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B E ST O F 2015

I

f the magazine you now hold in your hands or see on your screen were a Pixar movie, you might wait through some of the closing credits to see the super-cute scroll of names that always goes by toward the very end — all the babies born to the filmmakers and the studio’s employees while the movie was in production. It’d be a long wait in this case because, for the most part, we aren’t historically a baby-making bunch. See, over The Pitch’s 35-year history, we’ve kept a busy calendar of muckraking, grousing and snarking in the classic alternative-newsweekly mode, an occupation that tends to be less than family-friendly. But for most of that time, we’ve also interrupted our skepticism and outrage once a year to celebrate the parts of KC life that keep us — happily — in KC. We ask for your help jogging our memories (we call this a readers’ poll, but really it’s an optimism transfusion — thank you to all who responded this year), we put our picks and yours together in this issue, and then we invite you to a big party. So, in our Pixar movie of The Pitch’s Best of Kansas City issue, the names going by would include Z-Man, Bianca and Dame ’Yac. Names of sandwiches, names of pizzas, names of cocktails. Solo first names as they appear on nametags at our favorite businesses. Names like Salvy, for a certain Gatoradesplashing catcher. (Is our theme this year — Crowning Achievements — a Royals thing? Jinx! No. Maybe.) Names we’ve been swollen with for months as we assemble our annual rundown of the people, places, movers, shakers, artists, actors, writers, barkeeps, servers, chefs and other KC essentials we unabashedly adore. Old favorites. Newbies on the climb. All of them, in their way, KC regal. In this issue, we bow to them, bow to Kansas City’s best … everything.

C O N T E N T S PEOPLE & PLACES

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SPORTS & REC

21

GOODS & SERVICES

27

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

35

BARBECUE

48

FOOD

51

DRINK

67

READERS’ CHOICES

73

CONTRIBUTORS ART DIRECTOR: Jeremy Luther PHOTOGRAPHER: Zach Bauman GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Ashley Tebbe WRITERS: Tracy Abeln, Liz Cook, Charles Ferruzza, Natalie Gallagher, Deborah Hirsch, David Hudnall, Justin Kendall, Larry Kopitnik, Angela Lutz, Steve Vockrodt, Scott Wilson COPY EDITOR: Deborah Hirsch | PROOFREADER: Brent Shepherd MANAGING EDITOR: Justin Kendall EDITOR: Scott Wilson MODEL: Chelsea Leaver by arrangement with Jessica Buritsch 8

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11 BEST CAMPAIGN MAILER

BEST OF KC 2015

PEOPLE & PLACES

JOLIE JUSTUS’ FORGET-ME-NOT SEEDS As a rule, campaign mailers are ugly, unwelcome reminders that an election is around the corner. They come in one of two varieties: a postcard with factually challenged attacks on a political opponent or a vague list of a candidate’s credentials and promises. But Kansas City voters saw a third type: a packet of flower seeds. Jolie Justus, a progressive Missouri senator who termed out of Jefferson City, opted to run for Kansas City, Missouri, City Council earlier this year, easily defeating John Fierro. Seeing little upside in attacking her opponent, Justus sent 4th District voters a handful of forget-me-nots, reminding them to go out and cast a ballot. Many didn’t heed her call, as the dismal voter turnout reflected, but flowerpots in the 4th District have never looked better.

BEST POLITICAL RESURRECTION

KATHERYN SHIELDS For a time, Katheryn Shields was an effective politician. She served capable terms on the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council in the 1980s and ascended to Jackson County executive in the late ’90s and early aughts. The longer she stayed in office, though, the more trouble nipped at her heels. Federal investigators questioned contracts coming out of the county executive’s office. People close to her came under scrutiny, too. In the end, the only dirt that stuck was a mortgagefraud indictment, one for which she and her husband were later acquitted. But the damage was done — at least, so it seemed. After getting pummeled in the 2007 Kansas City mayoral primary, Shields kept a low profi le. That is, until she ran against Jim Glover for the council. Glover was as entrenched as a politician can get, but Shields hustled on the campaign trail. It paid off with a narrow upset victory. Now she’s firming up her position as an independent and effective leader on a council that needs those qualities.

BEST FUTURE CIVIC LEADER

JARED CAMPBELL Jared Campbell learned an important lesson in 2015: Going up against Kansas City’s political establishment isn’t easy. Campbell, a 30-something insurance broker who lives downtown, decided to try his hand at running for Kansas City, Missouri, City Council. The odds were against him. In his race were entrenched politicians Katheryn Shields and Jim Glover. Still, Campbell made an impression with thoughtful positions on public transit, urban planning and economic development — positions that he delivered respectfully and reasonably. Campbell didn’t make it out of the primary for Kansas City’s 4th District at-large, but he put in a respectable showing. Kansas City politics

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remain dominated by old-guard interests, but we hope that Campbell keeps an active role in local civic life. This city needs more people like him.

BEST REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

HEIRLOOM BAKERY & HEARTH 401 East 63rd Street • 816-492-7259

Over the last two years, a pair of troubling spots along the well-traveled intersection of 63rd Street and Oak were solved. On the northwest corner, a vacant lot of overgrown weeds became a new Brookside home. Of greater significance was the transformation of the southeast corner, where an abandoned autorepair shop rotted for years. With $400,000 and plenty of time and patience, Scott and Katie Meinke opened Heirloom Bakery & Hearth. For weeks after opening, early morning lines stretched outside the door and into the parking lot, a scene reminiscent of Joe’s Kansas City. Inside is an open-kitchen bakery, where most of the work is done in sight of customers. Adjacent is a naturally lighted dining room with reclaimed-wood decor. It’s not Kansas City’s biggest redevelopment project, but it’s a welcome addition to this stretch of 63rd Street.

BEST NONPROFIT

HISTORIC KANSAS CITY FOUNDATION This city’s history would be rubble if not for the watchful eye of the Historic Kansas City Foundation. HKCF noticed that a developer planned to tear down three apartment buildings on the Country Club Plaza that had been designed by renowned local architect Nelle Peters. The three buildings on Summit Street need some care, to be sure, but they represent Kansas City’s history and are worth saving. Developer Doug Price bought the buildings and quietly sought pre-demolition permits. Price insists that he has no plans for what he would do after he tears down the structures — but it’s not common for a developer to buy pricey land without a plan. HKCF saw an opportunity to save the buildings and petitioned to have them included in the Nelle Peters Thematic District, an area that includes several Petersdesigned Plaza buildings. That designation, which is winding its way through City Hall, would offer some protection to the buildings. The apartments may eventually come down, but HKCF gives them and other emblems of KC history a fighting chance.

BEST SHOW OF ACTIVISM

STAND UP KC Two years ago, if you had held your ears very close to the ground, you might have detected the faint, early rumblings of the fast-food workers movement in Kansas City. These were employees of McDonald’s, Burger King and Jimmy John’s who were

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best of kc 2015 type, announced more than two years ago. One holdup was concern from enthusiasts of the nearby Trolley Track Trail, which runs from the Plaza to south Kansas City. It’s a well-traveled amenity that already has gaps along the 6-mile stretch to account for parking lots and east-west roadways. Another cutout wouldn’t have sat well with devotees. Harrison listened to those concerns and adapted his proposal so that vehicles would enter his development off Oak Street. In a metro where City Hall shows a deference to developers, it’s nice to have one who actually listens to his neighbors. and provides authoritative coverage.

barrett emke

Best politiCian

tired of working full time and earning wages that put them below the poverty line. The movement started in New York and Chicago, but workers in the Kansas City chapter Stand Up KC were some of the earliest outside those metropolitan hubs to go on strike, demanding $15 an hour and a union. The odds seemed long at the time, but as crowds at the protests swelled, the issue drew national attention and cities began passing laws raising the minimum wage. This summer, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council followed suit, voting to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, and incrementally to $13 an hour by 2020. No, that doesn’t go nearly as far as Stand Up KC wanted. And thanks to a tangle of state legislation, ballot initiatives and special-interest lobbying, the law remains unlikely for the foreseeable future. But Stand Up KC has been an inspiring and important reminder that a small movement can still make a big difference.

go-to spot for Hollywood blockbusters do-si-doing with cult flicks past, present and future. They put on one of the best beer events in the city, the two-day can’t-miss Arts & Crafts Beer Festival, which features a ridiculous amount of barrel-aged and special-release brews (not to mention exclusive collaborations with 4 Hands, Big Rip, Rock & Run). And this past February, they opened Screenland Crossroads and Tapcade, a movie theater, restaurant, arcade and craft-beer emporium in the Crossroads. With vintage games, big screens locked on sports or The Walking Dead, and delicious wraps (the KC, with Slap’s BBQ, all day every day, please), the new joint already feels like a neighborhood classic. We know Roberts and Miller have something up their sleeve (they always do), and we can’t wait till they tell the rest of us

Best team

butch Rigby

AdAm RobeRts And bRent milleR Screenland Armour • 408 Armour Road, North Kansas City • screenland.com Tapcade • 1701 McGee • 816-492-6577

To say we’re impressed with what Adam Roberts and Brent Miller have accomplished sells short all they’ve managed in a short time. The two brothers-in-law have breathed life into Screenland Armour, making it KC’s 12

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Best Real-estate savioR Butch Rigby sees opportunity where many developers see untenable risk in run-down buildings pocking forgotten nodes of town. It has been a busy year or so for the lawyercum-developer. Rigby moved the Crossroads Screenland from its former digs at 16th Street and Washington to a newly developed theater and arcade, Tapcade, at 17th Street and McGee. The new venture turned abandoned warehouse space into the East Crossroads’ best recent addition. Rigby has

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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Stand Up KC moved the needle. also been buying up long-forgotten property along 63rd Street on the east side of Brookside. He is about to open an events space in the old Alanz Theater, and he has his eyes on other vacated properties along the developing thoroughfare. Rigby is also pressing ahead on one of his biggest development ambitions: saving the old Laugh-O-Gram Studio, near 31st Street and Prospect. The building represents an important but neglected part of Kansas City: the place where Walt Disney and other animators got their start in the business.

Best Community-minded developeR

dAve hARRison Being a developer isn’t necessarily a popular gig. They’re constantly at risk of going up against neighborhood groups that, at times, have reasonable concerns about changes to their neighborhoods. (They can also act irrationally.) The best approach usually is to listen and take concerns to heart. That’s what Dave Harrison, the leader of prolific local development firm VanTrust Real Estate, did when trying to build a Whole Foods and some market-rate apartments near the University of Missouri–Kansas City. The project has been long in the tooth for a development of its

michelle distleR Shawnee is Johnson County’s Peyton Place. In recent years, its government seemed to be populated by the type of catty people who modeled the responsibility of suburban governance after the social code of a high school cafeteria. Former Mayor Jeff Meyers was a decent enough guy, but he obviously took his cues from a city manager who treated the public’s business like a private affair. The message from Shawnee government to the public was clear: Mind your own damn business. Then Councilwoman Michelle Distler took the helm as that city’s mayor last year, when Meyers decided he’d had enough of public life. Since then, Distler has advocated for open government. She has shown a willingness to involve the public and listen to people’s ideas. For a suburb whose neighboring cities have grown at a faster clip, Distler’s election gives Shawnee a good shot at refurbishing its image.

Best plaCe to Get some WoRk done

Pt’s coffee 310 Southwest Boulevard • 816-255-2402

A coffeeshop has been at 310 Southwest Boulevard for the last 12 years — first


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people & places

HOW ABOUT

LUNCH

F O R

HALF OFF ?

Coffee Girls, then Crossroads Coffeehouse. Last year, PT’s Coffee — a well-regarded outfit out of Topeka — took over operations of the place. Since then, it has quietly and gradually become what its predecessors never really were: a first-rate coffee shop. We dig the friendly, unpretentious staff. We’re fans of the modern and sleek — yet still comfortable — furniture. And, yes, the coffee is top-notch. (We’re partial to the oddball espressos that PT’s carries.) Best of all, there always seems to be the perfect amount of people inside: busy enough to feel like you’re in public but rarely so crowded that you can’t find a spot for you and your laptop. The cookies are fantastic, too, but go easy on ’em. There’s no time for a treat-induced food coma. You have work to do.

Best Journalist

Bryan Lowry The WichiTa eagle Kansas state government is a mess. One that the Republican-controlled Statehouse can’t sort out after following Gov. Sam Brownback off a fiscal cliff. The 2015 legislative session was a historic disaster, the longest in state history as lawmakers grappled with how to fix gaping budgets holes. More taxes? More cuts in spending? Without the work of The Wichita Eagle’s Bryan Lowry, often into the late hours of the night, the action would have been considerably more difficult to follow. Lowry delivered news from Topeka with clarity, accuracy and remarkable evenhandedness, despite the clown-car

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At PT’s, someone is always about to get something done. aspect of the 2015 session. Kansas newspapers over the years have pulled back Statehouse coverage. But the news out of Topeka has never been more important. Kansas City Star readers are lucky to get Lowry’s byline in the paper.

Best Party Venue

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St. John’S CathoLiC CLuB 414 Barnett, Kansas City, Kansas • 913-371-9690

Bowling alleys in Catholic church basements were once relatively common, but most have disappeared over the years. At St. John’s Catholic Club in Strawberry Hill, a six-lane setup has somehow managed to endure since the church’s 1923 founding. As at many places in this part of Kansas City, Kansas, there is a sense that little has changed since, say, the Nixon administration. The wood-paneled walls are dotted with plaques and framed photos of oldtimers, and scorekeeping is manual. (The pin setting, is, blessedly, automatic.) Did we mention the bar? It serves only beer, but if you want to rent the place for a night — $300 for six hours, bartender included — you can cater the event yourself and BYOB. Many service-industry folks in town are already clued into St. John’s — more than a few of your favorite establishments hold holiday staff parties here — but we figure that it’s the holy thing to do to spread the word about such a divine deal.

$10.20-11.20/hr. to start (KS) $10.10-11.10/hr. to start (MO) QUALIFICATIONS: 18 years or older • Must be able to load, unload and sort packages, as well as perform other related duties All interested candidates must attend a sort observation at our facility prior to applying for the position. To schedule a sort observation go to

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FedEx Ground is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer Minorities/Females/Disability/ Veterans committed to a diverse workforce. pitch.com

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TIMES AND TRENDS CHANGE,

but we’ll be...

forever, BROOKSIDE

Yo.

Word.

A collection that speaks for itself. WWW.BROOKSIDEKC.ORG open daily: 10 aM – 4pM, CloSed TUeSdayS ToyandMiniaTUreMUSeUM.org 5235 oak STreeT k anSaS CiT y, Mo 64112 816.235.8000

EVERYTHING

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people & places

Best Place to Break free

Breakout kC 114 West Third Street • 816-945-2633 breakoutkc.com

If getting locked in a seedy hotel room and being forced to complete math problems to get out doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, that’s only because you haven’t been to Breakout KC yet. Following the nationwide trend of so-called “escape rooms,” Breakout has become one of Kansas City’s most popular tourist stops since opening in April. Founded by longtime friends Matt Baysinger, Lucas Thompson and Ryan Henrich, the River Market-based attraction features four rooms that require guests to find clues, solve puzzles, and crack codes to break out within a 60-minute time limit. If you’re expecting a visit from some old friends, a day attempting to open a padlock on a suitcase that contains a Bible that will help you unlock a filing cabinet sounds like a better icebreaker than just grabbing dinner.

Best Hideaway

HoBo’s Grill & Bar 1036 North Agnes • 816-241-4626

Knuckleheads Saloon is the best-known spot for beer and blues in the East Bottoms, but it’s not the only one. Head north a few blocks and round the curve in the road, and you’ll find yourself in front of Hobo’s Grill & Bar. Given its name and its industrial surroundings, you might think it to be a rough joint. But the new owners — it used to be called River’s Edge — have spruced up the place and created a cozy atmosphere. Cheap, too: Tuesdays, PBR tallboys cost $2, and tacos are $1. Sometimes, on the weekends, a band

Breakout KC locks up its first year. sets up in the corner, and things get lively. Otherwise, you can reliably count on Hobo’s for affordable drinking in relative obscurity. Some nights, that’s all you need.

Best idea tHat will Never HaPPeN

suspendinG tHe earninGs tax in poor neiGHBorHoods Kansas City, Missouri, City Council candidate Stephan Gordon threw one of the st ra nger press con ferences i n recent memory when he invited local media to the Lucile H. Bluford Public Library in east Kansas City last June. The Pitch was the only member of the press to show, but Gordon used a bullhorn to communicate to the lone reporter anyway. His delivery sucked, but his idea wasn’t bad. Gordon pushed the idea of suspending the earnings tax in depressed economic zones in an effort to attract capital and investment to places like the East Side. As development tax schemes go, we like it. A business could take a chance on a run-down area of town if it got to keep another 1 percent of its profits. The idea, however, won’t come to pass. Gordon got trounced in the election.

Best activists

eriC roGers and eriC BunCH BikeWalkkC Kansas City’s auto-centric nature makes advocacy for alternate forms of transit a thankless job. Unless you get results.

Over the last few years, the nonprof it BikeWalkKC has been pushing for a bikeand pedestrian-friendlier metro, and it has paved a trail to better conditions for those looking to get around by some mode other than four rubber tires and a steering wheel. The group, led by Eric Rogers and Eric Bunch, pushed for a new development code in Kansas City, Missouri, that includes mandates for bicycle parking. BikeWalkKC also helped shepherd an ordinance that targets drivers who hassle cyclists or pedestrians, a real threat in Kansas City. The group is also working toward simplifying the process for businesses to put bike racks in front of their establishments on public rights-of-way. Progress moves slowly in Kansas City for alternative-transit buffs, but BikeWalkKC has helped pick up the pace.

Best fixer

erik WullsCHleGer direCtor of livekC Do we have millennial fatigue? We have millennial fatigue. All the nationwide talk about engaging that generation — of figuring out what makes them buy and vote and where they want to live and work — begins to sound a little samey. And when talk narrows to how we might all band together to make Kansas City a better place to live, work and play (for millennials), we’re like, OK, we get it. But that cynicism fades when the person talking is LiveKC director Erik Wullschleger. If anyone can convince us that millennials are a potential force for local awesomeness — and that he can help harness their power — it’s this Omaha native. Wullschleger’s head and heart are in the right places, and he works his ass off. We’ve seen him sweat through multiple shirts and thousands of steps to make sure the second incarnation of the Fiery Stick Open happened. And it was worth it to see Girl Talk (and Wullschleger fire off a toilet-paper gun) at the Liberty Memor ia l. Wu l lsc h leger a lso ma sterminded the Raucous Caucus to get young voters to the polls, which proved to be a tough task even for this optimistic gunner. Wullschleger helped bring some life to Barney Allis Plaza, turning it into a Thursday night hangout called the Backyard. Not every idea clicked, but the guy always has more. Wullschleger is a man to watch in Kansas City’s future — because he’s already making things happen.

Best Blog

doWn tHe Byline Mike Kuhn covered the Kansas City soccer scene before it was cool. Long before.

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Prior to the opening of Sporting Park, Major League Soccer in Kansas City was such a niche that the then–Kansas City Wizards barely registered a blip outside a group of hardcore enthusiasts. Through those lean years — and more recently as Sporting Kansas City has given the Royals and the Chiefs some competition in this city’s pro-sports consciousness — Down the Byline has been the most reliable source of fútbol information. Since Kuhn started DTB in 2006, he has averaged between 400 and 600 posts a year. Frequency isn’t Kuhn’s only strong suit. He knows the game and the local team,

Best twitter

@aCtionJaCkson39 Acerbic Twitter users are often the worst parts of social media — unless their ire is informed. Take the T w itter account @Action Jackson39, belong ing to Lee’s Summit lawyer Bryan Jackson. He uses his allotted 140 characters to poke fun of, and to challenge, Missouri politicians and journalists. Among his seemingly favorite muses are former Missouri House Sp ea ker T i m Jones a nd The Mi s sour i Times reporter Scott Faughn, and most any thing hav ing to do w ith the city of St. Louis. He had only 63 followers as of press time. He deserves more.

n at i o n a l m u s e u m o f t o y s a n d m i n i at u r e s

ashley tebbe

best of kc 2015

Best Place to feel Big

tHe national MuseuM of toys and Miniatures 5235 Oak • 816-235-8000 toyandminiaturemuseum.org

The only way we’re going to resist deploying numerous size-related puns when declaring our unqualified love for the newly reopened, stunningly improved National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is to veer into cliché: There’s something here for everyone because everyone is either a child now or has at some point been a child. Sorry, but it’s true. And we’re not sorry to say childlike wonder is what we felt when we toured the renovated space, with its endlessly absorbing miniatures (each a kind of museum

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Are You Crafty? Now Accepting Vendors on pitch.com NOVEMBER 7, 2015 @ 11a-6p UPTOWN SHOPPING CENTER 36th & Broadway, Kansas City, MO

FREE EVENT! Sponsored By: 16

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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Over 75 craft vendors & over 25 beers available!


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best of kc 2015

people & places don’t find the cowboy of your dreams in this booze hall, well, come back the next night and try again.

Best nod to our riVertown roots

EnglisH landing park

zach bauman

South end of Main Street, Parkville

unto itself) and its Santa’s-sleigh assortment of toys from just about every era. Full disclosure: Some of us here immediately bought a membership to the museum — at $25 for a year’s worth of free admission, it’s a bargain — knowing that we’d want to go back often, looking for details we’d missed in the tiny artifacts downstairs and for our own personal Kenner-made Rosebud among the toys upstairs.

Best Cemetery for Hanging out

Elmwood CEmEtEry 4900 East Truman Road • 816-213-4750 elmwoodcem-kc.org

The best way to immerse yourself in Kansas City history is to live it up surrounded by 36,000 dead people. That’s the beauty of Elmwood Cemetery, the 143-year-old resting place for both the great and the forgotten. Nearly every headstone tells a story that’s intimately connected to this town. Among the tenants are millionaires, athletes, actors and opera stars. Notorious madam Annie Chambers is here, along with passion crime victim Ruby Hirsch and convicted spy Henrietta Clay Withers Waller. The living may seem boring by comparison.

Best PlaCe for a Break

m & m BakEry 1721 East 31st Street • 816-924-9172

There are a lot of good places in Kansas City to stop for a snack and a cup of coffee. The

best is on Kansas City’s East Side. M & M Bakery has a well-earned distinction as a Kansas City institution. The small, unassuming bakery at 31st Street and Prospect is a favorite hangout for nearby businesspeople, residents, political leaders and police officers. The selection of baked goods is complemented with a full menu of deli sandwiches, including a tough-to-beat Reuben, piled high with sauerkraut and corned beef. If you’re looking to do some East Side exploration, make this a destination.

Best PlaCe to m Best Bingo

HamBurgEr mary’s 3700 Broadway • 816-842-1919 hamburgermarys.com

If you like a healthy competition and being surrounded by fabulous divas, then get yourself to Hamburger Mary’s on any Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday night for Charity Drag Bingo. Not for the fainthearted, these sessions are hosted by a rotating group of resident drag queens sure to out-sass your boldest friend. Bonus: Each bingo benefits a different charity, and Hamburger Mary’s does not discriminate, showing support for, among many others, the MS Society and MOSH Pit (Midwest Organization Saving & Helping pit bulls). So if you enjoy making a charitable donation with a side of racy wit, lots of glitter and buckets of alcohol — no, really, Mary’s has a cocktail that comes in a bucket — break out the sequins and your best eyeliner and make a night of it.

Ready for bingo at Hamburger Mary’s. Best PlaCe to find a CowBoy

wEstport saloon 4112 Pennsylvania • 816-960-4560 westportsaloon.com

An open letter to Paula Cole: All the cowboys have gone to the Westport Saloon. Know why, Paula? Because there’s never a dull night at the Saloon. Seriously. Every Monday, from 8 p.m. to midnight, the magnificent Brody Buster — harmonica master and frontman of the Brody Buster Band — hosts an open mic, and the local folk talent comes out of the woodwork. The Coyote Bill Boogie Band runs an open blues jam Tuesday nights, starting at 8 and running until the whiskey is gone (or, you know, the bar closes). Bluegrass trio Them Pick-less Fools hosts the “Halfway to Friday” bluegrass review Wednesday nights, and you can kick up yer boots Thursdays with a heaping plate of spaghetti (it’ll set you back $10) while you enjoy the sweet steel guitar of classic western songs for the Spaghetti Western Honky Tonk Jam. Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for out-of-town touring acts, and Sundays, the Saloon brings it all home with a “Chicken and Pickin’” hootenanny, led by one-man-band A.J. Gaither and accompanied by a $10 chicken dinner. There’s never a cover at the Saloon, and there’s always far more whiskey than you could ever hope to drink in a single sitting (but damned, if those bartenders won’t get you to try). If you

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An often-leveled and totally fair criticism of Kansas City, Missouri, is that there’s virtually nothing to do along the riverfront. Yeah, there’s the Richard L. Berkley walking and biking path, and there’s a luxury apartment building soon to sprout nearby, but mostly our historic waterfront is a dead zone, haunted by trappers and traders and the ghost of Mark Twain. Sorry, Mark Twain! But there’s no such failure in Parkville, where English Landing Park offers a warm, Rockwell-like slice of American pie to all who cross its threshold. Gaze out at the Mighty Mo as you strut along its three miles of walking trails (or sit on one of its many benches facing the river). There are soccer goals — not just one, but two, so you can have a proper pickup match. There’s disc golf. There are volleyball courts. There are happylooking people enjoying nature, barbecuing food under gazebos, laughing. There’s plentiful parking. And you are within paces of historic downtown Parkville, an underappreciated hamlet full of antique shops and little art galleries and quaint restaurants. Go there: It’s a short drive from downtown KC, and the water’s fine.

Best loCal lawyer

roBin martinEz Lawyers are supposed to do a certain number of hours of free legal work each year. For some, it’s a distraction. For others, it’s an opportunity to take on interesting cases outside their usual concentrations. Kansas City lawyer Robin Martinez commits most of his time to development, nonprofit and public-policy legal work. For the last year, Martinez has spent considerable time in South Dakota representing Native

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people & places

brain-frying TV series you were planning to devote your night to.

Best local aUthoR

Best Place to PeoPle-Watch

Chez Charlie 3809 Broadway • 816-753-9247

Chez Charlie has a very specific brand of charm. It’s the quintessential dive, with an old-fashioned jukebox that hasn’t been updated in decades and, on any given weeknight, more dartboards than there are patrons to hurl darts at them. But get there at the witching hour — 9 p.m. or so — and you get to tuck yourself into a seat at the bar and enjoy midtown’s most piquant parade of humanity. Mismatched first dates, post-shift service folks, poor Art Institute students who have come for the $2 Hamm’s. The bartenders are friendly — as long as you don’t ask for the wrong drink (there’s no beer on tap, and martinis and other fancy libations are positively out of the question) — and they preside over far better entertainment than whatever

Chez Charlie: a people place. falls off the wagon and commits several debauched acts of questionable morality. The story calls to mind a modern version of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, but with more self-awareness about alcoholism, and thus more guilt. It’s not just a sleazy romp, though; Martin imbues Bad Sex with dark insights about love and addiction. You won’t feel great afterward, but — like after a onenight stand — you’ll enjoy the hell out of it while you’re doing it. ashley tebbe

American tribes opposing the development of the Keystone XL pipeline through their lands. TransCanada wants to extend its tar sands pipeline from Canada to Texas. But the company’s track record isn’t the best, and there are valid environmental concerns about hazards posed by the pipeline. Martinez is fighting the company’s permit in South Dakota, issued in 2010 with the caveat that work would start four years later. It’s 2015, and TransCanada hasn’t traversed South Dakota. It’s tough going up against well-heeled natural-resource companies, but Martinez’s commitment to representing South Dakota tribes pro bono gives them a fighting chance.

ClanCy Martin “I drink, I hurt myself and the people around me, and then I write.” So says Brett, the female protagonist of UMKC philosophy professor Clancy Martin’s new novel, Bad Sex. This pattern of behavior is familiar to Martin, who has mined his own experiences with lies, deceit, drinking and infidelity in much of his fiction (namely, his excellent 2009 debut novel, How to Sell) and memoir (for outlets like Harper’s and Vice). Bad Sex, in fact, was originally written as a memoir. Martin ultimately elected to alter a few parts of the story and publish as fiction instead. Reading the 180-page book — we thirstily gulped it down in a single Sunday afternoon — you can see why he might have come to that decision. The married Brett embarks on a wild love affair, travels around Central America,

Best BathRoom

Voltaire 1617 Genessee • 816-472-1200 • voltairekc.com

Can you keep a secret? Yeah? Then you’re a far better soul than any of us, because we have discovered Kansas City’s greatest, most impeccable bathrooms, and we can hardly quell the excitement in our pants. Ladies and gentlemen, not only are the two Voltaire bathrooms the single-room types (with rarely a wait). They also contain several — as in, more than one — lotions and hand sanitizers from which to choose, plus toothpicks, mints, mouthwash, deodorant and aspirin. In the men’s room: hair grease. In the women’s: a bundle of tampons, a handful of bobby pins and hair ties. We’re surprised that there’s no toothbrush or bathrobe. Plus, the john has a very pleasing scent. It’s spacious. You can get comfortable. The only thing that would make this bathroom experience better would be a 360-degree mirror and butler service.

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Restaurants > Restaurant Guide Movies > Now Showing

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21 BEST SPORTING KANSAS CITY PLAYER

KRISZTIÁN NÉMETH Sporting Kansas City’s track record of signing international players has been spotty in recent years. For every success story such as Dom Dwyer, the irrepressible English striker, there are several busts (Omar Bravo, Luis Marín, Claudio Bieler and so on). So we weren’t sure what to make of Krisztián Németh, an attacker who was brought in to shore up the team’s already stout midfield. The team billed the signee as a product of the famous Liverpool club in England, even though he never logged field time for the titan of European soccer. Even so, Németh has turned into one of Sporting KC’s most electrifying players. The diminutive Hungarian has proved a steady hand for Sporting KC’s offense, scoring eight goals and assisting on six others. Paired with Benny Feilhaber, the two represent a formidable midfield force. If Németh’s play continues at this level, it may not be Liverpool calling to get him back but quite possibly some other big club.

area’s only training gym for the Esquire Network and NBC show — which pits contestants against one another on a masochistic obstacle course designed to make grown men cry — has gone to great lengths to make exercise enjoyable. Russ Babcock, who co-owns the gym with his wife, Elizabeth, built the maze of obstacles himself, and the couple encourages adults and kids alike to climb around and explore, treating “the rig” like a giant playground. You’ll get an awesome workout, and you won’t even know it. If that’s not enough, the Babcocks also have more than 30 years of combined karate experience, and they offer classes for all ages.

BEST OF KC 2015

SPORTS & REC

BEST ROYAL

LORENZO CAIN It has been said that Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain has the best smile in baseball. This year has given Cain lots to grin about. And even though he takes the game seriously, sometimes he turns on the high beams after making one of his highlight-reel catches or smacking another RBI. On the field, Cain’s stats speak for themselves: As of mid-September, he had a .311 batting average, 27 stolen bases and 68 RBIs, and he was a serious candidate for MVP of this year’s All-Star Game. It wouldn’t be the first time that his outstanding play has been recognized: Last fall, he was named MVP of the American League Championship Series after batting an impossible .588. Our favorite place to catch Cain when he’s not on the field is his reluctant starring role on Salvador Perez’s Instagram, where he routinely tells his “brother from another mother” to stop filming him — while smiling, of course.

BEST GRONK-LIKE HOPE

TRAVIS KELCE Don’t get it twisted (as Herm Edwards would say): We loved Tony Gonzalez. And Chiefs life post No. 88 hasn’t been the same. But the future, dare we say, may be better. Travis Kelce’s potential reminds us of a certain Patriot — just less douchey. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Kelce makes you believe that someone has a cloning machine ready to turn out prototypical tight ends, with big doses of Rob Gronkowski’s DNA. The former Cincinnati Bearcat known as “Zeus” lit up the Houston Texans for two touchdowns, catching all six of his targets for 106 yards. Kelce came back to earth against the dreaded donkeys from Denver, but we still believe in his potential to spit lightning as long as he’s in the kingdom.

BEST TRIPLE PLAY

SALVADOR PEREZ, GATORADE BUCKET, ANY OTHER ROYAL

BEST ANTIDOTE TO YOUR TERRIBLE HABITS

TIM CROUGH FITNESS 7331 West 79th Street, Overland Park timcroughfitness.com

Strength coach, clean-living guru, physiognomy sherpa — refer to fitness trainer Tim Crough as any of these things and you’ll be pretty much accurate. (He’s no stranger to these Best Of roundups, for good reason.) Address him as any of the above, and he’ll smile and say he’s just a guy who wants you to be healthier so you can have more fun. He means it, too, even the smile. But the fun available under Crough’s tutelage at his recently opened downtown Overland Park studio — we’re thinking of that impossible school-gym classic, the climbing peg board, among other opportunities to rewrite your Freaks and Geeks-like teenage failures — isn’t the only reason that we like hanging with this

guy. Let’s be honest: It’s a major dude crush. We want arms like his, a waist like his, an easygoing demeanor like his. And when he talks us through a superset, our achieving a version of what he has feels strangely altogether possible, at least until the next time someone suggests nachos for dinner. He’s the sort of trainer who actually pays attention to your goals and helps guide you toward a realistic outcome (and, yes, pushes when it’s time for someone to get in your face a little), all while not being the sort of trainer to whom

you can’t confess your nacho addiction. We’re saying that he gets results, and we’re saying that Tim time is time (and money) well spent.

BEST PLAYGROUND FOR ADULTS

CHAOS COURSE 1016 North Scott, Belton • 816-349-9205 chaoscourse.com

You can’t half-ass an American Ninja Warrior workout, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun trying. Chaos Course, the Kansas City

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For many Royals fans, this part has gotten old: the post-victory moment when Salvador Perez rushes back onto the field and dumps a Gatorade bucket over a teammate being interviewed. Come on, people — when you weary of seeing good-natured broadcaster Joel Goldberg endure another Salvy splash across another fancy suit, you weary of life. We revel in the tradition of looking for the catcher lurking in the dugout with that mischievous grin on his face, waiting for the right moment to strike. His ritual has produced indelible memories: Johnny Cueto, fresh from a shutout start against the Tigers in early August, doused in blue Gatorade that rained from his mane of dreadlocks like crystals. Here’s to a very wet postseason.

BEST INSIDE JOKE

17 38 (FROM “TRAP QUEEN” BY FETTY WAP) When Lorenzo Cain chose “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap as his walk-up song, he had no idea

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SPORTS

ashley tebbe

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Best Underused Public Amenity: Brush Creek Trail that he would spawn a citywide inside joke. The first words of the song are seventeen thirty-eight, a reference to Remy Martin 1738 cognac and a shout-out to Fetty’s crew, the Remy Boyz. The two seemingly obscure numbers began popping up in postgame interviews around July, with the Royals reportedly fining one another for not using the reference. A couple of gems: Mike Moustakas told The Kansas City Star’s Andy McCullough that “Hoz picks that thing 17 out of 38 times,” and Eric Hosmer said of his RBIs, “I’ll take 17. I’ll take 38.” It took awhile to decode the mystery, but once the city caught on, “1738” T-shirts became de rigueur.

Best Unlikely AmBAssAdor of locAl Progressivism

Best UnderUsed PUBlic Amenity

Brush Creek Trail The Trolley Track Trail gets top billing among many walkers, joggers and cyclists near Kansas City’s core. Those same users would do well to check out a better path along Brush Creek, which gets a bad rap at times because of the garbage it accumulates after heavy rainfalls. It was supposed to be a nicer place when Emanuel Cleaver was Kansas City’s mayor and had big ideas for how the area would develop, but those never came to fruition. A couple of years ago, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department finished extending the Brush Creek Trail 4 miles out from the Plaza to Lister Avenue. It’s not as heavily traveled as the Trolley Track Trail — or others in the city — but it should be, with its undulating scenic route to Kansas City’s East Side and back along Brush Creek.

CiTy Gym

developing training programs and providing a safe and comfortable venue for clients in the process of undergoing female-to-male transitions. Bland-Walsh almost didn’t apply to be profiled by Google, which was seeking to promote a small LGBT business as part of Pride Month. But at a friend’s urging, she finally did and was eventually chosen to be the subject of the TV spot. “We’re not a gay or trans gym,” Bland-Walsh says. “The decision to develop programs for that community was not about trying to drive membership or anything like that. It was just an easy decision based on the culture we’ve been creating here the last four years.” Particularly at a time when a spate of local transgender slayings has rattled many in the community, we’re glad that City Gym is there to rep KC in a positive way at the national level.

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Best femAle Athlete

7416 Wornall • 816-326-8790

CourTney FreriChs

Caitlyn Jenner coming out as a hero of the transgender movement is one of the biggest cultural stories of 2015. Jenner’s moving speech at the ESPYs — the Oscar-like awards show for sports put on by ESPN — was in many ways the culmination of this narrative. If you watched the ESPYs live, you saw a two-and-a-half-minute documentaryslash-advertisement for Google My Business that aired immediately prior to Jenner’s acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. It told the story of a transgender athlete named Jake Nothnagel and the trans-friendly gym where he works out: City Gym, in Kansas City, right in the middle of Waldo. For the last few years, City Gym’s owner, Hailee Bland-Walsh, has been quietly

Over the past two years, the profile of the University of Missouri-Kansas City track and field team has grown from that of a sleepy Midwestern program to one of the most promising among smaller NCAA schools. A big reason has been the success of top distance runner Courtney Frerichs. The UMKC senior from Nixa, Missouri, has enjoyed a strong career, rewriting most of the school’s track record book along the way. But this was the year when Frerichs truly exploded onto the national running scene. She spent part of 2015 holding the NCAA’s best time for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and entered the college championship race as one of three contenders for the overall title. Frerichs finished second there with a gutsy effort. She

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SPORTS CrossFit Memorial Hill, you have protection. The gym offers a program called Fundamentals: a one-month, 10-class package for around $100 that introduces the basics of CrossFit at a realistic pace. The hourlong, small-group sessions — led by coach Josh Snyder — consist of squats, lifting techniques, and instructions on doing a proper pull-up. If it sounds rudimentary, let us assure you: It’s far from vanilla. But Snyder isn’t out for blood. He is instead all about setting manageable goals and then helping you build toward them. There’s no shame: All shapes, sizes and levels are welcome. The hardest part about this workout is convincing yourself to show up — it gets only easier after that.

Best awesoMe BoXer

Cam F. aWesome

now has her sights set on making the U.S. Olympic team for 2016.

Best Yoga teacher

Lisa ash lisaashyoga.com

You might say Lisa Ash has the opposite of a resting bitch face. The petite, bright-eyed yogi is always smiling. You can even hear the happiness in her voice when your eyes are closed in the middle of a meditative pose. As the lead instructor at Maya Yoga and the studio manager at Westport Yoga, Ash makes herself and her challenging, thoughtful, lighthearted classes available nearly every day, primarily in the styles of vinyasa and ashtanga. She also holds regular meditation classes, and workshops offering tips and breathing techniques that you can actually use at home. But perhaps her greatest gift is that she can make you believe that the twisting, one-legged pose you’re holding is beneficial not only to you but also, somehow, to the whole planet.

Best place to get wet

The Bay WaTer Park 7101 Longview Road • 816-965-9218 • thebaykc.com

Schlitterbahn’s record-setting Verruckt gets all the attention. The Wyandotte County water park’s skyscraper attraction captured news coverage when it opened last year. But there are other water slides that don’t keep 24

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Lisa Ash: always sunny you waiting (and aren’t designed to make you wet your pants before your pants get wet). We especially like the Bay, in south Kansas City, one of the pool facilities run by the Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department. It has a slide that’s shaped like a tulip. A swimmer scales a staircase roughly two stories high. From there, a steep tube slide delivers you about halfway down and spits you out, into a bowl-shaped receptacle. The momentum sends you round and round in the bowl before you finally drop out of the bottom into a deep pool. It’s summertime’s most refreshing spin.

Best workout for anYone who hasn’t worked out in, like, a while

FundamenTaLs CrossFiT memoriaL hiLL 2535 Jefferson • 816-945-6629 crossfitmemorialhill.com

For those new to CrossFit, the word alone conjures horrific images of Hulk-like musclemen grunting their way through monster-truck tire flips, Amazing Race-y rope climbs and that torturously Sisyphean endeavor known as “burpees.” To be fair, much of CrossFit looks just like that — including a workout of the day, affectionately referred to as a WOD, that would make a Navy Seal punch a brick wall. But at

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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It’s unusual that an unknown amateur boxer would make headlines for losing a match. But that’s what happened this summer with Cam F. Awesome following his loss in the semifinals at the Pan American Games. After the fight, he gave a wild, rambling interview to ESPN where, among other things, he said: “I’m not saying I’m the Taylor Swift of boxing, but I’m not not saying I’m the Taylor Swift of boxing.” The sports blogs lit up, recognizing a unicorn: A boxer who says interesting things in front of a microphone. It turns out that Awesome lives in Lenexa and legally changed his name from Lenroy Cameron Thompson in Johnson County in 2013. He’s also a vegan and a stand-up comedian with a lively Twitter presence. And even though he lost at the Pan Am Games, there’s still time for the 26-year-old to bounce back and make the roster for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. Our advice to Cam: Just shake it off.

Best therapY alternative

FLoaTing kC 7235 Central • 913-730-0722 • floatingkc.com

When Floating KC opened in mid-April, it became the area’s first zero-gravity float spa. What does this mean, exactly? In short, it involves setting aside your e-mails, text messages, and other distractions and temporarily deactivating your senses. In a pitch-black room so silent that you can hear your own heartbeat, you get to put gravity on pause as you float on your back in 93.5-degree water, your body suspended by 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt. Afterward, one of Floating KC’s state-of-the-art massage chairs slowly coaxes you back to reality. The relaxing experience allows you to slow down and examine the inner workings of your mind, making floating a lot like cheaper therapy where you get to be naked and you don’t have to actually talk about your feelings.

Best Budget Yoga

karma TriBe yoga karmatribeyoga.org

Yoga can be an expensive hobby, particularly for students and other people whose incomes are, shall we say, less than they probably deserve. That’s why Karma Tribe is such a welcome arrival on Kansas City’s yoga scene. Open since September, the donation-based studio builds on the popularity of owner Lauren Leduc’s pop-up yoga classes held in visible outdoor locations across the city during the spring and summer. No monthly dues are required, and all classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, making the health and stress-relief benefits of yoga available to a wider and more diverse audience. As an added bonus, the fifth-floor Crossroads studio space offers a stunning view of downtown.

Best sprint center MoMent

WWe Raw JuLy 20 The love some of us at Pitch HQ feel for Iowa State Cyclones and Fred Hoiberg is uncertain. Which is to say: infinite. The three-point shooting? The running-and-gunning team and the Mayor pulling off back-to-back Big 12 basketball tournament championships in dramatic fashion? Sigh. (Haters, consider this: Visit KC loves all of those cardinal-and-gold-clad fans dropping serious cash throughout the metro.) But, yes, this is Jayhawk and Wildcat country, so, our Sprint Center good times with Cy and Fred notwithstanding, we can name another big-time thrill ride we love: the WWE. Of course we know it’s all scripted; the E is for “Entertainment,” after all. And that’s exactly what happened when Raw stopped at the Sprint Center this past summer. If you were in the building (or watching on the USA Network), you saw the the real-life Hulk, Brock Lesnar, brawl with the supposedly undead (and kinda geriatric) Undertaker in the ring, out of the ring, in the ring again and backstage — everywhere but PBR Bar. A whole roster of beefed-up WWE stars couldn’t stop this hoss fight between the Beast Incarnate and the Deadman. It took members of “the Kansas City Police Department” — who looked a lot like local wrestlers (shout out to Mark Sterling, Jeremy Wyatt and the Iceman) — to break it up. It’s hard for a wrestling fan to avoid feeling jaded these days, but for a few minutes, we lost ourselves in the action, a throwback to pro wrestling at its best. The only downer of the night was a broken promise from the Joker-like Dean Ambrose, who had sworn to the people of Kansas City, the owners of Michael’s Clothing store and a sick girl with a puppy that he’d “break a man’s leg” in our fair city. Uh, Dean, you still owe us a big bad fracture.


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Best excuse to Pedal on a stationary Bike for an Hour

Paul Ridgway, Bike-on-a-Stand the gym kC Multiple locations • thegymkc.com

Whenever we tell our friends that we’re headed off to “spin class,” we’re usually met with snickers and the predictable quips: “You gonna be a DJ now?” No, dumbasses, spin class is where we go to sweat out all the stupidity we’ve had to suffer over the course of our miserable day. It’s where we go so that we’re stronger and more efficient users of oxygen than our not-very-funny friends. And when we go to the Gym KC to do it — to do what this local mainstay calls Bike-on-a-Stand — we feel like we could outrace a fully doped Lance Armstrong. It’s a glorious, 60-minute workout conducted on a stationary bike, and if that sounds like something to mock, then you’ve clearly never tried it. It’s intense. It’s deeply satisfying. And it involves zero complicated dance or step moves. You control the incline and the speed at which you pedal, though you’ll be tempted at first to try keeping up with the instructor. Good luck with that. You’ll end up choking on your own endorphins or drowning in a puddle of your own tears. The best exercise classes are led by those who inspire you to keep up the pace and push yourself to the edge of your physical limit, and the Gym KC has a true leader of the pack in Paul Ridgway. With the aid of a big screen, upon which he projects a big bike trail around Kansas City, Ridgway alternates between shouting motivational phrases at you and swearing to himself — because even he thinks his pace is a wee bit insane. With Ridgway in front of you, you’ll absolutely get the workout you crave without the humiliation of trying to keep up with fancy moves. And pardon us for saying so, but Ridgway is, like, super-fit — you won’t even think about leaving class early as long as you can see his muscles ripple before your eyes.

SPORTS

Paul Ridgway: ride on Best overanalysis

The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas CiTy royals, The new yorK yanKees, and BaseBall’s mosT aBsurd and enTerTaininG ConTroversy FiliP Bondy As we were putting this issue to bed, word came that longtime New York Daily News sportswriter Filip Bondy had been laid-off, another casualty of newsprint’s ongoing downturn. It would come as no special consolation to the columnist to hear that we’d hire him if we could, having spent part of our early summer enjoying the shit out of his book about the day America saw George Brett’s crazy eyes. The Pine Tar Game (no way we’re typing out the whole subtitle again) strives for a big-canvas, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning feel, with Bondy attempting to magnify a larger American moment through the lens of a worthy David and Goliath story. Which means plenty of digressions, some of them incisive, some of them a wee bit exasperating. Yet it’s hard for us not to embrace an entertainingly written, sharply reported account of a classic rivalry — the one shared by the Royals and the Yankees — and it’s impossible not to love this reminder that, once upon a time, the Yankees were occasionally the supporting act in our big show. Any other year, 250 pages about the pine-tar game — about the furious postseason showdowns in the years leading up to it and the litigious days after it — might have been too microscopic even for Royals die-hards. But coming as it did between last year’s dramatic World Series and this year’s roll toward October, Bondy’s book made the past feel timely and the future look even better. He says more books seem likely now that he’s off the daily beat. May we suggest a Pine Tar Game sequel, maybe starring Bo Jackson?

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KC for voting us top 3 Bowling Alleys!

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27 BEST WAY TO FEEL LIKE A 1-PERCENTER

DROP-OFF LAUNDRY SERVICE LAUNDROMAT 39 1716 West 39th Street • 816-531-5577 laundromat39.com

You know what sucks about being an adult? Doing your own fucking laundry. You know what’s great about being an adult? Choosing when — or if — to do your laundry. Maybe you’re out of quarters. Maybe you’re bingewatching Chopped on Netfl ix and can’t be bothered. Well, fine, but what do you do when, inevitably, you straight-up cannot wear this underwear one more day? Here’s what: Head over to Laundromat 39 with a full basket of your dirty drawers and your less-than-fresh towels, and get ready to feel your adulthood restored. Instead of standing around doing your own laundry, you’re going to pay one of the attendants to do it for you as part of an ingenious — and totally affordable ($1.75 a pound, with a 10-pound minimum) — drop-off service. Step 2: Walk away. Go back 24 hours later, and the attendants have not only washed your clothes for you but also folded and hung the appropriate items. FYI: You can also have them wash your sheets, blankets and comforters for around $15 (a little extra for down-fi lled items). We rarely have felt better about money spent.

it.” But no: That’s really the foot massage you get. Forget the nail care — we’d pay $30 just to have that whole mini-spa session again. There is one huge downside to this experience, though: It’s easy to get hooked. At this point, we’re starting to feel like maybe our biweekly pedis are a little … excessive. Maybe.

BEST OF KC 2015

GOODS & SERVICES

BEST ALTERNATIVE TO WAXING YOUR BROWS

KC THREADING & FACIAL SPA 6467 Quivira Road • Shawnee • 913-375-2861

We hate eyebrow waxing. The feeling of the hot, gooey mess spreading in an area that, honestly, is a little too close to our eyes for comfort. The uncomfortable anticipation as the strips of paper are pressed down and we wait for our stylist to count to three and rip out our follicles. The crippling fear that she will have the wax on too hot, or that she will be too careless with the shaping. The horror as we realize, hours after we’ve shelled out significant cash, that the top half of our face is still red in irritation and we are kind of starting to breakout. Well, for Kansas Citians willing to make a short trip out to the ‘burbs, KC Threading & Facial Spa in Shawnee offers a far preferable alternative to the eyebrow massacre most waxing places insist on: quick, easy eyebrow threading (brow shaping by pulling a cotton thread along the surface of the skin to remove individual hairs). This Shawnee shop is a small operation, headed up by Pardeep Kaur — a woman who is equal parts no-nonsense and gentle touch. With such extensive hours — from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — appointments are rarely necessary. Kaur will have you in and out in about 10 minutes for $12 (another $5 for your upper lip, ladies). And yes, she knows what you mean when you say “on fleek.”

BEST BAD-HAIR-DAY SOLUTION

THE PRIMP PARLOR SALON 608-1/2 West 48th Street • 816-561-1302 5049 West 117th Street, Leawood • 913-469-5000 parlorkc.com

Some days, doing your hair is just too much hassle, you know? Like, waking up, finding clothes that aren’t covered in pet hair, going to work, not murdering anyone — and fashioning a sweet updo? Nope. Even so, there are times when you want to look your best, in spite of your pique and your laziness, and in spite of your calendar showing no bigger affair than Netflix and carryout. Whatever — it’s all about you. On those days, when a half hearted glance in the mirror sends a cold burst of terror to your heart, call Parlor Salon. It has two locations — on the Plaza and in Leawood — and both are open seven days. Most weekdays, you can get a same-day appointment. Tell the stylist that you want the “Primp” service: For $35 (not including gratuity), your mane gets a soothing wash with some fancy products — not that cheap crap you bought at Target and have been gradually thinning out with water — and a light scalp massage. Then, you’re ushered to a comfy chair, where the stylist patiently blow-drys your hair and styles your locks back to spec. Because you deserve to look good, even if it’s just for your cat.

BEST WAY TO FIND LOVE

WAYSIDE WAIFS 3901 Martha Truman Road • 816-761-8151 waysidewaifs.org

BEST CHEAP SPA EXPERIENCE

PEDICURE WEST PLAZA NAILS 4804 Belleview • 816-931-0303 • wpnss.com

We’ve had our share of pedicures. Generally speaking, we’re pretty much always impressed. Hell, we’re just grateful someone is OK with going down there and touching our swollen, dirty, calloused dogs. But West Plaza Nails does one better than the usual soak,

scrub, polish. For no extra charge — just the basic $30 signature pedicure — the nail tech also scrubs some kind of refreshing, exfoliating sea salt mixture over your calves and gently massage your feet for a solid length of time. Seriously. The first time we got this pedicure, we were concerned: Did our nail tech mishear? Are we accidentally getting the $60 deluxe pedicure? “Whatever,” we told ourselves, settling back into the cushy massage chairs, restarting the kneading cycle, “this is worth

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There is good news for the vast population of single young adults roaming discontentedly through Kansas City: Should any among you ever wish to fi nd a balm for your desperate, lonely soul, Wayside Waifs wants to pair you with an animal equally in need of love. Kansas City’s largest no-kill shelter has dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and, on occasion, the odd bird or reptile. What really sets Wayside Waifs apart though is not its vast selection of home-ready furry friends, but its steadfast dedication to placing them in forever homes. Each of these animals has been well cared for by the staff and volunteers at the shelter: They have updated shots, they are manicured, they receive exercise — and when you go into adopt your new companion, the staff makes sure you, too, understand the transfer of responsibility. They’re adamant about that post-adoption phone

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Goods & services Wilson started making clothing out of kimonos largely because the traditional Japanese garments were easy to acquire. Thirty years ago, young people in Japan were breaking with tradition — they wanted kimonos out of their lives. When Wilson realized that the beautiful fabrics were her most affordable and readily available resources, she bought as much as she could and began repurposing them into classically stylish jackets, shirts and bow ties. Because everything in the shop is custom- or handmade, the prices can be high— but considering that you wear an Asiatica garment for an average of 20 years, the cost is eminently justifiable.

Best iowa imports

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KANSAS CITY FOR VOTING US ONE OF THE BEST PLUMBING SERVICES IN KANSAS CITY

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ashley tebbe

1803 Baltimore • 816-800-0990 • raygunsite.com

Fable: Your happy ending awaits. call check-in. It’s almost like they don’t want to give up their four-legged family — though they do make it easy for you to take one of their members home. Anything you might need to get you started — pet food, dishes, toys, collars, litter, the works — is available in the small pet care store located in the facility. Anything they can do to get their little ones some tender lovin’ care, they’re on it — and it only means your life gets sweeter. Pro tip: Seems obvious, but, um, don’t wear a fur coat into your adoption. Not even a faux fur coat. Just … don’t.

Best Downtown Dog wash

Tail Waggin’ PeTSToP 1818 Wyandotte, • 816-255-2625 tailwagginpetstop.com

The b-word doesn’t make our dog’s tail wag. No, the specter of bath time is a canine existential crisis. So much tail tucking. Well, it’s no party for us, either, especially those of us who dwell in downtown apartments. No one wants a fur-clogged tub, and there’s just not space enough for the inevitable postbath shake. That’s why we take our best friend to Tail Waggin’ PetStop. The Crossroads pet shop offers a first-come, first-served DIY dog (or cat) wash, with tubs big enough even for large breeds. Your dirty dog won’t mind the temperature-controlled water, and you’ll like the variety of shampoos for getting rid of whatever funk your dog has built up — returning the shine to his or her coat (well, until the next roll across park grass). Best of all, the

staff is willing to help scrub your pup, and the baths are pretty reasonably priced ($12-$20, based on your dog’s weight). Once the bathing and the shaking are done, buy your dog a treat (mmm, Beer Paws). You’ve both earned it.

Best UnDerrateD CrossroaDs gem

Fable 1515 Walnut • 816-200-2662 • shopfable.co

True to its namesake, the selection inside Fable feels lightly magical: draping dresses, flowing tees, chunky knits, lacy peplum tops. The shoebox of a storefront doesn’t present as a shop able to hold very much, but quantity isn’t the point. Owner-designer Tara Light keeps a minimal stock, but her choices express her taste with such eloquence that it’s hard to walk out of Fable without at least one new treasure for your closet. Everything here is Americanmade, as Light will proudly tell you, including her own understated line — Tara Light Designs — which arrives in seasonal installments, in limited runs. And it’s not just clothes. Light also carries a smattering of hair products, scented oils and one-of-a-kind jewelry. As long as you don’t go buying up the whole store, your own personal fairy tale and your closet get the happy ending you’ve always wanted.

Best Uses for an olD Kimono

aSiaTica 4824 Rainbow, Westwood • 913-831-0831 asiaticakc.com

Tucked into a small Westwood storefront, Elizabeth Wilson’s Asiatica has been creating beautiful things for more than 25 years.

uP-DoWn 101 Southwest Boulevard • 816-982-9455 updownkc.com

Des Moines is cool. We’re serious. If you haven’t taken a trip north on Interstate 35 to eat at Zombie Burger, shop in the East Village, or drink at El Bait Shop (or the High Life Lounge, Royal Mile or Hessen Haus), maybe you’re being a little too proud — and you’re missing out. Of course, a trickle of that Des Moines cool has run south, and we couldn’t be happier. It started with Raygun, which opened a quirky clothing shop in March 2014, adding much needed retail to the Crossroads Arts District. And now a new Iowa kid is on the block: Up-Down. The arcade opened in the former Hamburger Mary’s space, and it has been packed almost nightly with people playing old-school arcade games, pinball, Skee-Ball, giant Jenga and Connect Four. And Up-Down keeps upping the enticement. Fridays, the first 100 people get 20 free tokens. Sundays, get six domestic tallboys, 80 tokens and an Up-Down fanny pack for $25. What will our corn-fed neighbors send us next? We hope it involves zombies.

Best moving on Up By moving Down

WonDeR FaiR 841 Massachusetts, Lawrence • 785-856-3247 wonderfair.com

In 2011, Meredith Moore and her husband, Paul DeGeorge, inherited Wonder Fair, the upstairs art gallery on Massachusetts Street founded in 2008 by Eric Dobbins. It was weird and great before, and it’s still weird and great, though in slightly different ways. Wonder Fair has ramped up the printmaking focus (its website calls it the “Print Palace of the Great Plains”) by selling a variety of beautiful prints and other handmade goods. It also holds a monthly letter-writing club,

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FOR RECOGNIZING US AS AMONG THE BEST LOCAL BUSINESSES IN KANSAS CITY!

304 WESTPORT RD, KCMMO

N816.CO 816-569-0106 • RU GUSBOUTIQUE.COM

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at which participants meet at East Lawrence coffee shop Decade, unplug from the Web, and write all the thank-you notes and love letters they’ve been putting off. And in 2014, Wonder Fair formed the Fine Print PAC, a vehicle for giving to progressive candidates in exchange for screen-printed art. Last month, Wonder Fair’s gallery HQ migrated across Massachusetts into a new, street-level storefront. We’ll miss the old digs, but here’s hoping that the increased visibility clues more Lawrencians into the cool vibes radiating from this creative hub.

Best LocaLLy Made t-shirts

Normal HumaN Normal Human has been selling its “wears & wares from Kansas City” in its Westport location (in the former home of Spivey’s Books and Maps) since June 2014. The retail shop’s young owners, Patrick Egger and Dan Mahaney, have known each other since high school, and the melding of their screenprinting and sign-making skills has led to popular, eye-catching shirts that you’ve probably seen one of your friends wearing. One of our favorites: a dark-blue tee with a tornado, the sun, a snowflake and a storm cloud on the front that’s called “24 Hours in Kansas City.” The shop has no shortage of love for the Chiefs and the Royals, either — and the city loves Normal Human right back: A Crossroads expansion is on the way.

Best ViNtaGe cLothiNG For MeN

Cable aNd CompaNy

ashley tebbe

827 Westport Road • 816-326-8067 • nrmlhmn.com

his stuff every first weekend of the month, on the third floor of Bella Patina in the West Bottoms. It’s a smart selection of woodsy denim, worn-in-just-right sweatshirts, Red Wing Boots, plaid shirts, leather jackets — not merely vintage but also, as far as we’re concerned, timeless.

Best tiMe-BeNdiNG For WoMeN

First Fridays on the third floor of Bella Patina

SHop Future

1320 West 12th Street • 312-945-1276

Bauer Building, 115 West 18th Street

cableandcompany.tumblr.com

Shop Future plays as the Crossroads’ best-kept secret, a speakeasy-like boutique in the alley just around the corner from the Bauer Building’s entrance. But there’s nothing furtive about the shop itself, a bright, smart space where the walls have been artfully lined with one-of-a-kind ceramics, leather bags, vintage Levi denim, supersoft T-shirts from the 1970s and hand-woven blankets. Since she opened it last November, owner Lane Leavens has convinced us that her compact, tasteful collection is essential to our retail decisionmaking. We already have a hard time picturing our lives without Future. This is where we’ve found quirky gifts for others as well as for ourselves — especially when we’re in the mood to browse Leavens’ horde of chunky, gem-studded vintage silver jewelry. Future’s perfectly ironic name works not just because Leavens knows what to mine from the pasth, but because she nails a specific era. Her wares exude a certain Summer of Love vibe — wistful, romantic and effortlessly stylish. May her shop never become a thing of the past.

The KC man seeking a vintage ensemble — clothing that conveys genuine sharpness, not goofy kitsch — doesn’t have a lot of options. Occasional pre-1990s duds sometimes turn up at Arizona Trading Co., and we still love to stroll retro shops Re-Runs, Boomerang and Wonderland. But for the Levi’s denim jacket or Screen Stars T-shirt of your dreams, you usually have to book a me day to drive the suburbs and haunt their thrift stores. That’s one of the things Christopher Oppenhuis noticed upon moving to Kansas City from Chicago last year. So he started Cable and Company, a vintage menswear collection that focuses on American-made stuff originally sold from the 1940s through the1980s. “It was a period of manufacturing where things were built to last, before everything got exported overseas,” Oppenhuis says. “Those clothes still have a lot of life left in them.” Cable and Company is a part-time endeavor for Oppenhuis right now — his main gig is roasting coffee forThou Mayest — but you can reliably find him and

Best GiFt shop

Normal Human is in a real state.

urbaN proviSioNS 2616 Guinotte • 816-591-3924 urbanprovisionskc.com

In her previous job, Savannah Northcraft managed the guest-relations team — brewery tours, the gift shop — for Boulevard Brewing Co. She quit that gig a few years ago, though, and focused her efforts on starting a gift shop of her own. Northcraft and her business partner, Britton Turnbull, settled on an offbeat space in the East Bottoms next door to Local Pig (where Northcraft’s husband is general manager). Over Labor Day weekend 2014, they opened Urban Provisions, a shop selling American-made goods: all sorts of items you never knew you wished you had — heirloom beans, artisan lip balm, shaving brushes — and items you knew you wanted but mostly couldn’t find anywhere besides Etsy: local jewelry, KC-themed gear and midcentury furniture. Northcraft, Turnbull and their employees are also super-friendly, and the shop always smells nice. Go buy somebody an impressively unique present and breathe it all in.

Best pLace For proGressiVe MeatBaLLs

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Best FraMiNG JoB

Hook Gallery & FramiNG 1409B Westport Road • 816-531-4665 hookgallery.com

A professional, custom framing job — not what you do on your own after work one night, using the budget frame you bought at Ikea and ignoring that your picture doesn’t quite fit

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the mass-produced mat that came with it — elevates everything. Not just your grubby, $12 Salvador Dalí print, which you bought at the student union’s poster fair your freshman year of college. Not even just the room you hang it in. A professional, custom framing job elevates you. Look at your print inside its hand-cut mat, mounted dead-solid perfect in a proper frame. You aren’t a freshman anymore. You are a sophisticated person, cognizant of the zany nature of time and witty enough to hang this in your bathroom. The guys at Hook Gallery & Framing want you to be just that sophisticated and confident. Scott Wilkerson and Danny Sullivan take your object, guide you through an intimidating array of choices, and send you home ready to hang a statement about yourself on the wall. It’s the kind of service and workmanship that make you feel as though you got more than you paid for.

6000 IKEA Way, Merriam • ikea.com

Say what you want about IKEA, the Swedish juggernaut that has made countless Americans fantasize about living inside a Tinkertoy, but its arrival around here feels like a good thing. For the jobs, yes, but also for the quietly European way it tries to be a good neighbor. To help offset the energy drain of its enormous

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KANSAS CITY CHIROPRACTIC THANKS YOU FOR YOUR VOTE IN THE

best of kc 2015

Goods & services BEST PLaCE TO gET YOUR EDgE BaCk

aMbrosi bros. Cutlery 3023 Main • 816-756-3030 • abcutlery.com

"BEST OF KC" COMPETITION

MENTION THIS AD FOR A FREE CHAIR MASSAGE WITH YOUR INITIAL VISIT 4510 Belleview Suite 100 Kansas City, MO 64111 (816)753-4600 www.kansascitychiropractic.com Conveniently located between The Plaza & Westport

Merriam store, the company has erected what it says is Kansas’ largest rooftop solar array: 92,000 square feet, 2,394 panels, producing some 986,800 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The company says this is equivalent to reducing 680 tons of carbon dioxide — 143 cars’ worth. We’re not engineers, but that sounds pretty good. And acknowledging the store’s green gesture here also allows us to make a joke about what IKEA instructions for putting together 2,394 solar panels must look like.

BEST VERY COOL SCHOOL SUPPLY SHOP

Maker Goods 10 Westport Road • makergoods.net

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Since quietly opening Maker Goods in May, Ben Jones and Felica Koloc have batted around several formal descriptions of their shop. “Basically, we try to carry items that cater to other creatives: designers, illustrators, writers,” Koloc says. “People who put real care into what they make and think about the tools they use to make it.” Office Depot this is not. A tiny, 600-square-foot sliver of a space on the eastern block of Westport Road that’s also home to Oddly Correct and, soon, cocktail bar the Campground, Maker Goods sells a mix of new and vintage items such as Blackwing Pencils (the Rolls Royce of writing utensils, preferred by artists as diverse as Sondheim, Nabokov and Bugs Bunny creator Chuck Jones), fancy bookmarks, stationery and deadstock notebooks. For now, it’s open only on Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Both Jones and Koloc work full time at Hammerpress, he as a pressman, she as a production manager; they also do design work and letterpress printing at the Maker Goods space.) But the two hope to expand their hours soon. They’ve even recently settled on a slogan of sorts for the shop:

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Maker Goods’ Felica Koloc and Ben Jones have the goods. Uncommon goods for a better work space. “It’s hard to find a cohesive explanation for what we do,” Koloc says, noting that the shop also sells the decidedly non-work-related marble-print handbags that she makes. “Both of us just like doing a lot of different things.”

BEST LOCaL JEwELRY DESignER

early Jewelry

Ambrosi Bros. is one of those businesses you pass routinely without much thought. Oh, right, you think, the knife store. Then one day, you pass Ambrosi and continue home and start to make dinner and — fffffft! — you slice off your thumb. Not your whole thumb. In fact, OK, really just part of a thumbprint swirl that’s going to restore itself next week, a few days after you’ve taken off the Band-Aid. But ow, blood, ow ow goddamnit, ow. So, as the haze of pain and embarrassment lifts, you resolve to do right by your knives, your thumbs and your loved ones. You decide to carefully arrange your cutlery for a short ride to Ambrosi and ask the folks there to do what they do every day for your favorite restaurants and your smarter home-chef friends and your better lawn crews. “Will you sharpen these, please?” you ask, your injured hand jammed down into your pocket. No problem. And not much money, either. Unless you end up buying yourself a better knife, in which case Ambrosi is also the place — one with fair prices and enviable expertise. When that thumb heals, you may even take a cooking class somewhere, such is your post-Ambrosi confidence that you need never work without the right tool again.

BEST anaLOg RESCUE

Vinyl renaissanCe 1415 West 39th Street • 816-756-0014

earlyjewelry.com

vinylren.com/repair-services

There’s so much to love about Kylie Grater’s jewelry, but let’s start with the obvious: her designs. She sells them under the name Early Jewelry, and they exist at the rare intersection of elegance and innovation. An element of whimsy and hints of Grater’s rural Kansas upbringing are apparent, too: hoop earrings contoured in the shape of crescent moons, necklaces fashioned with geodes for pendants, studs derived from quartz. And in all of it is Grater’s commitment to recycled and sustainable materials. Every substance that goes into her final product — from the found stones, feathers and occasional bones to the precious metals purchased from a solar-powered manufacturing site — matters as much for its origins as for its aesthetic value. She makes it easy to support the Earth, too. Most Early Jewelry pieces are priced between $50 and $70, with the most expensive — say, a rosegold-filled horseshoe necklace — going for about $100. (We’ve found earrings to prize for $35.) Since Grater founded Early Jewelry, in 2004, she has developed lines for Urban Outfitters and Free People, but her newest creations can be found locally at Hammerpress and at Nomads in Lawrence. You can feel proud wearing a local designer who not only makes Kansas City proud but also sets a good example for other makers.

Well, smart guy, you knew this day would come. When you bought your fancy-pants tube amp (and your hand-assembled speakers and your turntable with the fingerprint-magnet cover), the better to hear every cymbal hiss and singer’s breath on your carefully assembled collection of classic jazz and THC-stink prog, the salesman warned you that you’d measure the time till tube replacement in the mid-hundreds of hours. Years later, somewhere in the middle of a Milt Jackson album — OK, OK, it was A Trick of the Tail — you hear a little electric pop! and there goes the left channel. The hourglass has run out. Where will you go now that your options are silence or dirty earbuds? You will go to Vinyl Renaissance, where, for $75 that can be applied to the overall repair cost, someone closer to genius than you are — someone with tools, know-how and only a trace of “What album ruined this, anyway?” — will renew your passport to the land called Audiophile. And obviously, you’re going to buy some records to celebrate when the fix is done, because getting your kick-ass stereo working again (or investing in one of the vintage or new pieces of stereo equipment here) is a big deal. Who knows how many hundreds of hours of listening any of us has? Gotta make every one of them count, loudly but with precisely the right bias on those tubes.


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Kansas City’s Finest Comic Shop I’m telling you,real deal it’s the

What kind of comic did you get?

Unique piercings Experienced staff Largest selection of jewelry in Kansas City

1624 B Westport Rd, KCMO 64111

816.561.1802

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BEST OF KC 2015

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

BEST BREAKOUT ACT

BEST BAND ON THE RISE

MADISEN WARD AND THE MAMA BEAR

YES YOU ARE

It’s hard to remember a time when Ruth and Madisen Ward — the mother-son duo who perform as Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear — were relatively anonymous in Kansas City. But the fact is that in June 2014, it wasn’t uncommon for the folk act to play to crowds of fewer than 20 in the Backroom Gallery — a tiny coffee shop and café — in the Wards’ hometown of Independence, Missouri. Madisen’s booming baritone hardly needed a microphone to give you chills, and there was a feeling, while watching him yelp and howl in that quaint little room, that he and his mother — a nimble-fi ngered guitarist — deserved a much wider audience. Fast-forward to this past August, when Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear headlined a packed homecoming show at the Midland after a successful European tour in support of their acclaimed full-length debut, Skeleton Crew (released in May on Glassnote Records). This band played on the Late Show With David Letterman and opened for B.B. King. In some ways, it feels like Kansas City barely got to know the Wards before the rest of the world started catching on. Rather than dwell on lost time, we’ll raise a glass and clutch our hearts full of hometown pride for these unlikely superstars.

Kianna Alarid has already done the band-onthe-rise thing: As the former lead singer for Omaha’s Tilly and the Wall, which saw a fair amount of success in the mid-aughts, she has cycled through the beginning and the fizzling-out of a creative project that carried her through her 20s. Which is why her new band, the year-old Yes You Are, is an effort that she takes seriously — one that she’s prepared to put every spare moment and bead of sweat into. Her fierce voice dominates the stormy power-pop chords and riffs that her bandmates supply, leaving Alarid to do what she does best: bring the attitude and set fi re to the dance floor. The formula is working; Yes You Are’s profi le is steadily climbing. Over the summer, the band completed a tour supporting Neon Trees. We have a feeling that it won’t be long before we’ll have to share Alarid and her team with the rest of the world.

BEST ROCK BAND

SHY BOYS The subtle brilliance of Shy Boys’ self-titled album, released last January, has not been forgotten — not by anyone in Kansas City, and certainly not by the greater musicnerd community on the Internet (lookin’ at you, Pitchfork). Frontman and guitarist

Collin Rausch sings in a tentative falsetto that is almost inseparable from the hazy layers of reverb — compliments of drummer Konnor Ervin (also of the ACB’s) and bassist Kyle Rausch (Collin’s brother) — that line their songs. The last year spent touring and gigging in support of that album has only bolstered the local profile of a band that manages to walk the delicate line between radio-ready pop and off-the-beaten-track rock, resulting in a sound that feels distinctly Kansas Citian.

BEST KC NEWCOMER

SARA MORGAN Sara Morgan is about as country as it gets, and if you’ve heard either of her EPs — 2013’s Let Me Get There or this year’s Easy to Dream — you know that the 25-year-old singer-songwriter is unabashedly proud of her country leanings. The Arkansas native has rooted down in Kansas City, and despite a few songs pining for Nashville’s famed Grand Ole Opry (“One Night at the Opry”), Morgan has never been shy about showing her love for the city she has come to call home. And we’re happy that she’s here. Morgan’s voice is as strong and pliable as any top-10 country star’s — and her songwriting chops recall a young Taylor Swift feeling out her strengths. We’re sure that Morgan will have her night at the Opry soon enough, and we’re glad that she’ll be repping KC when it happens.

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BEST BUSY BEAT MAKER

D/WILL Denzel Williams is one of Kansas City’s most prodigious hip-hop producers. He has been in the game long enough — more than a decade — to be considered an old hat, but time seems to have the reverse effect on this native son. The more time passes, the busier he gets. The last year alone has seen Williams working with three notable local rappers. In March, after a year of toiling and rehashing, he released the collaborative album Blk Flanl with up-and-coming rapper Barrel Maker (the first release for the artist). In September, Williams reunited with Topeka’s Stik Figa, a scene stalwart himself, for the gritty and excellent JOBB. Since 2013, Williams has been partnering with Hearts of Darkness rapper Les Izmore on their project, Heartfelt Anarchy; a new full-length, Random Blocks of Troost, will be out in November. And let’s not forget about Reset, the atmospheric and lush solo album that he dropped in January. Whew. All that, and how much you wanna bet he has created about eight more joints in the time it took us to write this paragraph? He puts even the hardest-working among us to shame.

BEST RAP NEWCOMER

BARREL MAKER They say my generation is uninspired, we lack motive, but it’s hard to stay focused when the

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Discover the Hotel Born and Raised in Kansas City! Kansas City’s only hotel dedicated to the past and present of the “Paris of the Plains.” 801 Westport Road, KCMO 64111 | 816-931-1000 | www.816hotel.com

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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best of kc 2015

zach bauman

arts & entertainment

lens is broken, Barrel Maker spits on “State,” a track from his debut album, Blk Flanl. That line sounds like a challenge from the 23-year-old rapper (real name Morgan Cooper), who would like you to know that his youth makes him no less ambitious. And Blk Flanl, bolstered by the always-impressive D/Will’s rhythmic sense, is an album pulsing with promise. Smooth and sophisticated, Barrel Maker’s raps pull from his sterling belief system. Anti-violence lyrics have never sounded hotter than they do slinking out of Barrel Maker’s mouth and melting around D/Will’s red-hot beats. Live, his confident delivery makes for an artist you aren’t likely to forget.

Best Place to Hear real BritisH accents

Central Standard theatre’S the InvaSIon Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre • 3614 Main cstkc.com

It doesn’t take an Anglophile to appreciate the excellent British work at the annual Invasion, a festival in which Bob Paisley’s Central Standard Theatre brings additional diversity to an increasingly eclectic local theater scene. Running concurrently this year with KC’s Fringe Festival, the Invasion helped keep datebooks filled with thoughtprovoking and engaging plays. English artists Nicholas Collett, Gavin Robertson, Ross Gurney Randall and Katharine Hurst graced the stage at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre with works we wouldn’t see elsewhere in KC. We became acquainted with British war hero Horatio Nelson on a level that felt quite personal. We took an audience with an irritable but amusing King Henry VIII. And we heard Mata Hari’s side of her wartime story and personal life. Mime and words were blended to intriguing effect in an absorb-

ing adaptation of The Six-Sided Man and, in a piece addressing modern life, Crusoe: No Man Is an Island. Seven shows left us looking forward to the Invasion’s next trip across the pond.

Best Bill

BoB PaISley Bill Clinton HerCules Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre 816-569-3226 • metkc.org

We’ve been hearing a lot these days about e-mail servers and whether Hillary Clinton is losing her lead in her run for the Democratic nomination for president, but what about Bill? Is anyone thinking about the potential First Gentleman? We are, because in May, we saw him at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, and in July, we caught him at Central Standard Theatre’s the Invasion. We’re talking, of course, about Bob Paisley’s entertaining and uncanny solo performance in Bill Clinton Hercules, a one-act, one-man play, written by Rachel Mariner — an American lawyer and playwright living in England who was a member of Clinton’s defense team in Jones v. Clinton. Paisley’s charismatic, Southernvoiced version of the former president wrapped us up in the character’s memories, opinions and tangents, ranging from Sen. Ted Kennedy (and a hilarious phone conversation) to Leon Panetta to the meaning of is to Monica to Seamus Heaney’s poem “The Cure at Troy.” Clinton is very good, after all, at speaking at length on any number of issues. And Paisley, who made the 42nd president oh so real, told us by e-mail that when he first performed the play in Scotland and Ireland, where Clinton is very popular, he actually got questions about this country’s foreign policy. For 90 minutes, his Clinton had us convinced, too.

Barrel Maker, not making barrels. Best reawakening

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In UMKC Theatre’s Freedom Rider, 1961 didn’t feel so far away. The original play, conceived and directed by Ricardo Khan, depicted the immense bravery of young civil rights workers and the frightening challenges they faced — literally risking their lives — while fighting segregation in the Jim Crow–era South. The writers who collaborated with Khan on this work — Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Murray Horwitz, Nathan Louis Jackson and Nikkole Salter — contributed different voices and stories to this deeply moving and powerful play. In a year when Black Lives Matter rose in our national consciousness, the Freedom Riders — ably portrayed by UMKC Theatre students — showed us our painful past, held up a mirror to our troubled present and offered hope in our ability to effect further change. It was a strikingly staged production and one of the most timely and relevant in KC this year.

Best world war i PersPective

not ABout Heroes Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre • 3614 Main 816-569-3226 • metkc.org

Last year saw centennial commemorations of World War I’s inception, and Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre gave us yet a different perspective on that terrible conflict: through the eyes — and, more specifically, the words — of two poets who were there at the front. Playwright Stephen MacDonald’s 1982 play brings to life these men’s voices from the past through their letters, diaries and poetry. The thoughts and feelings of the men were

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best of kc 2015 brought forth with profound effect via the exquisite performances of Robert Gibby Brand as Siegfried Sassoon and Seth Macchi as Wilfred Owen, two very real men who forged a friendship while in a Scottish hospital for injuries and PTSD — that era’s little understood “shell shock.” Under Bob Paisley’s skillful direction, their bond, across time, ultimately was with us. We hoped for their safety, ached for their pain, and mourned with them for a war “not about heroes but the deaths of boys.”

Best est

Help Yourself by DaviD Wayne ReeD

B R I A N PA U L E T T E / S P I N N I N G T R E E T H E AT R E

Paragraph Gallery • 23 East 12th Street

Good theater inspires ref lection, but it’s unusual for a show to bring about selfexamination before the curtain comes down. At David Wayne Reed’s original oneact Help Yourself, audience members became participants at a self-actualizing seminar, albeit a satirical one, based on those run by groups in the human-potential movement, such as Erhard Seminars Training (turned Landmark Education). “Do you want to change the ending to your story?” the workshop’s facilitator, played like a showman by Jeff Smith, asked us. “Life gets exciting when you start rewriting!” Reed’s play was selected in 2014 by the Charlotte Street Foundation from its open call for artists, and it was deserving of the nod. Reed’s witty and insightful script was a standout local work, realized through its excellent cast. Fortunately for us, the play’s workshop enrollees, portrayed by Kyle Dyck and Teri Adams, bore the brunt of the facilitator’s scrutiny, but we couldn’t help ruminating on his questions as well. That blurring of the fourth wall drew us in for an unusually personal — and therapeutic — experience.

his dog never ceased. The typical first response when we told people to see his show: “Does the dog die?” Not wanting to give away the play’s emotional ending, we allowed that trepidation to potentially keep people away. What we could have said: “A dog was accompanying him in the lobby.” Was it Diego? You’ll have to find out for yourself whenever he reprises this impactful work, as he did in September at the Fishtank.

Best MOdern telling Of a classic stOry

Best Original Play By a lOcal Playwright

Bond: A soldier And His dog Logan bLack This year’s Fringe Fest had a plethora of good shows. We caught Bond: A Soldier and His Dog the first weekend of the 10-day event and recommended it whenever we had the chance. Logan Black’s combat experience in Iraq as a military dog handler — he helped train and then worked alongside a bomb-sniffing yellow Lab — was a compelling first play by this talented local actor, who’s clearly a playwright as well. His one-man show was a vivid and moving hour of first-person storytelling depicting his experiences in Iraq with his dog, Diego, and the effects of that war on them both. Black has been stateside for quite some time, but the bond with 38

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doN IPock

2015 KC Fringe Festival • kcfringe.org

An iliAd Kansas City Repertory Theatre • 4949 Cherry 816-235-2700 • kcrep.org

A play often warrants a second viewing (even if it isn’t always possible), and KC

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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Rep’s An Iliad, directed by Jerry Genochio, was one of them, though it could go three, four or more rounds easy and never get stale or tedious, each performance of this beautiful and powerful work surely richer than the one before. Playwrights Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare adapted Homer’s The Iliad from a translation by Roger Fagles and formed a captivating and moving theater experience. It wasn’t just the stunning backdrop of ramparts and damaged ships (by Martin Andrew); the saturated color and textured landscape of the lighting (by Grant Wilcoxen); the ethereal and punctuating music composed by and played for the show by Raymond Castry, whose lone Musician appeared as muse to the one-act play’s only other character, the Poet. The exceptional Kyle Hatley was at the center of this play, his Poet somehow fated to experience the Trojan War over and over again in order to impart the woes of war through the men and women caught up in its heat. Through him, we were pulled into the action. We became wellacquainted with Agamemnon and Achilles, Hector and Patroclus and Priam, as though they were our contemporaries. We felt the Poet’s adrenalin as the battles surged, his sorrow and anguish as the human propensity for war took its toll. It was theater at its best. We’d like to see it yet again.

