Due to my lofty social status, charming personality and dashing good looks, I’m often being asked for my take on things. You know, “hey Brendan, you’re 18-34, super-hip and ultra-cultured. You live in a cool part of town, too, and probably pay a ridiculous amount to do so. Where do you like to eat? I’d like to eat there, too! I like your jacket. It makes you look great!”
I usually thank this person, say something like, “you betcha!” and then point at my ear buds before smiling and walking away. It’s not that I don’t love hearing the accolades or fear sharing my opinion, it’s that I don’t like talking to people in real life. (Plus: it’s the Crossroads, and apparently there’s a rash of crime going around. How do I know you’re not trying to steal my Air Jordans?)
But it’s different on the internet.
So if you’ve ever wondered where I like to eat without the hindrance of travelling more than half-a-mile from my front door—or, if you’ve never heard of me but are still looking for the five best restaurants in the Crossroads Art District, I’ve compiled a list.
I like to call it, “The Five Best Places to Eat That Are Within Less-Than-A-Mile of My House.” I think it’s pretty catchy.
Let’s have a looksee!
5. The Jacobson—which brands itself as “a modern eatery with a vibrant atmosphere”—is young and pretty, with the best outdoor space of any restaurant in the area. It also makes a hamburger that will knock your teeth out and then your teeth will go down your throat and you’ll probably choke on your teeth and you might have to go to the hospital. It’s THAT good. The burger-sandwich is called—wait for it—“The Jacobson,” and it is described as being “topped with short-rib marmalade, bone marrow butter & crispy onion straws.” Here’s what I wrote about the burger somewhere else:
“This burger, oh sweet Jesus, THIS BURGER. You think that it’d be really rich because of the short rib marmalade and the BONE MARROW BUTTER, and you’d be completely right, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that this is seriously delicious. It tastes like a hamburger (steakburger) in Heaven would probably taste like. Like, this is the kind of burger that Jesus would probably enjoy for lunch with his bros, maybe at the bowling alley where he was bowling a PERFECT FUCKING GAME because he’s Jesus, you know?
But be careful with this burger. When I bit into it, it went all, “Peter North” with the hot butter juice and delectable fat, and it shot up and it hit my cheek and I swear to God it burned. The second few drizzles rolled down my chin and singed my beard.”
And I meant ALL of it. Go try this burger ASAP.
4. Extra Virgin is the attractive relative of mega-chef Michael Smith’s namesake restaurant. It’s smaller and a little more casual, and although you may not want to make her your wife, she’s probably much more fun in bed than her older, snootier sister/cousin. It’s a small plates place, meaning that you can try lots of new things for a modest amount of money, and because the menu is rotational, you can go back at another time and try even MORE things for the same amount of modest money. As the eternally hilarious Yakov Smirnoff is fond of stating (still!), “WHAT A COUNTRY! (weird hiccup laugh, weird hiccup laugh, weird hiccup laugh).” Didn’t like the halibut cheeks? Doesn’t matter! Try the duck-tongue tacos! (seriously: try the duck-tongue tacos).
3. Grunauer is an Austrian restaurant, and if you don’t enjoy Austrian food, you’re just being silly, mister. Multiple Schnitzels? Schweinebraten ? Käsespätzle ? Un-hilariously named assorted sausages? Are you KIDDING me? This is comfort food at its finest. And yeah, it’s a bit pricey, but I’ve never regretted walking away with a lighter wallet after a visit. There’s just something about the place—the ambiance, the location, the friendly staff—they never fails to hug me in my stomach-bones.
2. The Rieger was started in 2010 by heralded drink-slinger Ryan Maybee (partner) and acclaimed super-chef Howard Hanna (head chef/owner) in a haunted, abandoned building that stood empty for centuries, or at least since it housed its last celebrated restaurant, 1924 Main. Mixing fancy-Dan cocktails and creative, New American cuisine, the Rieger is as popular as it is delicious. And although it’s a little narrow, and you may feel the walls are closing in on you, it’s absolutely worth it once you slurp the house-special pork soup (it tastes like angel tears) or mouth-fuck a giant forkful of the rabbit potpie. Like Denny’s or iHop, The Rieger changes their offerings seasonally, so before you head out, you may want to browse their online menu. It’s a pretty good indication of what you can expect on your visit. In fact, the next time that I go, I’m expecting the Goat au Vin, which I believe means “goat named Vinny” in French. And the Rieger Pork Soup. GOD, that soup.
1. Jack Stack: Look, I know I’m not telling anyone anything they didn’t already know with this one. Though it’s not the best BBQ in KC—that’d be Oklahoma Joes—it is the second best, and easily the best restaurant that I can walk to, down a frightening amount of smoked meat product and cheesy corn, and then stumble home from, drunk on unhealthy amounts of tender, decadent meat. (and beer.) And yeah, it’s probably “too fancy” for your drunk uncle, the BBQ “purist”—there are no rolls of butcher paper or sawdust coated floors—but quite honestly, who gives a shit? They know what they’re doing, and they do it better than most.
Bon Appétit, everyone.
For more fantastic restaurant suggestions—LOL—make sure to follow me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle.