote 10 years back in the Star about a KC Magazine "Top 10 List for Out-of-Towners."

In it, KC Mag cited L.C.’s Bar-B-Q as one of the city’s best. Which sent local stockbroker Carl Finke over the edge. In a letter published in KC Mag’s following issue, Finke wrote:

"L.C.’s the best barbecue? You can’t possibly be serious. I have been to pretty much all the Q joints on both sides of the State Line, and I assure you that L.C.’s is the only one I would never even think of going back to. I couldn’t even finish my meal, not because there was so much food – which there wasn’t – but because it tasted so bad."

But after calling Finke to discuss the diss, the clouds parted and he realized he’d made a mistake. A bad one.

Finke meant to say that B.B.’s, not L.C.’s had Kansas City’s worst barbecue.

"I guess I had a ‘senior moment’ there,’ " the 50-ish stockbroker said. "I was completely screwed up. My wife read that and said, ‘Weren’t you thinking about B.B.’s?’ "

Finke attempted to make amends by sending a corrective letter to KC Mag and one to L.C.’s apologizing.

Now maybe we’ll see if Bourdain lets any local restaurant cats out of the bag at his Midland show Friday.

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23 Responses to Today: Anthony Bourdain Descends on B.B.’s Lawnside & the Ghost of L.C.’s Past

  1. tiad says:

    Anthony Can Go Back to BB’s Tonight…
    …to hear Shinetop, Jr. Or tomorrow night for Samantha Fish!

  2. Hearne Christopher says:

    What do you think of the BBQ there? Just curious.

  3. balboni's moleskine says:

    No reservations is a travel show that incorporates food. They look for the quirky, not the best. BBs is great and fits that bill. Now pass me a ‘french fry’ (1/4 of a large potato)

  4. tiad says:

    BB’s Not My Favorite…
    …BBQ by any stretch. Ribs not too good. Brisket, Burnt Ends and Pulled Pork good, but not great. IMHO. Beans and skillet fries for side orders are pretty good.

  5. chuck says:

    Bourdaine had his Russian Friend with him.
    His name is Zamir.

    The guy gets hammered every show. Its pretty funny.

    In all fairness, BBs had a great beef sammy today and the fires were killer.

    I like Bourdaine’s show, it is on the Travel Channel. He is a little more than irreverent and swears like a sailor.

    Excellent show imo.

  6. Brandon Leftridge says:


    Chuck– were you able to find out if they’re doing a whole episode in KC? Seems a bit strange– though they have done a whole ep. in Cleveland, to be fair.

  7. chuck says:

    I think so. I had to go back to my job and work
    but they all told me the shoot would air in April.

    He looked like he liked the food.

    I sent some cool pics to Hearne.

  8. chuck says:

    Oh yeah,
    They were pounding beer at lunch.

    The show is hilarious, they will film when they have terrible hangovers.

    Watched his “Layover” in Miami last night.

    Great food, and, of course, booze out the ass.

  9. mark smith says:

    Before it was BB’s
    Hearne you may recall back in the 70’s BB”s building housed a bar called Zorba the Greeks. Jimmy Duarte one of the mobbed up guys from the river quay/ civella days owned it along with a guy named George Macaris sp?. Anyway, lot of history in that old bar dating back to as far as I can remember and then some. I think they finally got shut down after umpteen killings and illegal gambling raids. If those walls could talk it wouldnt be about ribs and blues.

  10. chuck says:

    I bought that bar in 1979 right before New Years from Jimmy Duarte. He had just ben released for murder, or maybe manslaughter from Oklahoma. Pretty colorful guy. Had some very colorful friends. We tried to pay the rent on time. It used to be on County LIne Road (85th st, wherre you could get liquor) and was called the “Old Fortress”. I had some Itialian gentlement tell me, that the scene in the Godfather, where Luca Brasi gets an ice pick in his hand, was taken from Jimmy Duarte doing that exact same thing, at the Old Fortress. We tried to pay the rent on time, did I mention that?

    Jesus that bar was violent. Lotta bikers. Wanna be tough guys. I was friends back then, with the now Grandview Chief of Police, Brent M. He had a wedding reception there for his wedding. HOLY SHIT WHAT A BRAWL!! The bikers and shitheels went downstairs to the reception, and it was fuckin on. Bad deal. The first night I opened, there was a pistol whipping with a 357 before 9PM. I could go on…

    I didn’t know a thing about running a bar, but my buddy Billy R. had 56K (Big money for that location back then.) and we were off to the races. My only experience working in a bar, was checkin ID for Vick Fontanna at a place called Walter Mittys. I was modestly qualified to pour beer, much much less to run a bar. It lasted about a year. Wow.

    After it closed, some FBI guys came to see me about my “Relationship” with Jimmy Duarte. Really.

    We lost all the money, my partner never actually came up for air from all the booze and drugs after that. He died about 3 years later. Wow.

    Within a couple of years, in fact, almost every one I knew who worked there or came in, was dead. When I walked away from that son of a bitch, I felt like Ishmael.

    I heard from Nancy Drape (Mike Drape’s daughter- Mike was Jimmy’s lawyer and I think he took a fall for him, he was a good guy.) that Jimmy died. Don’t quote me, but I think he did.

    Yeah, it has some stories.

  11. chuck says:

    One more thing.
    TV violence is not reality.

    The pistol whipping was astonishing that first night.

    The blood went 20 and 30 feet all over every one there.

    I had seen some nasty fights, and a gunshot wound by then, but wow, that just shocked me still for a second. I sure don’t miss the bar business.

    Small world, huh Mark…

  12. Jorges says:

    Life is simple…. SO IS BBQ IN KC
    BBQ is simple. period.

    KC BBQ is the best in the world. period.

    There may 49 trillion BBQ joints in this town, but you only need 5-8 of them. period.
    One can only eat so much red meat BBQ so why waste time gambling and testing
    when someone(me) will tell you all you need to know, and unlike some fkn blowhards
    on this website, I do not talk shit. I have no ownership or affilaiation with any of these
    places… but if you want the best BBQ in the world… KISS Keep IT Simple Stupid.

    1) Brisket… go to Gates and Sons and order a pound of beef off of a new brikets, lean.( it help to smile at the man in back as if he is doing you a favor…cuz he is…. If you dont get it lean…..return it…ask for it OFF OF A NEW BRISKET…sometimes they get uppity)

    2)Pulled Pork.. Go to Oklahoma Joes on Mission road, order a pound of it..,.. It is hassle free, no uppity attitudes

    3)Slabs- Gates and sons… ask to pick a slab…. it doesnt really matter which of the two slabs you pick, but becasue you asked, they will pick two good one….. so juts say “The top one will do fine, thank you sir”

    4)Brisket sandwich- Arthur Bryants…..ummm ummm good.. get in line…grab your plate and fork…then kindly ask the man through the window for a lean sandwich with hot fries say to him…”please make sure those fries are hot “…. get a pitcher of ice cold beer and go to BBQ heaven…… use the tradioonal sauce …and lather up it… is the best sandwich on the panet

    5)Burnt ends- RJs over in Mission KS at Johnson Lamar (watch out for those pesky mission cops, they suck)… there are several ways to obtain these burnt ends….to go…., in …..ask Bob (Robert of RJ) what he thinks is best that day…but dont miss out on the best burnt ends in the city (since Sneads/Keagans disaapeared)…

    6)BBQ BEANS…..this is a new addition to my advice….. order a quart of bean from Jack Stack to go (you can call ahaead and they bring it out, you dont even have to leave the car)…. if you wanna get fancy (and you should)… order a pound of thier mixed meats smokey joe thing…then take it home and mix the beans and meat together…dump some Gates sauce on it…and think of me….. tell me thanks…think kind thoughts.

    7) In a pinch Rosedale BBS on SW blvd is awesome… is the best “bad” BBQ in town…but they have the best french fries…period. the sandwiches are fine too… and priced right……order a beef, fries and an ice tea….

    Simple …… go to BB’s for music…but dont waste your time (and limited BBQ intake) on any other BBQ thna what I just told you…and balh balh balh ..I know I know…. some places like BLAH…. AND BLAH…can SOMETIMES have ok BBQ… but it can be hit and misss…..

    BUT… If you stick to my advice1-8.. YOU WILL IN BBQ HEAVEN, EVERY TIME, BANK ON IT.

    soory for the typos…. oh well

  13. mark smith says:

    Thats right, I was trying to remember its original name. Funny thing, 30 years later or more, and the Marlboro area looks just the same, minus Strouds. Still just as run down , just not the same , um , demographic residing there. and don’t forget 3 moods, ronnies rabbit hutch, and club 95. That area had some of the dankest (best) grimiest bars worth going to.