Gary Neal Johnson as Tevye Best fiddler

gaRy neaL Johnson fiddler on tHe roof Spinning Tree Theatre • 816-569-5277 spinningtreetheatre.com

If I were a rich man is something any number of us could ponder — and send us off to buy a lottery ticket — but it’s perennially back of mind for Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof’s father, milkman and main character, who spends his life scraping by in his village of Anatevka in 1905 imperial Russia. The well-known, 51-yearold, award-winning musical has been revived so many times, it’s practically an institution. And such stars as Zero Mostel and Topol made Tevye larger than life. Spinning Tree Theatre gave Fiddler a thoughtful and intimate revival that was rousing but also low-key (an “acoustic” version, they called it). And veteran local actor Gary Neal Johnson, in the leading role, made his Tevye accessible through a layered performance that was sensitive, heartfelt and funny. He pulled us into the story of this peasant, who is just trying — like a fiddler on the roof — to “scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck,” to keep his balance in a turbulent, changing Russia. Now, when we think of Tevye, we think of him.


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arts & entertainment Best Chameleon

Seth Macchi We first took notice of Seth Macchi at a 2014 Fringe Festival production, Bad Auditions, in which he impressed with his comic improvisation. Then, a few months later, he did an about-face, doing a serious turn as a World War I–era poet in the drama Not About Heroes at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. That’s when we realized that this comedic talent was also a seriously talented actor. But that wasn’t all this past year. We happened to see him in three Fringe Fest shows in three very different roles. He was a stuttering drugstore worker and former beau in Alli Jordan’s drama The Snake That Stole the Flower. As a son in Forrest Attaway’s very funny three-actor The Grave, he perfected his comic delivery. And in The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe, a musical that he co-wrote, he broke loose as a song-and-dance man, in a laugh-out-loud, giddily entertaining show about the waning days of vaudeville. We were like, What? What can Macchi not do? We can only wonder and wait.

Best Reunion

Matt WeiSS and RuSty SneaRy On an average Day The Living Room Theatre 1818 McGee • 816-533-5857 • thelivingroomkc.com

After five strong seasons, the Living Room Theatre no longer feels like a scrappy underdog. As evidence, we submit the Living Room’s idea of a birthday party — a revival of On an Average Day, a bareknuckle drama that the company first staged in its inaugural season. We didn’t mind the reprise. Actors Matt Weiss and Rusty Sneary seemed as if they’d been rehearsing in an attic somewhere for the last five years; the fight choreography was brutal, the pair’s onstage chemistry electric. We couldn’t look away as they showered the stage with fraternal angst and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The next time the Living Room stages a two-hander — and those hands belong to Weiss and Sneary — we want a ringside seat.

Best ensemBle

Jitney Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre 3614 Main • 816-569-3226 • metkc.org

It’s no secret that Kansas City has a large acting talent pool, but Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre’s Jitney drove the point home. August Wilson’s drama about men working at a jitney cab service requires a laser-focused ensemble capable of both silky-smooth chatter and blistering rage and disappointment. MET was up to the challenge. Granvile O’Neal warmed our hearts as the

wearied company owner, and Damron Russel Armstrong bruised them as his unfortunate son. Frank Oakley III fanned dramatic flames as the hot-tempered Youngblood, and pragmatic peacemaker Theodore Hughes cooled it down. Strong assists from supporting players — and a medical-grade dose of 1970s cool — made Jitney an acting showcase to remember.

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Best CoRonaRy

MaRk RobbinS angels in america Kansas City Repertory Theatre 4949 Cherry • 816-235-2700 • kcrep.org

Mark Robbins has had a hell of a year. From playing Fred Phelps–lite in KC Rep’s Sticky Traps to inhabiting the bilious Roy Cohn in Angels in America, he goaded our blood pressure to dangerous levels. But his onstage coronary as Cohn proved to be one of the season’s most memorable moments. Robbins’ frothing, deliciously spiteful final monologue was the kind of finish that made us want to stand up and applaud. Cohn did not go gently into that good night, and Robbins’ raging death rattle made us feel a strange affection for one of contemporary theater’s vilest villains.

Best Villain

daMRon RuSSel aRMStRong Bengal tiger at the BaghDaD ZOO The Unicorn Theatre 3828 Main • 816-531-7529 • unicorntheatre.org

Playing a good villain is deceptively hard. Mustache twirling doesn’t cut it anymore — modern audiences demand complex characters and realistic horrors. When the villain is a real, recognizable character, the task is even tougher. Enter (with a chill) Damron Russel Armstrong, whose portrayal of Uday Hussein (well, Hussein’s ghost) in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo sent a fresh shiver down our spines. Armstrong mastered Uday’s quiet, precarious control, the uncanny façade of a man who would slit your throat with a smile. His predatory purrs and manic laughter disarmed us before each sinister speech. And Armstrong’s crisp consonants made the air hiss with an eerie energy. His note-perfect performance was a sobering reminder that monsters aren’t just the stuff of myth.

Best effiCienCy unit

Jack MagaW the WhO & the What Kansas City Repertory Theatre 4949 Cherry • 816-235-2700 • kcrep.org

Over the years, KC Rep has conditioned us, like Pavlovian mutts, to salivate when we see Jack Magaw’s name in a program. The veteran designer has created some of the

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Rep’s most innovative and detailed sets. But we still weren’t expecting the ingenious economy of Magaw’s design for The Who & the What. An ornate façade, stretched wide across the Copaken stage, offered an elegant modern riff on Islamic tile design. As scenes changed, quadrants of the façade parted, allowing new sets to slide out like enormous kitchen drawers. The creativity alone was eye-catching; the practicality reminded us why Magaw is in high demand.

Best Projections

Jacob Stoltz Lasso of TruTh The Unicorn Theatre 3828 Main • 816-531-7529 • unicorntheatre.org

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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As practitioners of what is perhaps theater’s youngest design element, projection designers are essentially innovators. This is especially so in the case of Jacob Stoltz, who surprised us with some of the most handsome (and production-suited) projections we’ve seen to date. Stoltz, a graphic artist, supplied a series of pop-art-style renderings for Lasso of Truth, Carson Kreitzer’s ode to Wonder Woman and wonder women. Stage characters became comic-book characters, with word-bubble punch lines and superhuman traits. And Stoltz’s comic-book stylings supplied a large part of the play’s charm and connective tissue, transforming a simple, compartmented set into clearly delineated playing areas.

Best Ghost story

spook LighT ChroniCLes lara Shipley and antone dolezal We’re suckers for a good ghost story — doubly so when it takes place in our backyard.

“Believer” from Spook Light Chronicles So we couldn’t help but be bewitched by the collaboration of artists Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal, whose haunting photographs explore the Ozarks myth of the “spook light.” Eerie landscapes capture a traveling orb of light dancing through tangled thickets and overgrown groves. But portraits of the Ozark natives who inhabit them are just as arresting — and, in photos such as “The Boys That Scared Me,” threatening — as any supernatural tale.

Best redneck Love story

cathy barnett and Martin buchanan hands on a hardbody The Unicorn Theatre 3828 Main • 816-531-7529 • unicorntheatre.org

We don’t often get to cheer for the backwater set, but expert character actors Cathy Barnett and Martin Buchanan made bad teeth cool again. Barnett was a devilishly practical competitor in Hands on a Hardbody, and Buchanan stole our hearts as her devoted husband and one-man fan club. The pair’s goofy-lovey duet, “If She Don’t Sleep,” could have played as a Jeff Foxworthy routine. Instead, it was the big-hearted highlight of the show, sailing on the wings of the actors’ strong voices and infectious energy.

Best risktaker

the unicorn theatre 3828 Main • 816-531-7529 • unicorntheatre.org

The Unicorn Theatre has earned quite a few of our Best Of awards in recent years. But when the production quality is as consistent (and consistently provocative) as the Unicorn’s, it’s easy to see why. This season was packed with


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best of kc 2015 regional and world premiere plays, including a full production of a new play by local playwright William Missouri Downs. Kansas City isn’t short on good live theater, but the Unicorn remains our pick for the best place to see new work and new risks. As with any risktaking, there might be a few misses among the hits, but we’re glad that the Unicorn is taking aim — and, especially, a chance on local writers. The classics might bring in bigger crowds, but venues like the Unicorn have the power to create contemporary theater’s new classics.

Best Musical Direction

Sarah Crawford Jesus Christ superstar Musical Theater Heritage 2450 Grand • 816-221-6987

Best FaMily DysFunction

Bad Jews The Unicorn Theatre 3828 Main • 816-531-7529 • unicorntheatre.org

Family reunions can be trying occasions, but when a death in the family precipitates the gathering, and distribution of a coveted heirloom is involved? Oy. The 20-somethings in Bad Jews — two brothers, their first cousin and a fiancée — come together in a claustrophobic studio apartment on New York City’s Upper West Side after the death of a beloved grandfather. As two of them vie for his necklace, which means something different to each, deep-seated animosities surface in exchanges that cut like little invasive surgeries. Playwright Joshua Harmon nails the needling and button-pushing that only those who know each other well can inflict. Dina Thomas was spot-on as a young woman who wouldn’t let a conversation come to its natural conclusion. And Doogin Brown was top-notch as an assimilated grad student with a barely concealed loathing. Mark Thomas and Erika Baker rounded out the skilled cast in this smart, funny and insightful one-act, directed by Cynthia Levin. We cringed, we 42

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zach bauman

musicaltheaterheritage.com

Directing a musical is enough to drive even the most patient director to drink. So we’re grateful for Musical Theater Heritage’s Sarah Crawford, who applied her unflagging energy to a dazzling Jesus Christ Superstar. MTH’s production made even the most cynical of Webber-philes tap our toes to the power chords. Crawford kept the momentum high and the choreography taut, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the script-in-hand show had as many cues as a full production. That MTH’s pared-down style could be as engaging as a big show with all the bells and whistles is a testament to the power of the performers — and Crawford’s creativity and focus at the helm. Brava.

empathized, we laughed and then we cried as we witnessed an escalating conflict and its inevitable, touching end.

Best cast oF characters PlayeD By only two

JoSeph fournier and Sam wright stones in his poCkets Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre • 3614 Main 816-569-3226 • metkc.org

A second-stage production doesn’t mean second-rate. Quite the contrary. We refer specifically to Stones in His Pockets, a coproduction of Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre and Central Standard Theatre, part of their collaborative Plus Play series. In Marie Jones’ Tony-nominated and Olivier Award-winning play, actors Joseph Fournier and Sam Wright portrayed two Irish locals working as extras on a movie set in their small burg in County Kerry, Ireland. And they also performed the roles of every other character, so many that we didn’t try to keep count. As Hollywood takes over the town and the starstruck imaginations of its inhabitants, including Fournier’s Charlie and Wright’s Jake, the events that transpire amid this occupying force find voice through their two anchoring characters and the many other individuals the actors enact: the famous American actress, her dialect coach, the direc-

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tor, the many assistants, a rowdy local teenager, a reporter, even the town’s last surviving extra from The Quiet Man. A split-second change in gait, a swift shift in stance, a wardrobe accessory (a scarf, a pair of glasses), a change in tone — while also speaking in Irish accents — Fournier and Wright shape-shifted before us as they segued in mere moments from one character to the next, from one voice to another. Theirs were energetic and skillfully nuanced performances that engaged and entertained us, and made us care about these townsfolk and the effect on their lives of the Hollywood machine.

Best Visual think Piece

“#tranSgenderflag” peregrine honig Haw Contemporary 1600 Liberty • 816-842-5877 hawcontemporary.com

Our idea of provocative art doesn’t usually start with a mass-produced nylon flag. But Peregrine Honig’s “#transgenderflag,” from her solo show at Haw Contemporary, made us reconsider the symbols that we take for granted. Honig’s riff on the transgender flag replaced horizontal stripes of blue and pink with spectral bars of ivory and white. The result was beautiful, but it also made us pause to consider how a design so subtle and fragile could take on the zeal and rallying power of a flag. “#transgenderflag”

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear roar. sparked a host of good conversations. Were the white shades symbols of purity, surrender, erasure? Was it appropriate for Honig, a cisgender artist, to craft such a symbol for the transgender community? Months later, we’re still hearing debate. Cool.

Best secret Jazz sPot

YJ’S SnaCk Bar 128 West 18th Street • 816-472-5533 yjs-snackbar.com

The night after rocking Arrowhead Stadium in June, Rollings Stones saxophonist Tim Ries joined a jazz jam on 18th Street — at YJ’s Snack Bar. Ries and KC sax great Bobby Watson stopped by bassist Bryan Hicks’ weekly Sunday-night gig. If Sundays aren’t enough, fret not: Wednesday nights, drummer Arnie Young hosts a group at the snack shop next door to Birdies Panties on a stretch formerly known as Kansas City’s Film Row. Thursdays, when YJ’s is open all night, trumpeter Hermon Mehari and drummers Ryan Lee and Brad Williams anchor a jam that starts a bit before midnight and sometimes lasts until 4 a.m. If you haven’t experienced the glory of an early morning YJ’s BLT paired with some of the best jazz in the city, here’s your invite.


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arts & entertainment Best Jazz Dance BanD

Chris hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 How to build the liveliest jazz dance band of your dreams: Start with Chris Hazelton on the Hammond B-3 organ. Add Nick Howell on trumpet, Nick Rowland on alto and tenor sax, Brett Jackson on baritone sax, Matt Hopper on guitar, Danny Rojas on drums and Pat Conway on congas. This, friends, is the Boogaloo 7, which dominates Friday nights at Green Lady Lounge starting at 10. If you’re lucky, singer Julia Haile may join the band as it storms through funk, soul and booty-shakin’ jazz. It’s ’60s and early ’70s standards plus modern pop, all given the boogaloo treatment. And if that doesn’t inspire you to rock your shoulders, swivel your hips and jump up to dance, you’re probably dead.

Best Jazz singer

Molly haMMer Molly Hammer doesn’t just own a song — she owns the room where she sings. With a sparkling brashness, Hammer infuses a full range of jazz standards with her distinct style. Hammer’s singing — whether treating you to playful sultriness on “Frim Fram Sauce,” inspired longing on “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You” or the rapid-fire lyrics of “Joy Spring” — has matured into a sound that pulls evenly from jazz history and her own musical-theater background, which, of course, helps drive her dynamic stage presence. Don’t miss this original KC jazz delight Friday nights in Green Lady Lounge’s downstairs Orion Room.

Best Folk ensemBle

ViCtor & Penny Since 2010, Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane have been pioneers in a self-invented genre — something they started out calling “antique pop” (before borrowing that phrase as an album title). It’s a reference to a Prohibition-era style of music that combines elements of folk, pop and jazz — a sound that perfectly fits Freling’s acoustic guitar, McGrane’s ukulele and their quirky, jaunty harmonies. Together, under the stage name Victor & Penny, the duo has toured all over the United States, playing upward of 250 shows a year — a feat that demonstrates their dedication to their craft. At the beginning of 2014, Freling and McGrane decided to expand their sound with the addition of the Loose Change Orchestra, featuring bassist Rick Willoughby and clarinetist James Isaac. In January, the full band released Live at the Living Room Theatre — an album showcasing a mature band in full control of its assets.

Five years in, Victor & Penny has proved to be much more than a novelty act.

Best late Bloomer success story

sCott hraBko In December 2013, Scott Hrabko — then 53 — released Gone Places. It was a remarkable album, not only because the 13 songs vividly showcase Hrabko’s sharp talent for songwriting and his twanging western baritone but also because it was his very first effort. Until that album, Hrabko’s public gigs were scarce. Not two years later, and Hrabko — who has been writing songs since the ’90s — has another album, January’s Biscuits & Gravity, and a far more steady lineup of gigs. Biscuits & Gravity is a far more outgoing effort from Hrabko, thanks in part to the addition of his full band, the Rabbits. These days, Hrabko can usually be found monthly at the Coda, the Westport Saloon or any other number of local venues. If you have a hankering for classic songwriting in the vein of John Prine and Lyle Lovett, find yourself a seat in Hrabko’s audience.

Best scary metal BanD

BuMMer Listen, a certain amount of terror is inherent in just about every metal band in the history of the genre. And some fearsome local acts would qualify for this honor. But something about Bummer really has us screaming for a nightlight. Perhaps it’s the relative youth of the Olathe trio (two of whom can’t legally consume alcohol) or the unadulterated, barely controlled rage that the members seem to embody. Whatever the reason, Bummer appears to have one goal: to prove, with every new release and live show, just how mercilessly loud and savage it can be. On the band’s latest EP, July’s Spank, frontman Matt Perrin doesn’t quite scream — and he certainly doesn’t sing — through six vicious, red-eyed tracks as Sam Hutchinson drums his way to hell and bassist Mike Gustafson stomps on your grandmother’s grave. Like the band itself, Spank is sludgy, noisy and, frankly, scary as fuck — just the way metal was intended.

Best authentic country experience

rex hoBart and the Misery Boys I’m back on the scene, livin’ the dream/me, I like the sad country songs, Rex Hobart sings merrily on “Gonna Get My Honky Tonk Back On.” It’s the second track off his Marchreleased Long Shot of Hard Stuff, the first album from Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys since 2005. So if our leading man sounds

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happy to be behind a microphone again, well, it’s because we’ve missed him just as much as he has missed us. (We hope.) Long Shot of Hard Stuff finds Hobart in his element. Somewhere between the devil-may-care shrug and grin of Merle Haggard and the rugged, twanging baritone that brings to mind George Jones, he has developed his own rugged cowboy heart — and he’s not afraid to show it.

Best Weird Punk/diY Act

Arc FlAsh In May, when we talked with Lawrence punkrock trio Arc Flash, the band wanted to do the interview on the roof of a parking garage. And we thought: “Hey, whatever. Their interview.” When they showed up wearing some rather inspired fashions — and sunglasses despite the gray weather — we said to ourselves: “Who are we to judge the preferred form of expression of true artists?” But when our interview was interrupted after three minutes by a “trans-dimensional cyborg” — a beefy dude wearing a gas mask, strapped with a mobile amp and an electric guitar slung across his body — our brains just about broke. Who were these three maniacs, and why were they being stalked by this post-apocalyptic freak? And when guitarist James Thomblison nonchalantly told us that “this happens from time to time,” he also suggested that we duck for cover as the cyborg drew a crossbow loaded with Nerf arrows. Now, you think that situation was weird, try a live show with these guys.

Best PlAce drink And PAint

hAppy Trees Even if your artistic talent lies on the “stick figure” end of the spectrum, you can still 44

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Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys back on the scene. create a masterpiece at Happy Trees Painting Company. Located in the heart of the Crossroads, the environment alone will rev up your creativity — never mind the fact that you can bring your own booze. (We recommend a large box of your favorite red wine.) After choosing a painting by one of Happy Trees’ instructors — everything from nature scenes to wine appreciation to koi fish — your party receives detailed instruction on how to recreate the image using the provided supplies. Especially for non-creative types, slapping paint on canvas is a unique way to spend a bachelorette party or a birthday with friends — and unlike a night at the bar, you’ll take home something you’ll actually want to show off to your family.

Best underAPPreciAted Artist

Juniper TAngpuz juniper-art.com

Among the reasons we wish Lawrence were closer are the sculptural installations by Juniper Tangpuz, which pop up on the college town’s sidewalks and in its parks, among other places. Child-friendly and kinetic, they serve as a terrific calling card for this 2003 University of Kansas graduate, who has taught at Johnson County Community College for the past decade. We’re continually delighted by the mechanical craftsmanship of anything he makes — his photography as well as his paintings, drawings, cartoons and animation, all of it witty and engaging. Tangpuz is best-known, though, for his three-dimensional constructions, often animal-machine hybrids or working musical instruments made of corrugated plastic sheeting held together with zip ties. A regular at the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina,


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arts & entertainment

zach bauman

ability to make things happen. The ArtsKC Fund topped its half-million-dollar goal this year (its largest campaign since 2008) and can now increase the ground-level Inspiration Grants it awards twice a year. The last two rounds were chunks of more than $20,000 each, meaning three times as many artists as before were able to realize their goals of travel, publication, technical training or special materials acquisitions. Dancer-choreographer Jane Gotch can now present her work in New York City, and curator Danny Orendorff is able to produce a catalog for a La Esquina show. And ArtsKC has one of the most welcome e-mail updates around, keeping us current with all the things the organization and its partners are up to, and showcasing an artist ready for some attention.

Safety last: Arc Flash Kansas, each summer, he recently created a towering, walk-through Chartes Cathedral out of cardboard, with tissue-paper stainedglass windows for the Spencer’s “Box City” event of Paris, the culminating creative event of a weeklong kids’ art camp. Paper is his “native language,” he says, though he’s fluent in several — art mediums and human communication alike. (He’s studying Arabic and Russian at JCCC.) He has been featured in shows at the Spencer and at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, but consider this our official demand for some gallery to put up a full-scale solo installation that combines his sincerity and his multimedia acumen into a truly immersive experience.

Best Keeping of the faith

RedeemeR Fellowship 3921 Baltimore • redeemerkansascity.org

The whole separation-of-church-and-state thing lately tastes more like a single shaken martini than it does two discretely poured, uh, spirits. But not every house of worship is to blame for that breakdown, and in KC we’ve seen some fine examples of churches eager to effect civic improvement without lobbying legislative bodies. We’re thinking especially of Redeemer Fellowship, which has quietly been a catalyst for transforming the corner of Westport and Main into a creative hotspot. A few years ago, the congregation secured the historic, long-empty Katz drugstore building. Today, the huge space has been given over to 20 artists’ studios where people who don’t necessarily share holy books, creeds or rites keep a common 46

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faith in the transformative power of personal creation. In this cultural incubator, 20-some blocks from the Crossroads, the Drugstore this past May demonstrated its confidence in the depth and diversity of KC’s arts enthusiasts by throwing a “block activated evening.” Open studios attracted a steady stream of visitors, and nearby venues such as Oddly Correct coffee, and other studios like Meridian Line, the Campground and Maker Goods, added street-level enthusiasm. And in the Katz space, Sean Starowitz’s Talk Shop debuted the timely and poignant I, Too, Am American photography exhibit by the Langston Hughes Club, one of the local groups working to raise KC’s minimum wage to $15. The images produced by 16 of our local fast-food workers, mentored by a New York Times photojournalist, laid bare the day-to-day realities of low wages and irregular hours in a way that no Sunday sermon could. Redeemer’s vision to “transform a long-unused building into a space to nurture and instigate arts, culture, and community initiatives” has brought a lot of talent and goodwill into the light.

Best new gallery

snapshot GalleRy 1724 Main • snapshotgallerykc.com

Paul Churchill’s experience in the preparation department at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and other area museums this year paid unexpected dividends in the Crossroads: a new fine-art space dedicated to photography, Snapshot Gallery, in a streetlevel space in the TWA Garage. the inaugural show featured Spencer Murphy, a London photographer who began his craft at age 11 and whose work has been printed in Rolling

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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Stone, Time and The Guardian. Subsequent exhibitions have included Dylan Vitone’s Rutland Project and Pittsburgh Project, which brought to light an Appalachian Skatopia and the the post-industrial transformation of the rust-belt city. The work of Larry Gawel is now on view, and the gallery has already scheduled Joe Kelly for the winter season. So far the only woman we’ve heard from at Snapshot has been Cyan Meeks, who spoke alongside Scott Anderson and Byron Darby at an April forum. But the caliber of work Churchill has brought to KC so far has been impressive, and we are grateful for the opportunity to see it in person — and optimistic that the gender balance will level out.

Best entrance

aRtsKC moves to the CRossRoads artskc.org

The regional arts council known as ArtsKC has moved steadily from bureaucratic obscurity toward a recognizable — and welcome — profile. Yes, there remain studies to conduct and lobbying to do, but this group, whose stated mission is “to unleash the power of the arts,” is in fact doing a pretty visible amount of unleashing. The council has worked for years to support individual visual, performing, literary and other artists, along with our major museums and theaters and mid-size arts organizations, and the results have begun to flower — even at its home base, which this summer moved to the Crossroads and became what ArtsKC bills as a “gallery and community venue.” Under the leadership of Harlan Brownlee for the past six and a half years, a small, nimble staff has been able to increase its

Best exit

GRand aRts 1819 Grand • grandarts.com

The big block letters on the red carpet outside 1819 Grand put it plainly: “Going out of business.” Past the doors on this end-of-summer night: an installation of inflatable car salesmen flapping joyous greetings to an impressive local who’s-who, here for Grand Arts’ farewell dinner. It was a typically cheeky bit of anti-nostalgia to offset any sadness at the close of a true visual-arts beacon. Founded in 1995 by Margaret Hall Silva and Sean Kelley, the space mounted some of the most challenging exhibitions ever seen here. The number of shows over the years varied, but the quality and the risk-taking of the art never did. The idea was to help artists realize ambitious new projects and foster their growth; artists would often take up residency in the apartment upstairs and make use of the large, well-appointed workshop. On September 19 that vast space housed two long, candlelit banquet tables and lots of stories. People recalled Jim Leedy’s gut-wrenching The Earth Lies Screaming, Patricia Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage, Catherine Chalmer’s America Cockroach. They talked about the massive installations that went up outside the gallery’s walls, such as John Salves’ shipping-container wall proclaiming “IOU / USA” across from the Federal Reserve and, coincidentally, next to KC’s small but stalwart Occupy camp. And there was agreement that this final season was more bang than whimper, with Glenn Kaino’s TANK and the Propeller Group’s A Universe of Collisions. Grand Arts is over now, though, and the space has been handed to the Kansas City Art Institute to form a graduate program slated to open in 2017 — a fitting passing of the torch. The name may once have had more to do with the simplicity of where it was located, but in the end Grand Arts was truly grand, and we already miss it sorely.


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48 smoker. When the meat emerges, it yields only a hint of sweetness and spice, but a perfect hint, one that complements f lesh so tender, it’ll make you, as they say in the South, slap your granny.

BEST OF KC 2015

BEST BEEF BRISKET

BARBECUE

FIORELLA’S JACK STACK BARBECUE Multiple locations • jackstackbbq.com

Brisket is a risky menu choice at some local barbecue joints. Sometimes you end up with thin slices of meat that would look more at home in a supermarket deli case than an authentic smokehouse. Not so at Jack Stack, the venerable Kansas City barbecue institution. Jack Stack’s beef brisket comes out of the kitchen in thick and tender slabs, not too fatty and glazed with the restaurant’s tangy sauce. It’s so good that Jack Stack chops it up and adds it to the tasty beans, making this dish an overall winner.

BEST SMOKED CHICKEN

BROBECKS BARBEQUE 4615 Indian Creek Parkway, Overland Park 913-901-9700 • brobecksbbq.com

BEST BARBECUE DECISION

THE Z-MAN SANDWICH JOE’S KANSAS CITY Multiple locations • joeskc.com

A trip to Joe’s Kansas City comes with lots of choices. But if you go to the original gas-station location (3002 West 47th Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas) of the barbecue joint formerly known as Oklahoma Joe’s, you’ll have plenty of time to think while you wait in a line that’s often out the door. You’re definitely getting fries, so that’s settled, but … ribs? You aren’t passing up the ribs, are you? But what about the chicken? The line is moving — think! Ah, of course: Order the Z-Man sandwich. The Z-Man is 100 percent regret-proof. The menu puts it this way: “Slow-smoked beef brisket, smoked provolone cheese, topped with two crispy onion rings, on a toasted Kaiser roll.” We put it this way: Sold. Again. Every bite of this mother delivers well-balanced ecstasy. Speaking of ecstasy: Skip the wait and just call this in for pickup. And don’t forget the fries.

