Gold, Meehan, and Me Invade KC


The brisket burnt-edges sandwich at Gates Bar B.Q.

[See More On the Road: Weird Food Truck in San Francisco | Watermelon Shop in Texas! | Delicious Kansas City Oddball Burgers]

The last week of April, Peter Meehan, Jonathan Gold, and I went to Kansas City for three days of binge eating. The conversations that ensued have been edited and presented in the fourth issue of Lucky Peach — the Summer, 2012 edition. In it we mainly talk about food and music. By my count the three of us managed to eat in 22 places total, though sometimes not as a full crew.

The grisly aftermath of a meal at Gates in which we tried to taste nearly everything.

Visiting places like Stroud’s, LaMar’s, Winstead’s, and Arthur Bryant’s, we partly followed in the footsteps of Calvin Trillin – who long ago maintained that Kansas City food was the best in the world. It may have been a mistake that we took the proclamation more seriously than its author. Here are photos of some of the things that we ate. One of the greatest pleasures of the trip was finding out that the three of us – all veteran critics – disagreed completely about half the time.

The founders of Gates Bar B.Q. in a shaft of holy light

The Stroud’s pan fried chicken was pretty much a hit with all of us, right fellas?

And so were the fried potatoes, at least as far as I was concerned.

Stroud’s cinnamon rolls have their fervent admirers, but most patrons end up taking them home for breakfast the next day.

The interior of Stroud’s

Here’s a place we skipped for lack of time — and appetite.

The double hamburger (foreground) and fry-onion ring combo (background) at Winstead’s caused us to ponder the nature of burgers in Kansas City.

At midday, the interior was diner-like and somewhat dark.

LaMar’s cinnamon roll was too big to fit in the picture’s frame.

Breakfast at Town-Topic

Open 24 hours!

Tamales from La Posada Spanish Grocers

Arthur Bryant’s on Brooklyn Avenue, by sunset

Woodrow Bacon was pitmaster at Arthur Bryant’s for 60 years.

Despite the colorful plate, the first pass at the legendary Arthur Bryant’s was none too great; we went two days later and it was better.

Probably the worst thing we ate in three days was the burnt-edges soup at Jack Stack Barbecue.

On a second visit, the milkshake at Town-Topic was formidable.

These ribs from Oklahoma Joe’s — across the state line in Kansas City, Kansas — generated the greatest controversy of the trip.

Oklahoma Joe’s is located in a gas station.

We checked out every barbecue we could find, no matter how unpromising.

The ribs at Winslow’s BBQ weren’t bad.

LC’s is located on the southeast edge of town — also in a gas station, though one no longer operating.

The burnt edges sandwich at LC’s. What’s not to like?

On a second visit to Bryant’s, the smoked sausage sandwich was a delight.