  14. JNickle says:

    BB’s rocks
    I think they have some of the best brisket in town. The only problem I have with the place is the sauce. It has a heavy applejuice base and cinnamon that is to overpowering. The 1-8 above that the guy mentioned all have unique and well balanced or assorted sauces. I compete regularly on the KCBS circuit and this place has a guy running the bbq pit there for the last 15 years. I would dare anyone to take BB’s meats dry and put the other places sauce on it and you would be singing a different tune. As far as GATES goes it is not lean brisket. They slice through the fat cap to get the best yeild and sometimes you get a good sandwich or a bad one. There really is not a bad bbq joint in town. They all have their unique thing. Hidden gem at BB’s is the meatloaf. They incorporate smoked ground brisket into it. ITS FREAKING AMAZING.

  15. Hearne Christopher says:

    I vaguely remember it, mostly just by name. I was pretty young back then. Great location now, although it was probably pretty suspect then. Would have been the perfect roadhouse for Stroud’s to move to when it spend like two years on the homeless plan.

  16. Hearne Christopher says:

    Not familiar with RJ’s and not so sure about Rosedale, but otherwise your advice seems spot on. I think BB’s has improved somewhat in the now 21 years that it’s been open but…I’d hesitate to gamble on it, even though I’ve only gone as a guest with friends.

  17. tiad says:

    Damn, Chuck…
    …I thought I was readin’ some of the Glazey-eyed one’s prose there for a minute.

  18. Jorges says:

    bank on it
    “”Not familiar with RJ’s and not so sure about Rosedale, but otherwise your advice seems spot on. I think BB’s has improved somewhat in the now 21 years that it’s been open but…I’d hesitate to gamble on it, even though I’ve only gone as a guest with friends.””

    You need to go to RJ’s and try Bob burnt ends….I was tipped off 5-6 years ago after whining I couldnt find good burnt ends…. and I must say RJs burnt ends are the best (i used to swear by keegans/ sneads, but they are gone now) FOR THE RECORD- I repeat, I am NOT affiliated with any of these places in ANY way….. heck they would hire a mean-ass-grumpy-fucker like me… Im way too grumpy……. I am just an old fucker who pretty much hates everyone and everything….. so when I say good things, you can bank on it….

    And if it is one thing I know…. it is BBQ…. and I dont waste my time…… It took years to learn what I know….. and one thing I know is NOTHING PISSES ME OFF MORE THAN SHITTY BBQ and/or people messing up my front lawn ;)……. and it has been 20 years since I had bad BBQ…

    and come on man… those always hot and crspy fries at Rosedale are awesome….. the beef? it is best bad BBQ in town.

    BTW- For dinner tonight we doing the jackstack beans things… mixing in the meat with the beans is crazy good I got myslef jonsing about it just talking about it…

  19. chuck says:


    Lost all the money, got roughed up in bar brawls pretty regularly and hated most every minute.

    Oh yeah, the girls didn’t think I was cool at all.

  20. expat says:

    Chuck you should put all that in a book… KC had a seedy underbelly that has largely been forgotten. As a member of the younger generation I get a kick hearing about this stuff.

    Imagining Jorges on Saturday morning: “YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!” (as he chomps down on a bbq sandwich, sauce dripping onto his shirt).

  21. Jorges says:

    EXACTLY…. I am thinking of having that picture blown up and put it out there in the yard to scare the kids off… dang whipper snappers… my dog used to do the job, but these days he just hangs out inside…. with the BQ… he aint no stupid dog…..

    Say, that reminds me…. do you know what he says when he wants some BBQ? “woof woof”… yup he says “woof woof”…and then he gets some BBQ too…..hey.,…. hold on a second!!!


  22. Dave says:

    I’m not just jerking Hearne’s chain … this time …
    Nothing against Oklahoma Joe’s, because that stuff is GOOD, but …

    Why do they seem to get all the props, nationally (and locally, among some of my white-ass friends and relatives), when Gates and Bryant’s have at least, if not more, quality to offer, with much more history? Is it racism, or a pack mentality, or a love of way-too-heavily-seasoned french fries, or just a strange fascination with former gas stations?

  23. chuck says:

    Probably wouldn’t well. 🙂

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