BEST BURNT ENDS

R.J.’S BOB-BE-QUE SHACK 5835 Lamar, Mission • 913-262-7300 • rjsbbq.com

It’s hard to fi nd real burnt ends in Kansas City. A true burnt-ends plate, consisting of 48

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chopped-up pieces from the singed point of a brisket, isn’t a practical regular-menu item, derived as it is from such a small portion of meat. Most Kansas City barbecue joints serve cubed pieces of brisket instead and call the plate burnt ends. R.J.’s Bob-Be-Que Shack, in Mission, falls into this category but gets a pass — its burnt ends are that good. R.J.’s takes its burnt ends from tender but tasty brisket, well-smoked and offered with a choice of sauces, making this at-times overlooked suburban joint well worth a visit.

BEST USE OF BURNT ENDS

BURNT END BURGER Q39 1000 West 39th Street • 816-255-3753 • q39kc.com

No matter the night, Q 39 almost always has a line to the door. It’s not hard to understand why: Since opening in April 2014, this 39th Street joint has continued to impress with its endless, heaping barbecue plates and extensive menu of sandwiches, sides and shareables. But there’s one item — one gorgeous, heaven-sent offering — that keeps us awake at night with desire: the Burnt End Burger. This is a generous halfpound, oak-wood-grilled black Angus beef patty, temped at a perfect medium-rare and topped with, oh, just another heavy mound

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of succulent, fall-apart-at-the-touch slices of burnt ends and smothered in a balanced, thick brown-sugar-and-spice barbecue sauce. And then that’s topped with a spicy pickle slaw — because why not get more color in between that toasted, tender bun. We’re getting kind of emotional even thinking about it. Sorry, we need a moment.

BEST RIBS

SLAP’S BBQ 553 Central Avenue • Kansas City, Kansas 913-213-3736

Brothers Mike and Joe Pearce were successful barbecue competitors who called their team Squeal Like a Pig (yes, it’s a reference to Deliverance). Now, that phrase has been shortened, and the acronym leavened into a verb — an appropriate verb for the welcome force of this KCK venue’s smoked meats. It’s striking stuff, with the ribs our favorite way to get ’que-smacked. That is, when we get to Slap’s in time. The place sells out of ribs, burnt ends and pretty much everything else early in the day, making punctuality vital to the hungry. Get there at noon, not 12:05. Anyway, those ribs: Mike Pearce slathers them with a dry rub and then brown sugar and honey before wrapping them up for a four-hour visit to the

There’s a fine art to a superbly smoked chicken. The meat must be moist and tender, and retain a subtle taste of the smoldering hardwoods burned in the smoker. Brobecks’ birds are all that and more, so enticingly flavorful that gnawing on the bones is perfectly reasonable here. The side dishes tend to be bland, so the simplicity of the supple smoked chicken makes it a standout as both a sandwich and a full meal.

BEST CHILI

BURNT END CHILI HAWG JAW QUE & BREW 4403 Northwest Gateway Avenue, Riverside 816-741-4294 • hawgjaw.com

When professional firefighter Nick Silvio and brother Sam — they co-own Em Chamas Brazilian Grill — and sister Gina took over the Riverside barbecue restaurant formerly called Hawg Jaw Fritz, they made slight changes to the menu. But the most popular addition was Nick’s meaty chili, richly flavored with trimmings from burnt ends and smoked brisket. “It’s not a spicy, hot chili,” he says. “It’s just a perfect cold-weather chili. But it’s so popular, we now offer it all year.” Good call, Nick.

BEST BARBECUE PORK SANDWICH

CAROLINA SPLENDOR SANDWICH CRAZY GOOD EATS 16695A W 151st Street, Olathe • 913-905-2744 crazygoodeats.com

For devotees of a certain region’s barbecue flavors, nothing could be finer than to be in


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Carolina in the smoky morning. In this part of the country, such people are mostly out of luck. But there’s sympathy to be had in Olathe, where you can find that Carolina innovation of tender — not stringy — pulled, smoked pork heaped on a bun with coleslaw. Crazy Good Eats adds fried pickles to the mix, which lends another element of crunchiness and a welcome touch of sour to balance out the sweetness of pork and slaw. We’d never admit to preferring Carolina barbecue, but we love this sandwich.

Best Baked Beans

Crazy Good Eats 16695A W 151st Street, Olathe • 913-905-2744 crazygoodeats.com

One of the newer barbecue restaurants in the metro, the family-owned Crazy Good Eats, was opened by former competition pitmasters — which means, as you’d expect, that the wood-smoked meats are delicious. But what we like best here are the delectable baked beans, seasoned with the restaurant’s spicier house-made sauce and loaded with moist, f lavorful burnt ends. The portions aren’t skimpy, and this is even the rare batch of beans that approaches genuine cosmetic beauty.

Best BarBecue InventIon

BBQ sundaE nExt yEar’s WinnEr BBQ 2306 Northwest Vivion Road, Northmoor 816-587-4227 • nextyearswinnerbbq.com

The BBQ Sundae from Next Year’s Winner BBQ has everything you want from a Kan-

Slap’s does ribs right. sas City barbecue experience in one weird magic trick. In a red Solo cup (or, if you’re dining in, a Mason jar), layers of rib tips, pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw happily nest under a topping of — what else? — bacon-wrapped meatballs. At $6.95, this party in a cup is a steal. And despite appearances, it’s a winning combination of f lavors: The pulled pork is succulent, the ribs pack a wonderfully smoky flavor, the beans are saucy and the slaw is appropriately creamy. The meatballs are more garnish than innovation, but who’s complaining? Unhinge your jaw and dive in.

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Best BarBecue PIcnIc

Woodyard Bar-B-QuE 3001 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, Kansas 913-362-8000 • woodyardbbq.com

Woodyard Bar-B-Que’s menu holds a special place in our meat-lovin’ hearts. Just the thought of a slab of baby back ribs is enough to give us a serious case of meat sweats. And when we finally do give in to the craving, the smoke leads us to the Merriam Lane roadhouse. This is no typical trip to Grandma’s, even if you get déjà vu opening the screen door. Once you place your order (better get some chili … and fries … to go with those … oh, yeah … ribs), take yourself back out the screen door and grab a picnic table so you can breathe in all the smoked meat while you clean those rib bones. This is a picnic worth savoring and celebrating — a cure for those sweats.

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1111 Main St Kansas City, MO 816.221.PLOW BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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BEST OF KC 2015

FOOD BEST NEW RESTAURANT

CHAR BAR SMOKED MEATS & AMUSEMENTS 4050 Pennsylvania Avenue • 816-389-8600 charbarkc.com

Barbecue competition here is fierce and getting fiercer. This KC dietary staple thrives in sheds, tents and the occasional gas station, so the pressure on a restaurateur who wants to sauce it up in a high-overhead location is immense. Last year, chef and competitive barbecue champion Rob Magee opened the stylish Q39, throwing down the silicone mitt. By the end of 2014, the team of James Westphal and chef Mark Kelpe, of the Beer KC restaurants (McCoy’s, Beer Kitchen, the Foundry), had picked up that mitt, put it on and started one hell of a fire with their equally unorthodox Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements. The big space combines elements of classic smoke pits, Southern soul food and a dollop of Chuck E. Cheese (an outdoor playground boasts a croquet court, a bocce court and giant swings made from airplane tires), each adroitly accomplished. The smoked meats are tender and delicious (we’re fans of the Wednesday-only smoked short rib pot roast), and this is the only barbecue venue we’ve ever seen that devotes 20 percent of its menu not just to vegetarian food but to very good vegetarian food. (Not health food, mind you: the smoked-jackfruit sandwich, the retro grilled pimento-cheese

sandwich and the portobello sandwich make you feel like you’re going as whole-hog as your pork-lovin’ tablemates.) There’s even real maple syrup for the terrific chicken and waffles, not to mention such house-made sauces as a smoky hollandaise and a Tabasco honey. Barbecue isn’t always about the details, but the details at Char Bar make it our favorite new restaurant of 2015 — and some of our favorite barbecue, period.

BEST RESTAURANT

THE RIEGER HOTEL GRILL & EXCHANGE 1924 Main • 816-471-2177 • theriegerkc.com

If Alexander Rieger, the businessman who erected the three-story hotel that bears his name, could have seen his business-class hostelry pass the century mark this year, he would have seen a hell of a change. The tiled hotel lobby served as a variety of raucous saloons in the 20th century, but it celebrates its 100th anniversary as one of the finest dining establishments in the city — and, this year, our favorite. The dining room evokes its host building’s storied past but is also 100 percent of its own time, with chef and co-owner Howard Hanna overseeing a kitchen staff that executes a nearly flawless dinner menu six nights a week. Oh, and the polished serving staff and the superb bar program don’t hurt. Mr. Rieger would be proud as hell.

BEST CHEF

HOWARD HANNA THE RIEGER HOTEL GRILL & EXCHANGE 1924 Main • 816-471-2177 • theriegerkc.com

For the past five years, Howard Hanna has juggled two time-consuming roles at the Rieger: executive chef and co-owner. “It’s been very challenging,” he says. “It was a big learning curve for me, especially that first year.” Hanna says he once worked with a chef who gave him an analogy to describe chef-owners: “It’s like being the best checker player you know, and then someone teaches you how to play chess.” We’d say he has gotten pretty good at chess. Hanna’s passion for creating fresh, inventive menus, using regional meats and produce, remains in full effect, and the rest of his crew delivers on the boss’s vision (hence the Rieger’s other mention in this section). Hanna calls his cuisine “rustic and soulful.” It’s also sophisticated and just plain satisfying.

BEST SERVER

WALTER MANSFIELD NEWPORT GRILL 5501 West 135th Street, Overland Park 913-239-0807 • newportgrillkc.com

We’re thinking that restaurant veteran Walter Mansfield’s other job — as a teacher at Shawnee

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Mission North High School — has given him expert skills as a waiter. He’s patient, helpful, smart, diplomatic, and he can easily handle himself around patrons with disciplinary issues. A longtime server in the PB&J empire, Mansfield was part of the opening crew at Newport Grill in 2014 and is still a highly requested waiter. “He really relates to the guests,” says Joe Wilcox, his former manager. “He’s just a good person and enjoys taking care of people. A lot of younger servers could learn a lot following his lead.”

BEST PIZZA

IL LAZZARONE 412 Delaware • 816-541-3695 • illazzarone.org

We once ate some kind of triple-secretcertified Neapolitan-style pizza in New York City, at a tiny but much lauded venue that had been written up just about everywhere in that metropolis (and beyond). The owner, by all accounts a hotheaded narcissist but something of a visionary, had written not so much a menu but a manifesto — a handful of pies and prices surrounded by angry musings and accusations. (Everyone else’s pizza, the menu warned its hungry reader, was fraudulent, may as well be cold Domino’s. Everyone else’s!) Honestly, the pizza we tried that night was … fucking awesome. But we wouldn’t go back even if we could (and we can’t because

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angela c. bond

best of kc 2015

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the business is long gone) because pizza isn’t an angry food. It’s a happy food. It’s the most happy food. And, really, how can you certify the quality or authenticity of a food when the main metric for it is how happy it makes you? Still, Erik Borger is all about certification. His first Il Lazzarone, in St. Joseph, was quick to earn the imprimatur of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, a distinction that his City Market outpost seems likely to pick up, too. Good for him, but for what it’s worth, we’d like simply to certify here that his thincrust, handsomely charred, tomato-loving pizza this year made us happier than anyone else’s. Which is saying something in a town where very little of the pizza is, you know, fraudulent. In fact, it’s even better than that rage-topped pie we ate in New York.

Best Instant neIghBorhood ClassIC

Il lazzarone 412 Delaware • 816-541-3695 • illazzarone.org

Since Erik Borger opened the second location of his seriously Neapolitan pizzeria in the City Market, he has been waiting for the woodfired pizza he serves KC to be endorsed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. (Borger’s St. Joseph original already has the nod.) As we went to press, the newer of his two Lazzarones hadn’t yet made things official, but that hardly matters to fans of the pizza here. It’s as close to the old country as you can get on the Great Plains: brilliantly flavorful, delicate, built with excellent ingredients, baked in a Naples-manufactured Acunto Mario Forni oven. The food has style, and so does the space: The pies emerge from a conspicuously pretty open kitchen and come to you in the hands of appealing staff members (service that has begun to overcome some early bumps). Accompanied by expertly engineered drinks (sharp cocktails, a smartly chosen beer list, affordable wines), your meal takes place in a high-ceilinged and wood-

Jax: slurp heavy dining room or in a low-key back room that’s centered on a long, beautiful bar. The food is rustic, but the setting is urban — a mix that gets us every time.

Best seafood

Jax FIsh house & oyster Bar 4814 Roanoke Parkway • 816-437-7940 jaxfishouse.com/kansas-city

The year-old Jax Fish House, the first Midwestern satellite of a Colorado company, might have been yet another corporate intruder setting up shop on the chain-heavy Country Club Plaza. But this restaurant, with talented young chef Bobby Bowman and a well-trained serving staff, has been anything but disappointing. It earns high marks for its imaginative preparation of fresh fish entrées and starters, among other dishes — especially the oysters. We love to sit at the busy bar and let Bowman and his crew work their magic. We like the mussels in panang curry sauce. And we like the large sampler platter heaped with crab and lobster. The latter is for bigger spenders than we are, most days. But when we want to feel big time, this is how we do it.

Best CraB Cakes

r Bar & PatIo 610 Florida, Lawrence • 785-856-6969

This Lawrence saloon was known for years as the Jet Lag Lounge. When owner James Shaffer took it over, four years ago, he changed the name. This year, he made an even bigger change: bringing in Brian Reeves as a minority partner to oversee a major overhaul of the venue, including a new kitchen. Reeves decided to take the bar menu up several notches, installing a smoker to cook full-joint chicken


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Overlooking the historic Independence Square, Ophelia’s offers an infusion of cultural flavors in an eclectic American menu. The steaks, seafood, duck, and lamb are a few of our guest’s favorite items. Layers of flavors contribute to all of the dishes we serve. You will find the atmosphere casual, yet romantic at the same time. Ophelia’s in Independence is truly a gem off the beaten path.

2 0 1 N M A I N S T | I N D E P E N D E N C E , M O 6 4 0 5 0 | 8 1 6 . 4 6 1 . 4 5 2 5 | w w w. o p h e l i a s i n d . c o m

Nestled in historic Independence Square, Café Verona will whisk you from the Midwest to the romance of Italy. Our menu will please both adventurous epicureans seeking fresh interpretations of classic dishes and guests seeking modern comfort food. Mon - Thurs 11 am - 9 pm | Fri - Sat 11 am - 10 pm

206 W Lexington | Independence, MO 64050 | 816.833.0044 | cafeveronarestaurant.com pitch.com

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O.P.’S NEWEST AND MOST AUTHENTICALLY UNIQUE RESTAURANT! CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW ON PITCH.COM

ico in KC A little bit of Old Mex ~since 1949 ~

www.loscorrals.com Downtown 408 W 9th St KCMO 816-421-9440

Northland 6024 NE Antioch Rd Gladstone 816-569-5844

Terra Mexican Cuisine

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6705 West 119th Street, Overland Park, KS (913) 663-0160 | terrakc@outlook.com facebook.com/terramexicancuisine

3:30-6:30


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FOOD wings and pork shoulder. But the dish we like best is the least likely addition to the menu: Maryland crab cake sliders. These light, delicious mini sandwiches are made with real crabmeat, held together with panko bread crumbs, egg and mayonnaise. Reeves grills them, tops them with Old Bay tartar sauce and lettuce and tomato, and tucks them into coaster-size buns. Delectable, addictive.

Best Oyster selectiOn

Jax Fish house & oyster Bar 4814 Roanoke Parkway • 816-437-7940 jaxfishhouse.com/kansas-city

It’s a little rough, you know, finding a solid selection of oysters in our landlocked city. Enter Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar. When this Colorado-headquartered joint opened on the Plaza last November, we were a little skeptical whether such a restaurant could make good on its promise of fresh oysters. Months later, we are happily eating crow — or, rather, oysters by the dozen. Here’s the thing: Jax is always ready to serve these precious little gems of the sea (which you can watch being shucked at the gorgeous oyster bar), and the selection is far from Midwestern. Sometimes there are smaller counts of a particularly indemand or rare breed, but rest assured: You can sample as many of these little babies as your palate can support. Jax has a steady supply of Emerson oysters on hand — a sustainable oyster harvested exclusively for the restaurant group, just off Chesapeake Bay. Fun fact: Jax is also the first — and, as of press time, the only — restaurant in the state to be recognized as a restaurant partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which monitors sustainable seafood practices. So, basically, these are some guiltfree oysters, baby.

Best see-and-Be-seen Breakfast spOt

Genessee royale Bistro 1531 Genessee • 816-474-7070 • genesseeroyale.com

Todd Schulte’s appealing West Bottoms bruncheonette attracts a rogue’s gallery of stylish people — artists, writers, musicians, felons. You sense in this human hodgepodge (the people watching and eavesdropping here are second to none) a long-agreedupon consensus: The breakfast menu here is very nearly perfect. Waff les? Great. A hearty “Stockyards Plate” that delivers exactly what you hope something with such a name would? Oink. Pancakes? No — berryquinoa pancakes. Ah. You have your eggs, you have your fried Yukon golds, and you have no reason to mind a short wait for a table. You’re the social type anyway, and there’s probably someone you know here.

Best sunday Brunch

Westport CaFé & Bar 419 Westport Road • 816-931-4740 westportcafeandbar.com

Sometimes we think the word “Westport” is Kansas City for “brunch.” Restaurants in the district have come and gone over the years, but the historic setting and the steady sense of happening — of denizens on their way to or from a happily acquired hangover — are peerless constants. That vibe comes from the balance between places that wet your whistle and places that dry you out — at the fulcrum of which is the Gallic-influenced bistro Westport Café & Bar. Equal parts boozy and coffee-stained, French omelet and American chicken hash, the place most vividly stands apart from its rivals over its generous brunch hours. This is when you can have the very best lemon-ricotta pancakes this side of Chicago or a plate of Norwegian-style eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. It’s what gets us out of bed in the, um, afternoon. When chef Rich Wiles can wake up early to make all of this, we can at least try to make it in before 1 p.m. — though we can still find brunch there until 4.

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Best tuesday-night special

CuCina della raGazza 301 Westport Road • 816-960-4744

Tuesday: a bleak day to wake up to but often the most productive of the week. Perhaps, by the time the whistle has sounded, you’re feeling a sense of accomplishment over your work. Perhaps a reward of some kind is in order. Not a party, just a nice meal. With its smart and affordable steak night, Cucina della Ragazza (The Pitch’s 2014 Best Instant Neighborhood Classic) has precisely what you seek as you plow into the midweek. For $17 — $17! — you get an 8-ounce tenderloin or 12-ounce strip steak, sides of creamy polenta and sautéed green beans, plus a side salad (house or Caesar). It’s all delicious. Bonus: There are always a couple of nice wines marked below $30 a bottle. When the price-topleasure ratio is this favorable, you can’t possibly feel bad about treating yourself.

Best MidtOwn additiOn

andy’s Frozen Custard 1200 Westport Road, 816-531-3300

Midtown has a few options for cool treats in the summertime: Murray’s, Miami Ice, maybe an ice-cream truck on a hot day. But it wasn’t until Andy’s Frozen Custard arrived near the western edge of Westport that we realized how much hunger there was for a big-tent ice-cream purveyor on this stretch of town. The location is the first in Kansas City for the regional chain, founded in Springfield, Missouri, but growing

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Chef Howard Hanna of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange (opposite page) quickly throughout the South and the Midwest. It opened in June, in time for summer, and it has been packed with families, couples and positively American vibes just about every night since. The custard is heavenly. In addition to seasonal concretes (with blackberries, pumpkin pie or peaches mixed in), we recommend the Apple Pie Sundae (which is what it sounds like) and the James Brownie Funky Jackhammer (vanilla custard blended with peanut butter and brownies, then filled with hot fudge, oh mama!). We also dig the architecture of the place, designed by local firm Hufft Projects. With its deep overhangs, fluorescent tubes and red-yellow-white color scheme, it’s a smart nod to old-school icecream joints. Not in it for the ambience? Don’t like to stand? Just need your post-dinner sugar fix? No sweat. There’s a drive-thru. This is still America, after all.

Best Bounce-tothe-ounce Burger

Jim’s Diner 6901 Prospect • 816-363-7770

There are three things you need to know about Jim’s Diner. First, it isn’t really a diner — you order at a counter, and the place has only one table. Second, it isn’t owned by Jim — the cook and proprietor is Dave Crane. Finally, the double cheeseburger is not what you’d call cheap, at $8. But the fourth thing you need to know about Jim’s Diner is that said $8 cheeseburger is big. Like, feed-a-small-family big. It’s lus56

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cious, too, topped with a fresh tomato slice, iceberg lettuce and onion. Eat one for lunch, and you won’t have so much as a hunger pang for maybe 10 hours.

Best Fancy Burger

Affäre 1911 Main • 816-298-6182 • affarekc.com

When chef Martin Heuser and his wife, Katrin, opened their stylish Affäre, in 2012, they knew that their lunch menu would need a burger. Sure, it’s a German restaurant, but the language that Kansas Citians speak come midday — hell, come midnight — is burger. So Heuser used a secret weapon to make himself a serious burgermeister: bison meat. The result is a juicy, nearly perfect $12 burger, made fresh to order and seasoned with a special steak spice. The thick patty comes topped with a slice of swiss cheese and a punchy, housemade aioli. Naturally, a Farm to Market egg bun is involved, and there are hand-cut fries, served with curry ketchup. We remain fans of Affäre’s fancifully European menu, but we’re glad that this burger was born in the U.S.A.

Best French Fries

Affäre 1911 Main • 816-298-6182 • affarekc.com

Call them french fries, call them pommes frites or call them potato joy, they’re not the real thing if they come frozen out of a bag. But there’s a good reason that so many restaurants we admire don’t bother with all the cutting and the blanching: It’s a time-consuming,


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thankless chore. For Affäre chef Martin Heuser, though, it’s also a labor of love. He slices fat russet spuds straight across, then into thin fingers that he soaks in cold water for two hours. This leads to pre-blanching for seven minutes in the fryer (“There’s no color,” he says, “but they’re cooked”) before they’re left to dry in the cooler overnight. When patrons order a sandwich — or just an order of fries to eat in the lounge — Heuser cooks the potatoes in the fryer again for four minutes until they reach crispy perfection, with a gorgeously golden finish. “It’s quite a bit of work,” Heuser says, “but I think it makes all the difference.” It absolutely does.

Best ChiCken Wings

Blvd Tavern 320 Southwest Boulevard • 816-421-1023 blvdtavernkc.com

There are chicken wings — the crunchy, messy, hot kind first created by Buffalo’s Anchor Bar — and then there are Korean-style chicken wings, which are crunchier, messier and hotter. Restaurateurs Derek and Meghan Nacey wanted to go with the latter when they opened their Blvd Tavern this year, and we’re glad they did. The Asian-inspired dish is our favorite thing at Blvd, made even better with the mound of house-made kimchee that accompanies it. The double-fried wings are generously slathered in a hot sauce that offers a hint of vinegary tang and a soupçon of some other cracklike component. We never wear white anymore, just in case we want some Blvd wings.

Best gRiLLeD Wings

niecie’s resTauranT 6441 Troost • 816-444-6006 • nieciesrestaurant.com

It sounds counterintuitive in this town of rough-and-tumble bar food, but chicken wings can be a delicacy. Mainly, we are talking about the grilled wings at Niecie’s on Troost, which are served in happy counterpoint to the restaurant’s crunchy, deep-fried wings (the ones best eaten with a buttered waffle). The grilled version can take 30 minutes or so if the dining room is busy, but we say they’re worth the wait. The staff won’t reveal just what goes into the seasoning mix — which gets brushed onto the wings as they lightly brown on the grill — because of course it should be a secret. It’s the seasoning that elevates these delectably meaty wings a step beyond. You can eat them with hot sauce, naturally, but this is also the rare wing that takes off all on its own.

Best CuBan sanDWiCh

The sundry 1706 Baltimore • 816-527-0459 • thesundry.com

The only component of the Sundry’s delicious Cubano that isn’t completely authentic, says co-owner Aaron Prater, is the bread. “Traditionally, it’s more like a classic French baguette,” he tells us. “And we tried that but found that our own house-made ciabatta really stays soft and tender underneath the crusty surface on our panini press.” He’s right. Meanwhile, all of the good stuff is accounted for: Sundry-smoked ham and Sundry-roasted Berkshire pork, house-

made pickles — and yellow ballpark mustard that’s decidedly, happily, not a fussed-over homemade item. It’s the perfect blend of traditional, improvised and improved, and it’s as close to the real thing as you’ll find on this side of the Missouri.

Best ReuBen sanDWiCh

The sTandard Pour 1511 Westport Road • 816-531-7687 thestandardpourkc.com

Travis Meeks takes the construction of his Reuben very seriously. He brines his own corned beef, cuts it into luxuriously thick slices and makes his own sauerkraut for the classic sandwich. He uses more costly aged gruyère in place of swiss. And though some would dispute that the following is a genius move rather than a protocol violation, he balks at the traditional Thousand Island dressing. “It’s too thick,” Meeks says, “and the acidity of the pickle relish is too much with the brined meat.” Instead, he prefers Russian dressing. “It’s creamier, and there’s a hint of onion that brings out the briney flavor,” he says, and he’s right. Meeks grills his sandwich on marbled rye, and the damn thing works every time.

Best sanDWiCh

The chick-a-roni chicken Macaroni & cheese 7025 Prospect • 816-912-2438

How did we make it all the way through the 20th century and a chunk of this one before some clever innovator combined two

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of America’s most beloved comfort foods? We’re talking about fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, and we’re talking about that most American of mating grounds, the sandwich. Yes, friends, we’re talking about KC’s most delicious WTF, the Chick-A-Roni. Let the record show that father-and-son restaurateurs Dyamund Shields and Dyamund Shields Jr. got here first. How did they do it? With a soft hoagie bun, chopped pieces of crunchy and spicy fried chicken, and an absurdly rich and wellseasoned macaroni and cheese. So simple, the idea was hiding in plain sight. Obviously, you do not attempt to pick this up. You need a knife and a fork and perhaps a defibrillator. Clear … your afternoon.

Best taCos

BoniTo Michoacan 1150 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 913-371-0326 • bonitomichoacankck.com

This combination meat market, grocery and café is swamped on Saturdays and Sundays during lunch hour, when patrons rush in for splendidly seasoned tacos. We’re partial to the one with succulent marinated pork, cooked with onions and pineapple, but we never order just one. How could we when the choices stretch out before us: tripe, steamed lamb, beef cheeks, all hot and delicious inside fresh tortillas and smothered in house-made salsas. And if we ever had to limit our lunch to just one taco, we’d go for the discada: seasoned beef, ham, hot dogs, bacon and pork. It’s a whole workweek of meat variety in one filling blast. Bonito, indeed.

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Thai Orchid restaurant Award Winning Authentic Thai Cuisine Serving Kansas City Since 1991

Lunch: Mon-Sat 11am to 2:30pm Dinner: Mon-Thu 5pm to 9pm Fri & Sat 5pm to 9:30pm | Closed Sundays 6504 Martway St. Mission West Shopping Center thaiorchidks.com | 913-384-2800

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Best Nachos

Best saUsages

Pot Roast Nachos summit GRill & BaR

cocktail WeeNies BRoadWay ButcheR shoP

500 West 75th Street • 816-361-9788

3828 Broadway • 816-931-2333

summitgrillandbar.com

Broadway Butcher’s Stuart Aldridge is — no exaggeration — a certifiable genius. The man has managed to combine two of the greatest things on earth — booze and meat — in one glorious product: flavored cocktail weenies. Never mind the name — these are not the sad, shriveled things your aunt buried in crescent rolls and force-fed everyone at Christmas. Aldridge’s version is magic that you’ll not understand until you taste: plump miniature sausages (sold for $8.50 a pound) in flavors of mint julep (combining ground pork shoulder with fresh mint, dehydrated mint, bourbon and simple syrup) and old-fashioned (pork with bourbon-rehydrated cherries, orange pith, orange zest, bourbon and cream). The heady aroma that fills your kitchen as you oven-roast these little darlings for around 12 minutes is merely a sweet preview to the juicy, tender bites that delight you — and your guests, should you choose to share.

Domhnall Molloy, executive chef and coowner of the metro’s two Summit Grill restaurants, set out to do his version of some great chicken nachos that he had sampled in Chicago. Back in Kansas City, he decided to use his tender pot roast instead. “There’s still a perception that customers are going to get a pile of corn chips with all this stuff on them,” he says. “These are individual fried tortillas topped with pot roast, cheddar and pepper jack cheese, and our chipotle cream sauce and our house-made corn relish.” Those in Waldo didn’t know what to make of these offbeat nachos at first, so Molloy offered to refund money to any patrons who didn’t love them. “I never lost a cent,” he says.

Best BRatWURst

GRüNaueR 101 West 22nd Street • 816-283-3234 grunauerkc.com

Peter Grünauer’s Austrian restaurant, in the Crossroads Arts District’s Freighthouse, early on built a solid reputation for moist, f lavorful sausages, and things have only gotten better. For our money, though, the main event is the bratwurst, made with pale ale from the Tommyknocker Brewery in Colorado. The beer gives this plumper an unexpected malty, hoppy note that works beautifully with the condiments (stoneground mustard, plenty of head-clearing horseradish) to elevate a familiar ballpark snack into something closer to nirvana.

Best FReNch oNioN soUp

aixois BistRo 251 East 55th Street • 816-333-3305 • aixoisbistro.com

Rich, hearty soups are among our favorite fall treats, especially the French onion soup at Aixois. The charming French bistro is upscale without being pretentious, leaving you free to sip and slurp with abandon. Even better: Every day until 2 p.m., Aixois is part fancy French restaurant and part laid-back coffee shop, so it’s not at all awkward to drop in solo and post up with your laptop at a corner table (there’s Wi-Fi) while devouring a bowl of this filling soup, which doesn’t skimp on the

Heirloom Bakery turns us on. onions. Topped with a thick slice of baguette — so fat that it fills the whole bowl — and melted gruyère cheese, it warms you from the inside out.

Best DevileD eggs

816-221-7559 facebook.com/bbirdbistro 1700 Summit St, Kansas City, MO

Ça Va 4149 Pennsylvania • 816-255-3934 • cavakc.com

Look, we’ve never met a deviled egg we didn’t like. Our love affair with this tasty, simple snack started early in our Midwestern upbringing — soon after we learned that the protein of a hard-boiled egg could be made somehow more awesome by the addition of a generous serving of mayo. Plenty of spots around town do this treat justice, but there’s something special about the version at Ça Va. For $8, you get not just four deviled eggs (from Campo Lindo Farms) — whipped with pickle brine, crème fraîche, mayo, cayenne and Dijon mustard for a sublime creamy-tangy result — but also a host of accoutrements. Enjoy the fresh-chopped chives and shallots with a dollop of crème fraîche and a full tablespoon of Missouri caviar. Come on, eight bucks for the tray? We’d pay $8 for just one of these little beauties piled with all the fixings.

Best MiDWesteRN tReat

deeP-fRied Pickles & cheese cuRds With RaNch cleaVeR & coRk 1333 Walnut • 816-541-3484 • cleaverandcork.com

What could possibly be more Midwestern than deep-fried pickles and deep-fried cheese curds? Serving them mixed together with a generous side of ranch, that’s what.

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PAPAKENOS.COM 60

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angela c. bond

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Cleaver & Cork knows what’s up. This tidy appetizer is the perfect balance of savory, salty and fried — just what you need after a show at the Sprint Center, to soak up all the overpriced beer you guzzled. And at $8.25 a basket, you really can’t go wrong. These bite-size morsels are presented with a featherlight batter the color of sunshine and dreams. There’s enough on a plate to share, but honestly, why would you?

Best Hangover Meal

Rainbow Peanut noodles and lulu’s Rolls lulu’s thai noodle shoP 2030 Central • 816-474-8424 • lulusnoodles.com

We’ve never been disappointed by our multiple takeout lunches from Lulu’s. But Lulu’s is best when we’re so hungover that the only thing good enough to peel us off the bathroom tiles is a hot, steamy bowl of Rainbow Peanut Noodles and a side (or two) of Lulu’s Rolls. First, the noodles: One could make the argument for pad Thai here, but there’s something about this particular combination of veggies — red bell peppers, scallions, carrots, bean sprouts and cucumbers — with rice noodles, cilantro and peanuts, tossed in Lulu’s extra-thick traditional peanut sauce, that completes us. (That the portion is large enough for two pro-football players to share helps.) Get it with tofu and with the spice level kicked up to “blazin’,” though there’s no wrong way to order this. And when it comes to Lulu’s Rolls, don’t compromise: Get the full, four-piece order. You’ll savor these tender, feather-light bundles of pork, carrots, scallions and cellophane noodles, wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried to a glorious gold. Ask for an extra side of sweet-chili sauce to dip, and don’t feel bad about it. This is your recovery meal, and you will make no apologies.

Back in business: Ladybird Diner Best IndIan restaurant

swagat Fine indian Cuisine 7407 Northwest 87th Street 816-746-9400 • swagatkc.com

Kansas City is rich in locally owned restaurants serving the distinctive cuisines of Northern and Southern India, but the very finest is in the Northland: the 13-year-old Swagat. This venue picks and chooses favored dishes from the entire country, north and south, for a menu that ranges from tandooriroasted meats and freshly baked breads to curries, korma and classic biryani choices. Owner Gurdev Choong is all about chiles and spices — which, combined in his nuanced fashion, aren’t about mere heat — and the dishes are seasoned with a knowing hand. All of which makes this a serious destination for neophytes and picky experts alike.

Best ItalIan annIversary

osteRia il CentRo 5101 Main • 816-561-2369 • osteriailcentro.com

There may be better Italian restaurants in the metro, but none are loved as passionately as Gregg Johnson’s Osteria Il Centro, the neighborhood wine bar and trattoria that he opened 20 years ago south of the Plaza. Last March, Johnson (who also owns the Minsky’s Pizza next door) closed down the stretch of Main in front of his building to celebrate that anniversary. Surprising no one, the event drew a huge crowd. His idea, back in 1995, was to create a simple wine bar that served a limited menu of food. Three months after opening, however, Osteria bowed to customer requests and introduced a full menu of (mostly) Northern Italian dishes. Then and now, the clientele comes mostly from the surrounding neighborhood, though the proximity to the Plaza


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HOTEL

SORELLA

TREAT YOUR SENSES HAPPY

HOUR

DINING

PRIVATE

EVENTS

For Reservations Call 816.437.8420 H O T E L S O R E L L A - C O U N T R Y C L U B P L A Z A . C O M

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THE BEST LOO

best of kc 2015

s a b r i n a s ta i r e s

KING Spor ts Pub Y ou've Ever S een

means a steady flow of tourists — even the occasional visiting Italian, who finds nothing to complain about here.

d& o o F y l i Da als i c e p S Drink

Best Korean restaurant

R U S O H C DRAFT I T Y S E P M O $1 OFF D HAP 3-6

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EN TVS, E R C S G CTORS 67 BI E J O R P CH 2 100 IN

Korean restaurant sobahn 7800 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Overland Park 913-384-1688 • sobahnkc.com

Sobahn is in such an unlikely location — tucked away in a modest strip of storefronts facing Shawnee Mission Parkway — that, for some patrons, it might as well be in Seoul. But discovering this unique, family-owned restaurant rewards the journey: Korean-born residents in the metro give the Kwon family’s cuisine particularly high marks for authenticity, particularly beloved dishes such as bulgogi, galbi steak, bibim bap, and go dung uh jungshik. It also has a full bar for those who prefer to pair fiery kimchi with ice-cold beer.

Best Pho

iPho tower 3623 Broadway • 816-531-2353

FREE APPETIZER w/purchase of 2 entrees* *Please bring ad or take a photo with your phone and show waitress.

6700 W 135TH STREET • OVERLAND PARK, KS 66223 • 913.544.1268 62

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Char Bar (amusements not shown) a steaming bowl of pho can be eaten for breakfast; on frigid Missouri mornings, you’ll wish that iPho Tower opened at dawn.

Best French restaurant

Café ProvenCe 3936 West 69th Terrace, Prairie Village 913-384-5998 • cafeprovencekc.com

There have been livelier and more modish French bistros in the metro, but Café Provence — still owned and operated by the Quillec family — has always been the one that best captured the flavors of French food and the graciousness of French dining. The dining room is quite small (it feels intimate on a Saturday night), but the servers are so friendly and chef Philip Quillec’s menu of provincial Gallic dishes so tempting that the room expands, at least in perception, well before the tartelette crème brûlée et caramel arrives.

Best Mexican restaurant

facebook.com/iphotower

Port fonda

Owner Spike Nguyen gave his FrenchVietnamese restaurant a name that puns on the Eiffel Tower, the better to render it distinct from other Southeast Asian restaurants in the metro. But it’s not the name that sets iPho apart — it’s the food. Nguyen’s menu excels at traditional Vietnamese dishes, including grilled pork rolls, sweet-potato fritters and banh mi sandwiches. His pho — pronounced fuh and referring to the long rice noodles, not to the soup itself — is fresh-tasting, comforting and deliciously seasoned. Nguyen oversees the broth himself, with a recipe that simmers beef bones, ginger, star anise and onions to maximum flavor. In Vietnam,

Yes, the noise can be bruising, and the wait for a table can be maddening, but love it or hate it, chef Patrick Ryan’s Port Fonda is a force to be reckoned with. (Which is to say, if you think you hate it, you’re wrong.) The food is fresh, imaginative and refreshingly different from any other local menu’s. The bar program is equally extraordinary. And there aren’t many other places where you’re in less danger of your dinner conversation being overheard. Ryan bristles at his venue’s reputation as a “hipster hangout,” and we understand why. Plenty of unbearded, untattooed Kansas Citians have already been here — in search of flavors more exciting than

4141 Pennsylvania • 816-216-6462 • portfonda.com


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food House rolls — Colby’s mother’s recipe — or an olive-oil-and-sea salt cracker. Uh, can we have all three?

Best new BaKery

1900 Barker 1900 Barker, Lawrence • 785-424-7609

zach bauman

1900barker.com

Il Lazzarone: positively certifiable those at, say, Chuy’s. Others should make a point to discover that sometimes the cool kids are right.

Best Communal Dining experienCe

Q Hot Pot JaPanese Fondue & asian taPas Bar 8610 Northwest Prairie View Road • 816-741-5773

Vietnamese-born restaurateur Kieu (say Q) Cao says that when she moved to Kansas City, she missed the tradition of shabu shabu, in which friends gather around a pot of boiling broth — the method for cooking beef, chicken, lamb, seafood or vegetables, which are eaten with rice or noodles. Not being able to find what she wanted, Cao opened her own restaurant in Zona Rosa. It’s just as she hoped: a gathering spot for groups of friends eager to dine communally. A pot with two compartments permits diners to order two different kinds of broth — there are eight choices — as a cooking vehicle for sliced meats and crispy fresh vegetables. While chatting, patrons cook what they like for themselves, seasoning the items with piquant sauces. Cao doesn’t mind when groups linger, though when she brings out the complimentary dessert — a tiny glass bowl of green beans drenched in tapioca pudding — take the, uh, cue and pay your tab, grateful for the experience.

Best Hotel restaurant

12 Baltimore at Hotel PHilliPs 106 West 12th Street • 816-346-4410 hotelphillips.com

A hotel that serves food all day and all night — if you count room service — needs a chef who

is both clever and cool-headed. Hotel Phillips has just that in Frank Lalumia (this year’s winner of The Pitch Golden Fork honors), who isn’t shy about expressing his personality on the different menus of 12 Baltimore, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The familiar hotel standards — a good burger, a club sandwich, fine steaks — are all accounted for, and there are imaginative options for vegetarian diners, along with well-made soups and salads. The hotel’s street-level lounge space boasts a sexy bar to accompany the appealing dining room. The kitchen stays open late by downtown standards — till 11 p.m. during the week and till 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights — so you can stumble in past 10 p.m. and work off your buzz with a good meal. Of course, you can also commit to your intoxication by checking into a comfortable room. Room service for breakfast — a good breakfast.

Best restaurant survivor

ladyBird diner 721 Massachusetts, Lawrence • 785-856-5239 ladybirddiner.com

Meg Heriford fulfilled a longtime dream last year when she opened an old-fashioned diner — with a full bar — on Lawrence’s prime restaurant street. The venue caught on quickly, thanks to her freshly baked pies, magnanimous dinner specials and creative breakfasts. But six months into her success story, the saloon next door caught fire, leaving Heriford’s dining room with serious smoke damage that took months to repair. She kept busy catering and baking pies while her space slowly came back to life. Ladybird reopened August 11 — five months after the fire — and Heriford can now add a little wisdom to her dream come true: “I learned that patience will see you through everything,” she says. “It was a real test of endurance to open a restaurant twice in a year.

No sane person would do that. But our staff has come back, stronger than before.”

Best pies

englewood CaFé 10904 East Winner Road, Independence 816-461-9588 • englewoodstation.com

For the past half-century, the Englewood Café has served the best diner food in President Harry Truman’s town: crispy chickenfried steak, juicy burgers, hefty breakfast platters, house-made soups. But this unassuming café’s claim to fame will always be pie. Among the 12-15 varieties available every day are old-fashioned recipes that you won’t find anywhere else (boysenberry, pineapple cream, butterscotch cream), baked in the flakiest crust in the metro. Sometimes we just want a slab of cream pie and an order of fries. When that fever hits, the Englewood Diner stocks the only cure.

Best BreaD BasKet

Bluestem 900 Westport Road • 816-561-1101 bluestemkc.com

Several decades ago, a typical bread basket in Kansas City was a little time capsule from earlier that day: Some rapidly aging slices of Roma bread and two pats of rock-hard butter. Times have changed. It’s now unusual for a restaurant to offer bread service at all; you’re lucky to get a cellophane-wrapped cracker. But at Bluestem, bread remains an important part of the dining experience. “Our bakery is an important component of who we are,” says co-owner Colby Garrelts, who says Bluestem “goes back and forth between a bread basket or more formal bread service, with servers bearing tongs offering patrons a choice between house-baked olive oil focaccia, fluffy Parker

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This tidy bread-and-pastry shop, an unlikely tenant in what was once a laundromat, feels like a Hollywood conception of a Kansas bakery. In a great way. The neatly arranged venue — also a popular coffeehouse because, of course, it is — is the dream business of Reagan and Taylor Petrehn, two brothers who, between them, evince a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of baking and coffee. The beautiful bread here, including an organic “utility loaf” and always some kind of seasonal loaf (we’re partial to the olive-rosemary) — is reason enough to get yourself to Lawrence. But there’s also rustic pastry made with fresh local fruits and berries. Stuff here sells out fast, making this not just our best new bakery but also the best reason we know to get up early.

Best Fast-rising Business

HeartH Bread Co. 17985 Route 45 North, Weston • 816-805-4206 hearthbreadco.squarespace.com

Weston is peerless in the metro when what you seek is quaintness, but its charms aren’t limited to the hamlet’s main drag. Brick by brick, Dylan Low built his wood-burning oven closer to Highway 45, making his Hearth Bread Co. a little more difficult to find — but making the discovery even more rewarding. Low’s excellent breads — and pastries, on the days he offers them, including an outstanding apple fritter and fluffy beignets — have made detouring off Main Street all but mandatory for Westongoers. The young baker arrives at his business every day at 1 a.m. to fire up the oven and begin baking his rotating menu of French boules and loaves of ciabatta and sourdough. We like Wednesday’s cranberry-walnut loaf and crusty cinnamon-raisin bread, but there’s no bad time to visit. And if you arrive early enough, Low might just whip up some French toast for you.

Best BaKery

sasHa’s Baking Co. 105 West Ninth Street • 816-474-9935 sashasbakingco.com

Last year’s best new bakery is this year’s allaround champ, having only improved since a banner debut. Sasha’s Baking Co. already feels like a classic, with its gorgeous breads, the flakiest croissant in the city, and pastry chef Carter Holton’s sumptuous delicacies. Owner Michelle Schepmann gives Holton’s boisterous persona free rein, complementing it with her

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600 E 99th KCMO - (816) 942-3000 3123 Swope Pkwy KCMO - (816) 924-3474

Seafood & Chicken

Tasty Fish, Burgers,

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Phillys, Fried Chicken

own unwavering niceness. Together, they give this downtown operation real star quality without taking the spotlight off the food (including salads and sandwiches on a well-designed and -executed lunch menu). And that bakery case is its own little theater, colored by, say, elegantly composed squares of tropical fruit dacquoise or chocolate icebox-cake wedges, along with a Crayola parade of macarons. May the curtain never come down on this spectacular show.

Best PoP tart

SaSha’S Baking Co. 105 West Ninth Street • 816-474-9935 sashasbakingco.com

This will go down in local history as the year of the bakery-case Pop Tart. At least four operations either started putting out actual-pastry-dough versions of the junkfood classic or doubled down on existing efforts. We found most of these concoctions to be colorful, kitschy … and bland, as often happens when trend trumps execution. We resolved to spend our $4 on a latte or a scone the next time, until we yielded to temptation and ordered the Pop Tart at Sasha’s. This one. We like this one. Carter Holton, pastry chef at this unapologetically adorable downtown coffee shop and restaurant, has devised a crisp, pleasant-looking hand pie, done up with a thick shmear of white frosting and a beautiful constellation of rainbow sprinkles. The crust strikes just the right balance between crispy and flaky, and the sweet, plentiful filling delivers large chunks of real fruit. It’s big enough to share, but sharing isn’t why you order a Pop Tart.

Best Pastry steal

andre’S ConfiSerie SuiSSe 5018 Main • 816-561-3440 • andreschocolates.com

Nothing in Kansas City’s most venerable 64

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Never just one at Bonito Michoacan. bakery, café and wine bar ever gets out the door, you know, cheaply. But first of all, the pastries are worth a premium. And second, there’s a happy little window of opportunity each weekday to brag that you’ve earned yourself a true bargain. From 6:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as the proverbial sun sets on Andre’s, the remaining pastries, tortes, breakfast rolls and tiny sandwiches are 25 percent off. Which always stirs in us the temptation to buy everything, all of it — let’s go, bag it up. But until someone invents a way to take 25 percent off us, we’ll just pick one or two (OK, three) goodies and feel the jolt of sugary decadence laughing in our budget’s face.

Best (almost) Guilt-Free indulGence

dark-ChoColate Venezuelan SpiCe turtle ChriStopher elBow ChoColateS 1819 McGee • 816-842-1300 • elbowchocolates.com

Christopher Elbow has been a Kansas City staple since its 2003 bow. The renowned chocolatier’s Crossroads storefront is unassuming on the outside, but inside there’s no way to overlook the artistry. The handpainted chocolates are mini masterpieces, and their vision is bested only by the f lavors inside, which brilliantly combine such f lavors as champagne and passionfruit. There are so many choices for your box of chocolates — about 30 gorgeous pieces, some of which rotate by season — that it’s easy to walk away without indulging in the simpler-seeming treats here. Here’s how we avoid that mistake: We stick a little


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Andy’s Frozen Custard dawned. Post-it on our wallet that reads, “Do not, under any circumstances, pass over the Dark-Chocolate Venezuelan Spice Turtle. It is pure euphoria in a single inch-anda-half circle: expertly roasted pecans entwined with luxurious caramel coated in dark chocolate and topped with a heady blend of chili spice.” (We can write really, really small.) Seriously, this is not the Nestlé turtle you impulsively throw into your grocery cart at the checkout. This is a life-affirming taste of chocolate rendered as God and nature always intended.

Best turn on

Salted Oatmeal Cream Pie HeirlOOm Bakery & HeartH 401 East 63rd Street • 816-492-7259 • heirloomkc.com

We don’t want to be crass, but there’s something about Heirloom’s salted oatmeal cream pie that gets us all hot and bothered. Put it this way: Consider, for a moment, a heaping smear of airy buttercream sandwiched between two thick, tender, hockey-pucksize oatmeal cookies that are packed with pecans, dried fruit and cinnamon, and studded with sea salt. Each bite you take brings you closer to nirvana. The folks at Heirloom Bakery have taken the Little Debbie snack of your childhood and crafted something exquisite, something that transcends both age and contemporary pastry. This stroke of genius isn’t available every day, but here’s a pro tip: Call a couple of days ahead and place an order. Heirloom doesn’t really have a required minimum — you can order four of these babies if you want (you know, for “friends”) — but why hold back?

Best PLACe to BreAK uP

in KanSaS City! thanK yOu fOR vOting uS tOp 3 in

Hookah Bar, Mediterranean Food & Food Truck Thank you KC, for supporting our restaurant & food truck to serve the best middle eastern food in KC! the food truck is available for all occasions! for reservation call 816-756-2770

HOrizOnS Buffet ameriStar CaSinO 3200 North Ameristar Drive • 816-414-7000 ameristar.com/kansas-city

The things most important to a good hookup (dim lighting, intimate surroundings, quiet ambience, soft music) are exactly the things that poison a good breakup (unless you’re just doing it for the quick breakup sex). Let us be clear: Ending your relationship in public is an awful thing to do to somebody. (Then again, some people do it now with a tweet, so it’s all relative.) But if you’re going to plan a night out around a pulling of the plug, the Horizons Buffet is your place: a big, noisy dining room full of people who (a) you don’t know; (b) like your soon-to-be-ex, you probably won’t ever see again; and (c) have zero interest in making eye contact with anyone in the vicinity. Their gambling trumps your drama, and people hustle their sobbing selves out of casinos every day. And if your rejected partner thows a dish, well, replacing dishes is what buffets do. Also, the knives here aren’t very sharp.

431 Westport Rd, Kansas City MO • 816-756-2770

Famous for our Fajitas

Best LAte-night eAts

Helen’S Jad Bar & Grill 2002 Armour Road, North Kansas City

Margarita Mondays

816-471-4567 • helensjad.com

“The kitchen closes promptly at 2 a.m.,” say the bartenders at Helen’s, a North Kansas City fixture since Truman was in the White House. The food is basic bar cuisine — burgers, pizzas, wings — given competent, zero-flair treatment. The food, however, isn’t the reason that we love Helen’s. When someone asks us if there’s anyplace left in the metro where you can light up a cigarette after a night of carousing and keep smoking during your ill-advised, very late dinner, we can answer that yes, there is such a spot: Helen’s, which has two smoking decks that stay open well after the kitchen closes.

On the Rocks $199

TACO TUESDAY 99 5 Tacos $5 Choice of shredded chicken, ground beef, carnitas Not Valid With Other Promotions

Ask for our New Punch Card! casaagavelegends.com pitch.com

1340 Village W Pkwy • (913)328-0227 BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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FRESH EARLY BIRD LOCAL LUNCH BEAR SPECIAL BEER MON-FRI NOMINATED FOR BEST BURGER 11AM-2PM & LUNCH SPECIAL IN KC!

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KANSAS CITY’S NEWEST & BEST BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE

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4010 PENNSYLVANIA AVE #D | 816-216-7682 | GREENROOMKC.COM

Local. Quality. Service.

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HALLOWEEN

OCT 31ST

Enjoy the full Churrascaria experience in the dining room or order `a la carte in the bar and patio.

1 1 9 0 0 M e tc a l f Ave n u e O ve r l a n d P a r k , K S 6 6 2 1 3 913-283-9180 • espiritodosul.com

CELEBRATING 16YEARS PHILISTINES, HAUNTED CREEPYS & DJ THUNDERCUTZ


67 BEST QUIET HAPPY-HOUR SPOT

THE AMERICAN RESTAURANT 200 East 25th Street • 816-545-8001 theamericankc.com

We can’t emphasize the “quiet” part of this happy-hour spot enough. The American does happy hour from 5:30 to 7 p.m. WednesdaySaturday, and the tucked-away nature of the restaurant — located on the third floor of Hallmark’s Crown Center — doesn’t exactly make for a ton of foot traffic. In fact, the stillness of the American’s lounge area (where reservations aren’t necessary) can be almost distracting — until, of course, bartender Seth Shaver places in front of you one of his inventive cocktails. (He also makes all of his own syrups and shrubs.) And you won’t have to endure the silence for long, either. Most weeknights feature a live jazz set by a local artist or ensemble. It makes for the perfect hideaway spot if you prefer to drink classy cocktails in an elegant setting without being disturbed.

BEST POST-SHIFT DRINKING SPOT

MANIFESTO 1924 Main • 816-536-1325 theriegerkc.com/manifesto

By now, you know Manifesto — the sexy bar in the dark basement of downtown’s Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. You know you’ll see out-of-town guests and swanky couples sip and huddle into the wee hours every Friday and Saturday night. The room is electric, the kind of space that sends your weekend from awesome to unforgettable. But we might just prefer the weeknight model, which isn’t much less supercharged but is a bit less populated. It’s for those among us interested in getting familiar not with a date but with the extensive drink menu, without the distractions of high volume but with the luxury of a stool or two on either side of us. And the action need not wait till after prime time: The bar opens at 5 p.m. nightly (except Sundays). So if you’re looking for a cozy, classy spot to settle in after a long Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday shackled into your workaday prison, here’s your escape.

BEST OASIS OFF A BUSY STREET

BLVD TAVERN’S PATIO 320 Southwest Boulevard • 816-421-1023 blvdtavernkc.com

Usually on a weekday at 5 p.m., Southwest Boulevard is a vehicle-clogged headache that we avoid at all costs. But we have a solution to the rush hour: Skip out of work a few minutes early and park yourself at Blvd Tavern for happy hour. Grab a table on the patio, an alleyway sliver of a thing, with fewer than a dozen tables, that looks out at

Southwest Boulevard from behind a brightred, gilded gate. The high walls on either side of this charming hideaway mean that there’s usually a pleasant breeze, even during the muggiest weather. Watch the traffic pass by as you sip a cocktail and consider your good sense.

BEST CASH-ONLY DIVE

HARLING’S UPSTAIRS 3941-A Main • 816-531-2024

One of the best things about the Harling’s Upstairs bar is its history. This joint is a true Kansas City relic, having opened in the 1930s as the Falcon Club — an after-hours, members-only Irish social club. Legend has it that the bar was nicknamed the “Irish Gunrunners Club” — so-called because the owners would purportedly collect money for the IRA and send it back home. Those tall windows looking down upon Main Street and Westport Road? Blacked out — the members didn’t want to be recognized by outsiders. It wasn’t until late 1981 that ownership changed and the bar officially became Harling’s — named for a local rugby player named Billy Harling — and it became a hot spot for local politicians and a concert venue. At one point, the tiny kitchen adjoining the bar was in service. It isn’t that Harling’s has lost cosmetic luster over its halfcentury in business. It’s that — and we say this is a good thing, the right thing — this tavern, from its terrifying staircase to its leaky ceiling, surely never had cosmetic luster in the first place. You call it a liability. We call it charm. The beer is cold, the drinks are strong, and the bar service is discreet. Keeping true to that notion of privacy, Harling’s remains cash-only. If that doesn’t sound like the best first-date spot, we don’t know what does.

BEST CRUSHWORTHY BARTENDER (MALE)

DEREK BRANHAM THE RIEGER HOTEL GRILL & EXCHANGE 1924 Main • 816-471-2177 • theriegerkc.com

Derek Branham has a face you can trust. Like, we would totally open our front door and buy a vacuum or a Fuller Brush or some encyclopedias from him. We would approach him for help making life-altering decisions, like what neighborhood to buy a house in. He earns that trusting appreciation every time he works behind the bar at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, where he is that establishment’s most familiar face. Yet all we ask of him is that he make us a delicious beverage, and this he does with 100 jiggers of classic charm and easy style. He’s the kind of barman who can tell a good story and keep a bad secret. He’s genuinely empathetic, and he knows how to read people. Part therapist, part humorist and all-around good guy, Branham is our man — even if he has a (very lucky) girlfriend.

BEST OF KC 2015

DRINK BEST CRUSHWORTHY BARTENDER (FEMALE)

whether she’s delivering war stories from her years spent in the industry or relating the latest shenanigans of her cat, you’ll end up in stitches. Thompson’s deadpan delivery and arched eyebrow have long won our heart, one tumbler at a time.

MARGOT THOMPSON THE FARMHOUSE 300 Delaware • 816-569-6032 eatatthefarmhouse.com

The first thing you need to know about Margot Thompson is that she’s funny as hell. Hers is a sharp-eyed, ferocious brand of humor — the kind you know could easily be used for evil should you cross her and make her an enemy. But at the Farmhouse, where Thompson is head bartender, you’re on the safe side of her barbed wit. There, you sip one of Thompson’s creative cocktails and coax a story from her. She has plenty, and

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BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BARTENDERS

JAKE HAYDE AND JESSIE BROWN THE BELFRY 1532 Grand • 816-471-7111 • thebelfrylounge.com

When it’s quitting time, we retreat somewhere with good beer and attentive bartenders. Many days, that means a walk over to

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chef Celina Tio’s Belfry lounge. The chalkboard beer menu usually tells us all we need to know about what’s on tap, but if there’s ever a question, bartenders Jake Hayde and Jessie Brown are quick with an answer — or a sample taste. They’ll even let you know as soon as a new beer gets tapped. If you want to chat, they’ll chat. If you want to drink (or work on your laptop), they’ll leave you to it. But these two know how to command a bar, and they’re a big reason why we love bellying up at the Belfry.

Best Chai tea latte

Chai Shai 651 East 59th Street • 816-260-5203 chaishaikc.com

The flavor of a chai tea latte — or masala chai — can be difficult to describe, lying somewhere between “pumpkin pie” and “it tastes like fall.” Depending on where you get your chai, it may contain any number of spices: cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seed, black peppercorns, cloves, coriander, or fresh ginger, just to name a few. Chai Shai is our favorite place to sip this traditional beverage, which comes either hot or over ice. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try their pink chai, or Kashmiri chai, which gains its unique color through the specialized process of brewing green tea with milk. It has a rich, buttery texture, and sipping a cup in the restaurant’s dark, cozy dining room is a fine way to spend a chilly evening.

Best shot of espresso

Quay Coffee 412 Delaware • 816-471-7277 • quaycoffee.com

Quay Coffee doesn’t roast its own beans, but that’s OK. For one thing, the powers that be in this River Market coffeehouse choose very fine beans from roasters near and far. For another, 68

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The hours go by easily at Thou Mayest. these people know how to pull a phenomenal shot of espresso — flawless, we are telling you. And even in a coffee-centric town such as this, that’s a rarity. You sidle up to the handsome wooden bar, and a friendly barista takes your order. Does that barista wear an oh-so-trendy waxed mustache? Very probably. Is he more than happy to answer all of your caffeine questions without a trace of hipster condescension? Very definitely. You order a shot of espresso, and your new friend gives you two options: a seasonal Oddly Correct offering or an espresso blend from a featured out-of-town roaster — usually a premium import, such as Intelligentsia out of Chicago or Dogwood Coffee from Minneapolis. You make your selection, and the barista pulls the shot for exactly the right number of seconds. He pours it into a demitasse, and the crema is so beautiful, it would make Luigi Bezzera weep little brown tears. A small glass of chilled sparkling water sits alongside your espresso; sip it to cleanse your palate before you taste the coffee, and then after your first sip, finish the sparkling — the carbonation helps coat your senses in the flavor notes of the espresso, so that you can truly experience the diverse notes in the blend. Yeah, that’s some nerdy shit, but the people at Quay have taught us that the nerdy way is the proper way — the best way — to enjoy a stunning espresso shot.

Best friendly Coffee shop

CrowS Coffee 304 East 51st Street • crowscoffee.com

If you’re hellbent on having a bad day, then you should probably avoid Crows Coffee. Since opening last year, the classy-yet-comfortable shop has filled the large shoes left vacant by Muddy’s in 2011, once again keeping UMKC


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students and faculty adequately caffeinated. And everyone who works here is so damn nice. If you want to chat about the Royals (several baristas are big fans), find just the right breakfast sandwich, or ask a million questions about the house-made chai tea latte, someone stands ready to indulge you with a smile and a sense of humor, no matter how long the line.

Best Coffee shop in WhiCh to Waste an entire afternoon

Thou MayesT 419 East 18 Street • 816-471-7333 • thoumayest.com

Occupying a two-story space in the Crossroads, Thou Mayest has become an area favorite since opening in August 2014. When you want to work, relax or just soak up the sun, there’s a spot here for you among the tables and the comfortable couches or on the west-facing patio that gets bathed in afternoon light. The space has no “bad seats” or awkward, middle-of-the-room tables. Oh, and the coffee is great, too. Thou Mayest roasts its own beans in-house and offers pastries from Upper Crust and Heirloom Bakery. And it isn’t just a place to go wake yourself up. Thou Mayest can slow you back down again, too, with its selection of wine, beer and cocktails; recently, a sign announced, “Soup of the day: whiskey.” Exactly. Before you know it, the whole afternoon will have squeaked by, and you’ll need to head over to neighboring Grinders for a bite.

Best Beer festival

Parkville Microbrew FesT parkvillemicrobrewfest.com

Beer-festival season doesn’t officially begin until the Parkville Microbrew Fest. The April 70

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Manifesto isn’t always so dark. afternoon in English Landing Park feels like a return to summer camp — if summer camp revolved around really good beer. The lineup is always a great mix of local, national and regional breweries. Don’t want to drive to Iowa? Confluence and 515 Brewing Co. are here. No desire to go to Topeka? Get your Blind Tiger fix. Mark your calendars: Beerfest season officially starts Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Best neW Boulevard Beer

The calling boulevard.com

Kansas City’s biggest brewery wasn’t playing around when it invented the Calling. The yearround Smokestack Series IPA arrived in early February, and bars and restaurants quickly found themselves tapped out. It’s easy to see why when you read the blend of hops that went into the Calling: Amarillo, Bravo, Cascade, Equinox, Galaxy, Simcoe, Mosaic and Topaz. A beer like this calls for a tulip glass, the better to savor the fruity aroma. Take a sip and revel in the citrusy, hoppy punch. The supply has long since stabilized, but demand — at least anywhere we’re drinking beer — remains high.

Best limited-release Beers

cinder block brewery 110 East 18th Avenue, North Kansas City 816-298-6555 • cinderblockbrewery.com

The foundation of beer nerdom is the limited stuff: the short runs and the barrel-aged beers. Cinder Block makes these — and, over


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DRINK enough reason to play Kevin McAllister, the thought of an Ursa Major vertical is your ultimate cue to go all Home Alone. A lovely Ursa Major just for you.

Best Go-BiG Move

zach bauman

taLLgraSS brewing Co.

Derek Branham kills it at the Rieger. the past year, made them better than just about any other outfit. There was Black Squirrel, a Russian imperial stout aged 13 months in whiskey barrels. And Collapse Barleywine was pure candy — and pure trouble, at 12.5 percent ABV. Anytime we saw a tap handle for the aptly named beer, aged 14 months in 10-year-old brandy barrels, it was all but impossible not to order one. Oh, and there was Lusus Naturae (aka freak of nature), the sour ale that spent nine months in wine barrels with peaches and apricots and led to untold sunburns at Boulevardia as drinkers patiently waited for a taste. We’re already blocking off time in our calendar to belly up when Cinder Block cracks open a barrel.

Best All-locAl collABorAtion releAse

Station to Station Bier Station • 120 East Gregory Boulevard

Best reAl-life silver Bullet

amtrak to LupuLin CarnivaL lupulincarnival.com

OK, St. Louis, we do not like your baseball team, not one bit. But we’ll admit it when one of your beers gets to us. No, not the beechwood-aged stuff supposedly made the hard way. We’re talking about the upstarts — the stuff you get to try when you hit 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s Lupulin Carnival. In late March, we hopped an Amtrak to STL for the festival — drinking Boulevard cans the whole way. When we arrived, Lupulin left us sufficiently buzzed and impressed. Four Hands knows how to throw a party — ferris wheel, you guys — and it knows how to make an IPA (the War Hammer Imperial IPA release: hop happiness). It’s the best excuse we can remember for a trip to the Lou. We’re already planning to ride the rails to Lupulin in 2016.

Best reAson to stick Around for the holidAys

Martin City Brewing Co. • 500 East 135th Street

urSa major reLeaSe mCCoy’S pubLiC HouSe

816-268-2222 • martincitybrewingcompany.com

4057 Pennsylvania • 816-960-0866

816-548-3870 • bierstation.com

Bier Station owner John Couture spared no expense for his bottle shop and beer hall’s first collaboration brew, Station to Station Berliner Weisse, made with the gang at Martin City Brewing Co. Couture paired the tart and refreshing low-alcohol beer with f lavored syrups — Woodruff was by far our favorite — as served in Germany. But the real score was the goblet-style Berliner Weisse glass emblazoned with the Station to Station name. Those of us lucky enough to get one felt like kings and queens, even if we were drinking our beer through straws.

mccoyspublichouse.com

Home for the holidays seems like a good idea — until you realize what you’re leaving behind. If you’re skipping town during the release of McCoy’s Public House’s Ursa Major Russian imperial stout, you may want to reconfigure those travel plans. The stout, named for the constellation and made to mark the winter solstice, is that good. And it sells out … fast. Last year, 750 ml bottles of the beer, which had been aged three months in Dark Horse Distillery rye and bourbon barrels, disappeared in a couple of hours. If getting a bottle wasn’t

Tallgrass Brewing Co. founder Jeff Gill made a $7.5 million gamble when he moved his brewery into a 60,000-square-foot production facility in Manhattan, Kansas. “We can brew about a week’s worth of production at the old place in a 24-hour period here,” Gill told us. Tallgrass is now the Sunflower State’s largest brewery, and it’s already making life better for beer nerds. Without the move, we’d likely not get to sip 16-Bit DPA or Wooden Rooster, the brewery’s Velvet Rooster Belgian tripel, aged in rye-whiskey barrels. “The biggest thing that we’re going to be doing over the next two years is our Explorer Series,” Gill told us. “It’s the same thing that I did back in my garage: What sort of cool flavors can I think up and then create?” Gill now has a bigger garage with more toys to play with — and make tasty brews.

Best reAson to visit lee’s suMMit

tHe w bar 6-1/2 Third Street, Lee’s Summit 816-287-0000 • thew.bar

In proper modern-day speakeasy fashion, the W Bar is tucked between two mom-and-pop businesses on an innocuous street in downtown Lee’s Summit. The slim door is hardly visible, and it opens to a dark, steep stairway. But the hike to the W is worth the effort. The bar itself is styled in Prohibition-era fashion, with dark wood, heavy stools and warm light. It’s an impressive reveal. But the real draw of the W Bar is the menu. Bartender Mike Strohm has crafted an adventurous list accentuated by homemade tonics, syrups and vermouths. The drinks at the W are as farm-to-table as they come, partly because Strohm has a sustainable view. This is also a place that requires a modicum of patience: You might wait 15 minutes before Strohm can present your drink. But what a sweet reward.

Best tAste of GerMAny

kC bier Co. 310 West 79th Street • 816-214-8691 • kcbier.com

The folks at KC Bier Co. are serious about German beers — and lederhosen. The former, we’ll rally behind. The latter, eh, still not there. But this is a land of lagers that we’re happy to visit anytime and gulp down the Helles and Dunkel and any bock they put before us. And we’re most happy when doing it on the spacious back patio. Not every day can feel like Oktoberfest, but you can get close with a trip to Waldo.

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Best new neiGhBor

torn LabeL brewing Co. 1708 Campbell • tornlabel.com

On a hot (and we mean hot) Saturday in July, Torn Label Brewing Co. opened its longawaited tasting room to the public. Capacity inside is about 30 people, so a line formed in front of the wooden stairs leading to the production brewery. Was a 30-minute wait in the blazing heat worth it? Unequivocally, yes. In Torn Label’s short existence, Rafi Chaudry and Travis Moore have brewed some of the city’s most interesting beers: Monk & Honey (Belgian-American table beer with Missouri honey) and Alpha Pale Ale (session pale ale) have quickly become favorites. With the taproom now open, expect to taste lots of newly inspired creations.

Best Beer-flAvored spAM

gomer’S midtown 3838 Broadway • 816-931-4170 • gomersmidtown.com

Thanks a lot, Gomer’s. You’ve made us do something we hate: Mark an e-mail sender “not spam.” Specifically, we’ve marked the e-mails you people in midtown send us every week — the notifications of affordable wine for drinking and stockpiling, the reminders about deals on certain elixirs that lubricate our swollen lush hearts, that stuff. Oh, and especially the beer e-mails. What brewer or distributor haven’t you Gomerians set up during Friday rush hour to pour samples and further complicate our delicate selection process? It’s too much, you guys, this constant stream of good deals and new releases. It’s too much, and, frankly, we’re all a little tired of it. Or so we thought when we first toggled on the spam filter. But then we missed the notes, missed the deals, missed knowing what new labels had arrived. Yeah, yeah, we missed you, Gomer’s e-mails. So, with a keystroke, we welcomed you back. And visited Broadway more than ever.

Best dessert Beers

big rip brewing Co. 216 East Ninth Avenue, North Kansas City 816-866-0747 • bigripbrewing.com

Do we have a sweet tooth? We have sweet teeth, plural. But how do you achieve satisfaction while imbibing? Easy: You go to Big Rip Brewing Co., which has just about mastered the art of the dessert beer. Hungry for cherry cheesecake but want a beer? Yeah, they’ve done that — a kölsch-style beer with more than three gallons of organic cherry juice topped off with vanilla in every keg. No fork needed. Or maybe you want a cinnamon roll. Hello, Doorkeeper Cinnamon Roll Porter. Cookie? Boom: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie brown ale. Is this a brewery or a bakery? Or is it something better than either on its own?

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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PEOPLE & PLACES bESt Of kC 2015

Best fouNtAiN

Best AffordABle NeighBorhood

1. Brookside 2. Waldo 3. Hyde Park

Best ApArtmeNts

1. Union Hill Place 2. Mac Properties 3. Professional Building Lofts

Best locAl Blog

1. Recommended Daily 2. Kansas City Moms Blog 3. Tony’s Kansas City

Best locAl hero

Best BuildiNg

1. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts 2. Union Station 3. Power & Light Building

Best cAtegory to Add Next yeAr

1. Best Free Activity 2. Best Nachos 3. Best Arcade Bar 4. Best Water

Best comediAN

1. George Brett 2. Guy who runs around in Superman costume 3. Lazlo

Best locAl rAdio show

1. The Church of Lazlo 2. Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz 3. Dana & Parks 4. The Johnny Dare Morning Show

Best locAl tV News

1. Danny Boi 2. Anna May Smith 3. Mike Baldwin 4. Brad Ellis 5. Patrick Moore

1. Gary Lezak, KSHB Channel 41 2. Kris Ketz, KMBC Channel 9 3. Christa Dubill, KSHB Channel 41

Best culturAl NeighBorhood

1. Crossroads Arts District 2. West 39th Street/Volker 3. West Side

Best locAl tV News stAtioN

1. KMBC Channel 9 2. KSHB Channel 41 3. WDAF Channel 4

Best dAy trip

1. Weston, Missouri 2. Lawrence, Kansas 3. Omaha, Nebraska

Best missouri politiciAN

1. Shawnee Mission Dog Park 2. Penn Valley Park 3. Wayside Waifs Bark Park

1. Dirty Dorothy 2. Daisy Buckët 3. Ron Megee 4. Melinda Ryder

1. Paul Davis 2. Kevin Yoder 3. Sam Brownback

1. Liberty Memorial 2. Union Station 3. The Scout

1. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 2. Country Club Plaza 3. The National WWI Museum/Liberty Memorial

Best drAg performer

Best kANsAs politiciAN

Best lANdmArk

Best AreA AttrActioN

Best dog pArk

1. J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain 2. Neptune Fountain at the Plaza 3. Meyer Circle Sea Horse Fountain

1. Sly James 2. Claire McCaskill 3. Jay Nixon

Best Nightlife NeighBorhood

1. Westport 2. Crossroads Arts District 3. Waldo

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Best oVerAll NeighBorhood

1. Brookside 2. West 39th Street/Volker 3. Waldo

Best pArk

1. Jacob L. Loose Park 2. Shawnee Mission Park 3. Swope Park

Best plAce for A cheAp dAte

1. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 2. Crossroads KC at Grinders 3. Loose Park

Best plAce to fiNd fAmous people

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Kauffman Stadium 3. Country Club Plaza

Best plAce for A first dAte

1. Country Club Plaza 2. Up-Down KC 3. Extra Virgin

Best plAce to meet siNgle meN

1. Power & Light District 2. Up-Down KC 3. Missie B’s

Best plAce to meet siNgle womeN

1. Westport 2. Power & Light District 3. Tinder 4. Up-Down KC 5. Harpo’s

Best plAce to tAke out-of-towNers

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Country Club Plaza 3. The National World War I Museum/ Liberty Memorial

Best puBlic gArdeN

1. Powell Gardens 2. Loose Park Rose Garden 3. The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

Best rAdio persoNAlity

1. Lazlo 2. Johnny Dare 3. Afentra

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k a n s a s c i t y r o ya l s

bEST Of kC 2015

Salvy before the deluge. Best startup

1. Charlie Hustle 2. Rawxies 3. RFP365

Best suBurB

1. Prairie Village, Kansas 2. Overland Park, Kansas 3. Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Best thing that’s Changed in KC in the past Year

1. The Royals winning 2. Hometown pride/ quality of life 3. Streetcar

Best twitter personalitY

1. @Lazlothebuzz 2. @Jeremy_Danner 3. @KCMOwater

Best View

1. From the observation deck of Liberty Memorial 2. KCMO skyline 3. The Scout at Penn Valley Park

Best weatherCaster

1. Gary Lezak 2. Bryan Busby 3. Karli Ritter 4. Kalee Dionne

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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SPORTS & REC Best BiKe trail

1. Shawnee Mission Park 2. Trolley Track Trail 3. Indian Creek Bike/ Hike Trail

Best Bowling alleY

1. Mission Bowl 2. Pinstripes 3. Ward Parkway Lanes

Best Boxing CluB/gYm

1. Title Boxing 2. Bodyfit KC 3. 9 Round

Best Campsite

1. Smithville Lake 2. Longview Lake 3. Watkins Mill State Park

Best Casino

1. Ameristar 2. Harrah’s 3. Argosy 4. Hollywood

Best Chiefs plaYer

1. Jamaal Charles 2. Eric Berry 3. Justin Houston

Best College athlete

1. Perry Ellis III, Kansas 2. Maty Mauk, Missouri 3. Frank Mason III, Kansas

Best College BasKetBall CoaCh

1. Bill Self, Kansas 2. Kim Anderson, Missouri 3. Kareem Richardson, UMKC

Best College footBall CoaCh

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State 2. Gary Pinkel, Missouri 3. David Beaty, Kansas

Best fitness Boot Camp

1. Crossroads Bootcamp 2. Fusion Fitness 3. Fresh & Fit — Glaschek Fitness

Best fitness Class teaCher

1. David Littlewood, Bodyfit KC 2. Coleen Shaw-Voeks, the Port KC Fitness 3. James Glaschek, Glaschek Fitness

Best golf Course

1. Swope Memorial Golf Course 2. The National Golf Club of Kansas City 3. Falcon Ridge Golf Club


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READERS’ CHOICES Best LocaL Gym Fitness cLuB

Best coLLeGe

1. Woodside Health & Tennis Club 2. City Gym 3. The Gym KC

1. University of Kansas 2. University of MissouriKansas City 3. University of Missouri 4. Kansas State University

Best LocaL KicKBaLL LeaGue

Best comic-BooK store

1. KC Crew 2. BigBalls Kickball 3. Kansas City Kickball Club

1. Clint’s Comics 2. Vintage Stock 3. Elite Comics

Best mma Dojo

Best consiGnment store

1. Krav Maga KC 2. Glory MMA & Fitness 3. AKKA Karate USA 4. American Top Team HD

1. Bike MS 2. Tour de Bier 3. Critical Mass

Best orGanizeD Foot race/run

1. Wayside Waifs Strut With Your Mutt 2. Trolley Run 3. Hospital Hill Run 4. Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon

Best PersonaL trainer

1. Jason Belz 2. Coleen Shaw-Voeks 3. David Vava Littlewood

Best PLace to shoot PooL

1. Side Pockets 2. Sharks Restaurant & Billiards 3. Brass Rail Sports Bar & Grill

Best PLace to throw Darts

1. Side Pockets 2. Sharks Restaurant & Billiards 3. Chez Charlie

Best PLace to watch coLLeGe sPorts

1. Johnny’s Tavern (Power & Light District) 2. Tanner’s Bar & Grill (Waldo) 3. Westport Ale House

ashley tebbe

Best orGanizeD BiKe riDe

1. Plato’s Closet 2. Arizona Trading Co. 3. Revival Home Furnishings

Best Dentist

Best PLace to watch Kc Pro sPorts

1. Kauffman Stadium 2. Arrowhead Stadium 3. Johnny’s Tavern (Power & Light District)

Best PuBLic PooL

1. Prairie Village Swimming Pool 2. Black Bob Bay 3. Fairway Swimming Pool

Best roLLer GirL

1. Hittie Kittie 2. Lady Killshot 3. Mayhem Myers 4. Annie Maul 5. Rita Ploy

Best royaLs PLayer

1. Salvador Perez 2. Lorenzo Cain 3. Eric Hosmer

Best sPortinG Kc PLayer

1. Matt Besler 2. Graham Zusi 3. Dom Dwyer

Best sPortscaster

1. Denny Matthews 2. Rex Hudler 3. Ryan Lefebvre

Best sPorts raDio BroaDcaster

1. Denny Matthews 2. Danny Parkins 3. Soren Petro

Best sPortswriter

1. Joe Posnanski 2. Sam Mellinger 3. Jason Whitlock 4. Andy McCullough

Best Venue

1. Kauffman Stadium 2. Sporting Park 3. Arrowhead Stadium

Best yoGa instructor

1. Grace Duckworth, Bodyfit 2. Lauren Leduc, Karma Tribe Yoga 3. Sharon Prothe, Fit Formula

Best yoGa stuDio

1. Westport Yoga 2. Bodyfit 3. Maya Yoga

GOODS & SERVICES Best auction house

1. KC Auction & Appraisal Co. 2. Equip-Bid Auctions 3. Andrew Turner Auctions/ Kansas City Estate Sale Services

The Plaza never goes out of style. Best aDVertisinG aGency

1. VML 2. Barkley 3. Go Local Interactive

Best aDuLt store

1. Cirilla’s 2. 7th Heaven 3. Ray’s Over 21

Best antique store

1. River Market Antique Mall 2. Good Ju Ju 3. Urban Mining 4. Bella Patina

Best attorney

1. Tom Ralston 2. Kirk Holman 3. Don Simon

Best auto DeaLershiP

1. Hendrick 2. Jay Wolfe 3. Dick Smith Ford

Best BanK

1. CommunityAmerica Credit Union 2. Commerce Bank 3. UMB Bank

Best BarBershoP

1. Chop Tops 2. Fifth Street Barbershop 3. Buffalo Mane Barber Shop

Best BeD anD BreaKFast

1. Southmoreland on the Plaza 2. Oak Street Mansion 3. Inn on Crescent Lake

Best BicycLe shoP

1. Volker Bicycles 2. Family Bicycles 3. Velo +

Best BoDy PiercinG

1. Freaks on Broadway 2. Irezumi Tattoo 3. Supernatural Body Piercing

Best car wash

1. Waterway 2. Rainbow Car Wash 3. Green Lantern

Best chiroPractor

1. Kansas City Chiropractic 2. Center of Life Chiropractic 3. Michelle Robin

Best ciGar store

1. Outlaw Cigar Co. 2. Fidel’s Cigar Shop 3. Diebel’s Sportsmens Gallery

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1. The Smile Salon & Day Spa 2. John Humphrey 3. Ellen Sheridan 4. Brian S. Sutton

Best Farmers marKet

1. City Market Farmers Market 2. Overland Park Farmers Market 3. Brookside Farmers Market

Best FLorist

1. Studio Dan Meiners 2. The Fiddly Fig 3. Trapp and Co.

Best Grocery store

1. Hy-Vee 2. Trader Joe’s 3. Cosentino’s 4. Hen House

Best hair remoVaL

1. Beauty Brands (Sara Ivancic) 2. European Wax Center 3. Sassy Face Esthetics (Summer Ambroz)

Best hair saLon

1. Chop Tops 2. Skyline Downtown Salon 3. Salon Halo 4. The Hair Parlour

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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Thanks for Nominating The Peanut:

BEST BEST BEST BEST WINGS

BAR FOOD

DIVE BAR

NEIGHBORHOOD BAR

KANSAS CITY’S FAMOUS WORLD CLASS WINGS 5 METRO LOCATIONS

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Wingerlicking Good!

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

WWW.PEANUTKC.COM

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Thank you Kansas City for voting us BEST TATTOO SHOP


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bEst Of kC 2015

READERs’ CHOICEs

Best Hairstylist

Best plaCe to Buy an engagement ring

1. Molly McPheter, Roots & Branches 2. Jamie Latta, Salon Halo 3. Tiffany Franklin, Salon Halo 4. Travis Crall, Silver Screen Salon

1. Tivol 2. Meierotto Jewelers 3. Shane Co.

Best plaCe to sHop green

1. City Market Farmers Market 2. Sprouts 3. Whole Foods 4. Good Ju Ju

Best Head sHop

Best HealtH Food store

1. Sprouts 2. Whole Foods 3. Nature’s Own

Best HookaH lounge

1. Jerusalem Café 2. Hookah Haven 3. Sinbad’s Café & Hookah Lounge

Best Hospital

1. Children’s Mercy Hospital 2. University of Kansas Hospital 3. St. Luke’s Hospital

Best Hotel

1. The Raphael Hotel 2. Hotel Phillips 3. Hotel Sorella 4. 816 Hotel

Best indie CraFter

1. Farmers Apothecary 2. Tara Tonsor Lost & Found 3. Lu and Ed

Best landsCaper

1. Benjamin Lawn & Landscape 2. The Greensman 3. Philly Lily 4. Beasley Greens

Best liquor store

1. Gomer’s Midtown 2. Lukas Liquors Superstore 3. Mike’s Wine & Spirits

Best pHotograpHer For Hire

N e l s o N at k i N s m u s e u m

1. 7th Heaven 2. It’s a Beautiful Day 3. Cooper’s Broadway Tobacco 4. It’s a Dream

1. Marissa Cribbs Photography 2. Nicole Bissey 3. Sara Lewis

Best loCal aCCessories designer

1. Sandlot Goods 2. Jennifer Janesko 3. Owl + Mouse Textile Designs

Best loCal Bookstore

1. Rainy Day Books 2. Half Price Books 3. Prospero’s Books 4. Reading Reptile

Best loCal ClotHing designer

1. Charlie Hustle 2. Baldwin 3. Normal Human

Best loCal eyewear store

1. Brookside Optical 2. Fairway Eye Center 3. Romanelli Optix

Best loCal Home FurnisHings store

1. Nebraska Furniture Mart 2. Nell Hills 3. Restoration Emporium 4. Coveted Home

Best loCal Jewelry maker

1. Jennifer Janesko 2. Faith Evangeline, Evil Pawn Jewelry 3. Lily Dawson Designs

Best loCal Jewelry store

1. Tivol 2. Meierotto Jewelers 3. The Jeweled Gypsy

Best loCal men’s ClotHing store

1. The Bunker 2. Baldwin KC 3. Houndstooth

Best loCal nursery and garden Center

1. Family Tree Nursery 2. Suburban Lawn & Garden 3. Soil Service

Best loCal pet grooming

1. Brookside Barkery & Bath 2. Doggie Style Bowtique 3. Simply Grooming by Gia

Best loCal goods

1. The Bunker 2. Urban Provisions General Store 3. Normal Human

Best loCal sHoe store

1. Bob Jones Shoes 2. The Bunker 3. Run 816

Your priceless date at the Nelson Best loCal women’s ClotHing Boutique

1. Donna’s Dress Shop 2. The Bunker 3. Retro Vixen 4. Gus Boutique

1. Dog Pawz 2. Pooches Paradise Daycare & Resort 3. Woof’s Play & Stay

1. Boulevardia 2. Front Flip 3. Middle of the Map 4. The Guides

Best plaCe to Buy a musiCal instrument

Best maniCure pediCure

1. Polished 2. Oak Nails 3. Hoopla

1. Meyer Music 2. Big Dude’s Music City 3. KC Music

Best massage

Best pet retail

1. Massage Envy Spa 2. Spa on Penn 3. Imperial Foot Care

Best motorCyCle dealer

1. Gail’s Harley-Davidson 2. Worth Harley-Davidson 3. Rawhide Harley-Davidson

1. Ikea 2. Urban Provisions General Store 3. The Jeweled Gypsy 4. Run 816

1. Wayside Waifs 2. KC Pet Project 3. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City

Best pet Boarding/ pet dayCare

Best loCally designed app

Best new retail store

Best nonproFit

1. Wayside Waifs’ Whiskers & Wags Outfitters 2. Brookside Barkery & Bath 3. Land of Paws

Best plaCe to adopt a pet

1. Wayside Waifs 2. KC Pet Project 3. Great Plains SPCA

Best plaCe to Buy a sCooter

1. Gail’s Harley-Davidson 2. Scooter World 3. M&M Motorsports

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Best plastiC surgeon

1. Richard A. Korentager 2. Carol Ann Aylward 3. Levi J. Young

Best plumBer

1. Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, A/C & Rooter 2. A.B. May 3. Nick Triano Plumbing 4. Morgan Miller Plumbing 5. Mr. Plumber 6. Kevin Ginnings Plumbing

Best real estate agent

1. Stacy Porto 2. AJ Gentry 3. Sharon Aubuchon

Best reCord store

1. Mills Record Co. 2. Vinyl Renaissance & Audio 3. Josey Records 4. Records with Merritt

Best smoke sHop

1. 7th Heaven 2. Outlaw Cigar Co. 3. Cooper’s Broadway Tobacco

Best spa

1. Bijin Salon & Spa 2. Spa on Penn 3. Milagro Midwestern Spa & Collective

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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78

KANSAS CITY DEBUT

OF AWARD-WINNING

bEST of kc 2015

PLAYWRIGHT!

THE UNBREAKABLE BONDS OF BROTHERHOOD

by TARELL

ALVIN MCCRANEY 14 OCT 08 NOV-

DIRECTOR

MYKEL HILL 816.531.7529 3828 MAIN, KCMO UNICORNTHEATRE.ORG

Are you

Best tattoo artist

1. Whispering Danny, Exile Tattoo 2. Jessie Hopeless, Exile Tattoo 3. Jeremy Latta, Exile Tattoo

Best tattoo shop

INFORMED?

1. Whispering Danny’s Exile Tattoo 2. The Mercy Seat 3. Irezumi Tattoo

Best Vape shop

1. KC Vapes 2. Waldo Vapes 3. 816 Vapor 4. Vapur

Best Veterinarian

1. Fairway Animal Hospital 2. Kansas City Veterinary Care 3. FMA Animal Hospital

Best Vintage Clothing store

1. Donna’s Dress Shop 2. Boomerang 3. Wonderland

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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Best Comedy CluB

Boulevardia: back strong

Best Wedding Venue

1. Loose Mansion 2. The Guild 3. Dark Horse Distillery

Best Wine shop

1. Cellar Rat 2. Gomer’s 3. Underdog Wine Co.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Best art FestiVal

1. Crossroads First Fridays 2. Plaza Art Fair 3. Brookside Art Annual

Best art spaCe

1. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 2. Crossroads 3. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art 4. Boom Interactive Multimedia & Mod 5. The Bauer 6. LOA

Best BeneFit party

1. Jazzoo 2. Wayside Waifs Fur Ball 3. Bloom

Best Blues Venue

1. Knuckleheads Saloon 2. BB’s Lawnside BBQ 3. The Blue Room

1. Stanford & Sons 2. Improv KC 3. KC Improv’s Kick Comedy Theater

Best ConCert

1. Buzz Beach Ball at Sporting Park 2. Rolling Stones at Arrowhead Stadium 3. Kenny Chesney at Arrowhead Stadium

Best Fashion eVent

1. Kansas City Fashion Week 2. West 18th Street Fashion Show 3. Fashion for a Cause

Best FireWorks display

1. KC Symphony Celebration at the Station 2. Kauffman Stadium Sky Show 3. KC Riverfest at Berkley Riverfront Park

Best improV sketCh troupe

1. KC Improv/ Kick Comedy Theater 2. Comedy City 3. Lucha Raptor

Best Jazz artist

1. Mark Lowery 2. Millie Edwards 3. Hermon Mehari


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READERs’ CHOICEs Best Jazz event

Best BarBecue BeeF

1. 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival 2. Jazz in the Woods 3. Saturday Jazz Brunch at the Phoenix 4. Prairie Village Jazz Festival

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 3. Q39

Best BarBecue chicken

Best Jazz venue

1. Green Lady Lounge 2. The Phoenix 3. The Blue Room

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 3. Q39

Best JukeBox

chris mullins

1. Harry’s Country Club 2. The Ship 3. Dave’s Stagecoach Inn 4. Chez Charlie

Best karaoke

1. Hamburger Mary’s 2. OffKey 3. Red Balloon

Best Live theater

1. Starlight Theatre 2. Kansas City Repertory Theatre 3. The Living Room Theatre 4. Unicorn Theatre

Best LocaL actor

1. Ron Megee 2. Seth Macchi 3. Kenny Personett 4. Ben Auxier

Best LocaL actress

1. Katie Gilchrist 2. Vanessa Severo 3. Cinnamon Schultz 4. Ashley Otis

Best LocaL aLBum

1. Battles, Beautiful Bodies 2. Ripe Off the Vine, Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City Jazz Band 3. Guitar in Hand, Kasey Rausch 4. Truly Me, Lauren Anderson 5. The Curse of Deco Auto, Deco Auto

Best LocaL Band

1. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear 2. Making Movies 3. The Greeting Committee

Best LocaL FestivaL

1. Boulevardia 2. Kansas City Irish Fest 3. Middle of the Map

Best LocaL FiLm FestivaL

1. Kansas City FilmFest 2. Middle of the Map 3. Panic Fest

Best LocaLLy made movie

1. The House on Pine Street 2. Call Girl 3. Nailbiter

Best LocaL record LaBeL

1. Strange Music 2. Little Class Records 3. Intelligent Sound

Best LocaL 7-inch singLe

1. Radkey’s “Feed My Brain” 2. Chris Hazleton’s “Boogaloo 7” 3. Rev Gusto 4. Bummer

Best LocaL theater company

1. Kansas City Repertory Theatre 2. The Living Room Theatre 3. Late Night Theatre

Best LocaL visuaL artist

1. Scribe 2. Jeremy Collins 3. Ryan Wilks

Best movie theater

1. Alamo Drafthouse 2. AMC Ward Parkway 3. Screenland Armour

Best music FestivaL

1. Middle of the Map 2. Buzz Beach Ball 3. Rockfest

Best museum

1. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 2. The National World War I Museum and Memorial 3. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Best new music venue

1. The Tank Room 2. Westport Saloon 3. Uptown Arts Bar

Best open mic

1. Knuckleheads Saloon 2. Uptown Arts Bar 3. Westport Saloon

Best outdoor music venue

1. Starlight Theatre 2. Crossroads KC at Grinders 3. Knuckleheads Saloon

Radkey’s only Rainy Day is the bookstore. Best perForming arts group

1. Quixotic 2. Late Night Theatre 3. Lucia Aerial Performing Arts

Best poet/ spoken word artist

1. Jeanette Powers 2. Keith L. Bohannon 3. Jen Harris

Best photographer

Best radio station

1. 96.5 the Buzz 2. 90.9 the Bridge 3. KKFI 90.1

1. Jenna Huffman 2. Todd Zimmer 3. Nicole Bissey

Best trivia night

Best pLace to dance

1. Westport Flea Market 2. Waldo Pizza 3. RecordBar 4. Lew’s Grill & Bar

1. Missie B’s 2. The Levee Bar & Grill 3. Riot Room 4. Shark Bar

Best pLace to hear Live music

1. Crossroads KC at Grinders 2. Knuckleheads Saloon 3. RecordBar

Best pLay

1. King Lear, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival 2. An Illiad, Kansas City Repertory Theatre 3. A Very Late Night Christmas, Late Night Theatre

Best puBLic art

1. First Fridays in the Crossroads Art District 2. Shuttlecocks at NelsonAtkins Museum of Art 3. Art in the Loop

FOOD Best Bakery

1. Dolce 2. McLain’s Bakery 3. Heirloom Bakery & Hearth

Best Bar Food

1. The Peanut (Main Street) 2. Beer Kitchen 3. The Foundry

Best BarBecue

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 3. Q39

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Best BarBecue event

1. American Royal World Series of Barbecue 2. Great Lenexa BBQ Battle 3. Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival

Best BarBecue pork

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack 3. Q39

Best BarBecue side dish

1. Cheesy Corn Bake, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 2. French fries, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 3. Hickory Pit Beans, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue

Best BreakFast

1. First Watch 2. Succotash 3. Eggtc.

Best Brunch

1. Beer Kitchen 2. Corner Restaurant 3. Succotash

Best Burger

1. Westport Flea Market 2. BRGR 3. Green Room Burgers & Beer

Best Burnt ends

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 3. Q39

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best of kc 2015 Best ice creaM

1. Spin Neapolitan Pizza 2. Gates Bar-B-Q 3. Winstead’s

Best indian restaurant

1. Minsky’s 2. Pigwich 3. Green Room Burgers & Beer 4. Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck

1. Korma Sutra 2. Taj Mahal 3. Swagat Fine Indian Cuisine

Best italian restaurant

angela c. bond

1. Garozzo’s Ristorante 2. Lidia’s Restaurant 3. Jasper’s

Best cupcakes

Favorite plates at Bluestem (left) and Q39. Best Burrito

1. Chipotle 2. Pancho’s 3. Freebirds

Best Butcher shop

1. McGonigle’s Market 2. Local Pig 3. Broadway Butcher Shop

Best cajun Food

1. Jazz 2. Beignet 3. Danny’s Big Easy

1. Brancato’s Catering 2. Moxie Catering 3. Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions

Best cheap eats

1. Town Topic 2. Pigwich 3. Cancun Fiesta Fresh 4. Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck

Best cheF

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Best chili

1. Dixon’s Chili Parlor 2. Town Topic 3. Woodyard Bar-B-Que 4. Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck

Best delicatessen

1. D’Bronx 2. Milwaukee Deli 3. Carollo’s Grocery & Deli

Best chinese restaurant

Best dessert Menu

1. Bo Lings 2. Blue Koi 3. ABC Café 4. Kin Lin

Best chocolate shop

Best caterer

1. Michael Smith 2. Celina Tio 3. Colby Garrelts 4. Howard Hanna

1. Smallcakes 2. Cupcake a la Mode 3. Babycakes

1. Christopher Elbow 2. Andre’s Confiserie Suisse 3. Chips Chocolate Factory

1. Cheesecake Factory 2. Andre’s Confiserie Suisse 3. Bluestem 4. Café Provence

Best doughnuts

1. Lamar’s 2. Fluffy Fresh Donuts 3. Doughboys

Best cookies

1. Blue Chip Cookies 2. The Classic Cookie & Café 3. Dolce 4. Sasha’s Baking Co.

Best crepes

1. Jerusalem Café 2. Pie Hole 3. Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck

Best culinary event

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

1. Bluestem 2. The Rieger 3. The American

Best Food truck

1. Chez Elle 2. Eggtc. 3. Café Provence 4. Ça Va

1. Kansas City Restaurant Week 2. Taste of Kansas City 3. Forks & Corks

Best Fine dining

Best French Fries

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Five Guys 3. Beer Kitchen

pitch.com

Best French restaurant

1. Le Fou Frog 2. Aixois 3. Café Provence

Best Fried chicken

1. Stroud’s (north) 2. Rye 3. Niecie’s Restaurant

Best gluten-Free Menu

1. Café Gratitude 2. Spin Pizza 3. Waldo Pizza 4. Minsky’s

Best hangover BreakFast

1. Chubby’s on Broadway 2. Town Topic 3. Succotash

Best hot dog/ Bratwurst

1. Grünauer 2. New York Dawg Pound 3. Werner’s Fine Sausages 4. Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck

Best hotel restaurant

1. Chaz on the Plaza 2. 12 Baltimore 3. The Reserve 4. Providence New American Kitchen 5. Bar Rosso

Best local chain

1. Glacé 2. Sheridan’s Frozen Custard 3. Murray’s Ice Creams & Cookies

Best japanese restaurant

1. Nara 2. Gojo Japanese Steak House 3. Jun’s Sushi

Best korean restaurant

1. Korean Restaurant Sobahn 2. Choga Korean Restaurant 3. Chosun Korean BBQ

Best late-night eats

1. Town Topic 2. Chubby’s on Broadway 3. Eat Me Gourmet 4. Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck

Best latin aMerican restaurant

1. La Bodega 2. Empanada Madness 3. El Salvadoreño

Best lawrence restaurant

1. Free State Brewing Co. 2. Burger Stand at the Casbah 3. 715

Best local Baker

1. Farm to Market 2. Bloom Baking Co. 3. Fervere

Best local Bread

1. Farm to Market 2. Fervere 3. Bloom Baking Co.

Best lunch special

Best Macarons

1. Andre’s Confiserie Suisse 2. (tie) Bloom Baking Co. Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott

Best Mediterranean restaurant

1. Jerusalem Café 2. Aladdin Café 3. Holy Land Café

Best Mexican restaurant

1. El Patrón 2. Port Fonda 3. Manny’s Mexican Restaurant

Best new restaurant

1. Q39 2. Char Bar 3. Blvd Tavern

Best only-in-kc BarBecue dish

1. Z-Man, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Burnt End Burger, Q39 3. Barbecue Nachos, Plowboys

Best outdoor dining

1. McCoy’s Public House 2. Gram & Dun 3. Char Bar

Best pastries

1. Andre’s Confiserie Suisse 2. Dolce 3. Doughboys

Best pho

1. Vietnam Café (Columbus Park) 2. iPho Tower VietnameseFrench Bistro 3. Pho Good


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readers’ choices

Best Pie

1. The Corner Café 2. Upper Crust 3. Rye

Best Pizza

1. Waldo Pizza 2. Minsky’s 3. Spin Neapolitan Pizza

Best Place for a Business lunch

1. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 2. The Capital Grille 3. Pierpont’s at Union Station 4. Hereford House

Best Place that’s Worth the Wait

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Stroud’s 3. Rye

Best restaurant/ Bar for a first Date

1. Manifesto 2. Extra Virgin 3. The Rieger

Best Place for a romantic Dinner

1. Le Fou Frog 2. Bluestem 3. The Rieger 4. Novel Restaurant 5. The American

To the Taco Republic, for which it stands. Best Place to eat alone

1. Panera 2. Town Topic 3. The Rieger 4. Blvd Tavern

Best Place to eat at the Bar

1. Beer Kitchen 2. The Rieger 3. Extra Virgin 4. Bluestem

Best restaurant

1. Bluestem 2. The Rieger 3. Novel Restaurant

Best restaurant that Delivers

1. Minsky’s 2. Waldo Pizza 3. Sarpino’s

Best restaurant to take visitors

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 3. The Rieger

Best restaurant With a vieW

1. The American 2. Piropos 3. Café Trio

Best riBs

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue 3. Gates Bar-B-Q

Best sanDWich

1. Z-Man, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Classic grilled Reuben, d’Bronx 3. Banh mi, Pigwich 4. Burnt Heaven, Char Bar 5. Pork tenderloin, Kitty’s Café

Best seafooD

1. Bristol Seafood Grill 2. McCormick & Schmick’s 3. Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar 4. Bonefish Grill

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Best server

1. Sienna Jobe, the Rieger 2. Angie Koberts, Michael Smith 3. Afton Beebe, Lucky Brewgrille 4. Beth Altenbernd, Novel Restaurant 5. Aaron Vigliaturo, Bricks Pub & Grub

Best service

1. The Rieger 2. Michael Smith 3. Novel Restaurant

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

THE PITCH

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82

best of kc 2015 Best service industry Hangout

1. Harry’s Bar and Tables 2. Extra Virgin 3. The Rieger

Best steakHouse

1. The Capital Grille 2. Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse 3. Hereford House

Best suB/Hoagie

1. The Planet Sub, Planet Sub 2. Beach Club, Jimmy John’s 3. Penny Club, Goodcents 4. Dagwood’s Dream, Planet Sub 5. The Experience, Planet Sub

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Best suB sHop

Café Gratitude: You’re welcome.

1. Planet Sub 2. Firehouse Subs 3. Jimmy John’s 4. Goodcents

Best susHi

1. Nara 2. Drunken Fish 3. Friends Sushi & Bento Place

Best taco

1. Taco Republic 2. Port Fonda 3. El Camino Real

Best takeout

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 2. Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop 3. Gate’s Bar-B-Q

Best tapas

1. La Bodega 2. Extra Virgin 3. República

Best tHai restaurant

1. Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop 2. Thai Place 3. Tasty Thai

Best vegetarian disH

1. Eggplant street tacos, Eden Alley Café 2. Veggie burger, Room 39 3. Nachos, Füd

Best vegetarian Menu

1. Café Gratitude 2. Eden Alley 3. Füd

Best vietnaMese restaurant

1. Vietnam Café 2. Saigon 39 3. Pho Good

Best Wings

1. The Peanut 2. Buffalo Wild Wings 3. Wingstop 4. Wings Café 5. Wing Busters

Drink Best Bar for people WatcHing

1. Harry’s Bar and Tables 2. Kelly’s Westport Inn 3. Buzzard Beach

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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83

ReadeRs’ ChoiCes 1. Up-Down KC 2. Kelly’s Westport Inn 3. Harry’s Bar and Tables 4. Westport Saloon

Best Bartender

1. Jonathan Bush, Manifesto 2. Brock Schulte, the Rieger 3. Aaron Vigliaturo, Bricks Pub & Grub 4. Hoap Wilson, Novel Restaurant

Best Beer Crawl

1. Waldo Crawldo 2. Crawl for Cancer 3. End of the World Pub Crawl 4. Falldo Waldo Crawldo

Best Beer Festival

1. Boulevardia Taps & Tastes 2. Parkville Microbrew Festival 3. Screenland Arts & Crafts Beer Fest 4. Hopfest

Best Beer seleCtion (Bottles and Cans)

1. Bier Station 2. Flying Saucer 3. Beer Kitchen 4. The Foundry

Best Beer seleCtion (taPs)

1. Flying Saucer 2. Bier Station 3. Yardhouse 4. Up-Down KC 5. Tapcade at Screenland Crossroads

Best Bloody mary

1. Beer Kitchen 2. Port Fonda 3. RecordBar

Best Boulevard release

1. Tank 7 2. Ginger-Lemon Radler 3. The Calling

Best Brew PuB

1. McCoy’s Public House 2. 75th Street Brewery 3. Martin City Brewing Co.

Best CheaP drinks

1. Buzzard Beach 2. Kelly’s Westport Inn 3. Up-Down Kc 4. Westport Saloon 5. 403 Club

Best CoCktail menu

1. Manifesto 2. Julep 3. Novel Restaurant

Best CoFFee

1. The Roasterie 2. Oddly Correct 3. Thou Mayest

Best CoFFeehouse

1. The Roasterie 2. Thou Mayest 3. Broadway Café

Best College Bar

1. Harpo’s 2. Kelly’s Westport Inn 3. The Wheel 4. Mike’s Tavern

Best CraFt CoCktail artist

1. Ryan Maybee, the Rieger 2. Andrew Olsen, Bluestem 3. Kenny Cohrs, Jax Fish House 4. Hoap Wilson, Novel Restaurant

Best dive Bar

1. The Peanut (Main Street) 2. Buzzard Beach 3. The Hi-Dive Lounge

Best gay Bar

1. Missie B’s 2. Hamburger Mary’s 3. Bistro 303

Best gin drink

1. Beautiful Red Bell, Manifesto 2. Aviation, Uptown Arts Bar 3. The Jewel, Standard Pour

Best haPPy hour

1. La Bodega 2. Kona Grill 3. Bluestem 4. Summit Grill & Bar 5. Westport Saloon 6. Brick’s Pub & Grub

Best hotel Bar

1. Drum Room at the President Hotel 2. 12 Baltimore at the Hotel Phillips 3. Bar Rosso at Hotel Sorella

Best iCed CoFFee

1. The Roasterie 2. Starbucks 3. Thou Mayest 4. Broadway Café

Best irish PuB

1. O’Dowd’s Little Dublin 2. Kelly’s Westport Inn 3. O’Malley’s 4. The Dubliner

Best loCal Brewery

1. Boulevard Brewing Co. 2. KC Bier Co. 3. Cinder Block Brewery

Best loCal distillery

1. J. Rieger & Co. 2. Dark Horse Distillery 3. S.D. Strong Distilling

Best loCal seasonal Beer

1. Boulevard Ginger-Lemon Radler 2. Boulevard Chocolate Ale 3. Boulevard Bob’s 47

Best loCal sPeCialty Beer

1. Boulevard Love Child No. 5 2. Boulevard Saison-Brett 3. Cinder Block Black Squirrel

Best loCal winery

1. Amigoni Urban Winery 2. Somerset Ridge Vineyard-Winery 3. Pirtle Winery 4. Belvoir Winery

Best margarita

1. Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen & Bar 2. El Patrón 3. Port Fonda

Best martini

1. Manifesto 2. The Capital Grille 3. Thomas

dillon kinnison

Best Bar to meet PeoPle

Best milkshake

1. Winstead’s 2. BRGR 3. Town Topic 4. Sonic

Best PlaCe For CraFt CoCktails

1. Manifesto 2. Julep 3. The Rieger

Best national liquor

Best PlaCe For a girls night out

1. J. Rieger & Co. 2. Maker’s Mark 3. Buffalo Trace

1. Ça Va 2. Hamburger Mary’s 3. Up-Down KC

Best neighBorhood Bar

1. The Peanut (Main Street) 2. Charlie Hooper’s 3. Lew’s Grill & Bar 4. Brick’s Pub & Grub

Best new Bar or CluB

Best PlaCe For a guys night out

1. Up-Down KC 2. Westport Saloon 3. Tapcade

Best rooFtoP

1. The Well 2. John’s Big Deck 3. Up-Down KC

1. Up-Down KC 2. Tapcade at Screenland Crossroads 3. Blind Tiger 4. Brick’s Pub & Grub

Best sexy Bar staFF

Best new Brewery

1. Twin Peaks 2. Manifesto 3. Westport Saloon 4. Novel Restaurant 5. Brick’s Pub & Grub

Best Patio

1. Johnny’s Tavern 2. Westport Ale House 3. 810 Zone

1. KC Bier Co. 2. Cinder Block Brewery 3. Martin City Brewing Co. 4. Torn Label Brewing Co. 1. Char Bar 2. McCoy’s Public House 3. Harry’s Bar & Tables

Best sPorts Bar

Best tequila drink

1. Margarita, El Patro 2. Devil’s Advocate, Manifesto

pitch.com

3. 1800 Coconut Tequila Mojito, El Patrón

Best 3 a.m. Bar

1. Harry’s Bar and Tables 2. Buzzard Beach 3. Westport Saloon

Best vodka drink

1. Missouri Mule, the Rieger 2. Shatto Blanc, Manifesto 3. Picador, Blvd Tavern

Best whiskey drink

1. Pendergast, the Rieger 2. Smokin’ Choke, Manifesto 3. The Professional, Westport Saloon

Best whiskey seleCtion

1. Julep 2. Harry’s Country Club 3. Westport Saloon

Best wine Bar

1. Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen 2. Louie’s Wine Dive 3. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant 4. Ça Va

Best wine list

1. JJ’s Restaurant 2. Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen 3. Louie’s Wine Dive 4. Novel Restaurant

BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

the pitch

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the pitch

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BEST OF KANSAS CITY 2015

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87


Overlooking everything. Nothing overlooked. Features that set us apart • Open floor plans • Full Sized Washer & Dryer in Every Home • Spacious King-Sized Bedrooms with Generous Closet Space • Raised Panel Cherry Wood Cabinets & Stainless Steel Appliances • Built in Desks With Upper and Lower Cabinetry • Composite Wood Flooring Throughout Kitchen, Dining and Living Rooms • 2” Wood Window Blinds • Crown Molding • 36” Roman Tubs • Digitally Programmable Thermostats • Google Fiber

All-Inclusive Community Amenities • Panoramic Views of Downtown Kansas City • Attached, Detached Garages and Carports available • Walk to Briarcliff Village Shops, Restaurants, Coffee House & Market • Access to Miles of Walking Trails / Spectacular Landscaping • Monthly Social Events • Resort Style Salt Water Pool & Hot Tub Overlooking Downtown Kansas City • Poolside Grilling Station and Fire Pit • Fitness & Training Center • Private Movie Theater with 110” Screen • Game Room & Bar Area With Pool table • Coffee Bar • Business Center • Controlled Access Entries • Courtesy Patrol • 24 Hour Emergency Maintenance • Recycling Program • Pet Friendly

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The Pitch: Best of Kansas City 2015  

The Pitch, Best of Kansas City 2015.

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