Best Eats in Kansas City

Barbecue, Baked goods, diner food, soda fountains, and hot dogs…what do all these things have in common? The answer is and will always be AMERICA. Our food may not be organic, health-conscious, or figure flattering, but it is delicious. One of the best parts of traveling is eating, but the best meals are the ones who blend culture and cuisine. So, follow along as I show you some of the best eats in Kansas city and the history behind them!

Thirty minutes outside of Kansas City sits Independence Missouri. Independence is the fifth largest city in Missouri, but also was home to former President Harry Truman. If you were to rewind time decades ago, you could sit on the square in Independence and watch the former president stroll the streets, head to work, eat, and live. Today the world is different. New presidents have walked the halls of our country’s capital, however, in Missouri, some things are still the same. When it comes to food, they have a great blend of new meets old, from classic soda shops to new hip and tasty hot dog joints. Together Kansas City and Independence Missouri provide the perfect blend of delicious eats and the perfect 24 hour Missouri experience, just like the one mentioned here! (shameless plug)

Clinton’s Soda Fountain

I know you each have taken my advice and are following my 24 hour itinerary of Kansas City, and thus if you are like me your gonna need food…lots and lots of food. That is why I have taken the liberty of providing a list of some of the best Kansas City eats for your adventures from Independence to Kansas City!

Now they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all that stuff. It promotes a healthy metabolism and provides energy…so they say. If that is all true then, in essence, the first thing you need to do is get some breakfast and in theory, if you are eating breakfast you are already making healthy choices, so why not have some fun with it…like with let’s say donuts.


Ridgewood Donuts

Outside of Kansas City in Independence, Missouri is a donut joint that has been throwing down small delicious circles of fried dough since 1956. Bill Penny founded this donut shop with his family set on delivering freshly made, piping hot donuts, daily to residents of Kansas City. 61 years later Ridgewood donuts is still carrying on that legacy under its current owner Greg Gehring. Greg has been running Ridgewood for 17 years, but still does things the same way, choosing to make everything in house. Greg has cooked for 4 presidents in his years as a baker, so if you want a presidential donut he is your guy!

I sampled a little bit of everything…and by sample I mean I ate a box. I had help, so it isn’t as bad as it sounds, plus it was for research. Research calories never count…everyone knows that.

Ridgewood Donuts
Ridgewood Donuts – Long John

The donuts are great but go with glazed or chocolate if you have to choose. They sell other items too such as donuts twist, fritters, cinnamon rolls, and all sorts of cookie variations. If you can only choose one thing, go with Kansas City’s popular pastry, the long John. Now, since my name is John, I like to think these little logs of goodness were made for me. When it comes to long John’s you have some options. They come unfilled, filled with whipped cream, or filled with custard. Skip the whip. Either go big or go empty. Want it filled? Get the custard… it is to die for. Want it light? Go empty and wash it down with a warm coffee or if you’re like me a glass of chocolate or plain cold milk.

Where to get your donut on!

4309 Blue Ridge Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64133
Kansas City, MO 64133Dave’s Donuts

When to get your donut on!

Every day, except Monday’s from 5:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Dave’s Donuts

We are gonna assume you’re sticking with our standards and looking for sugary carbs for breakfast. If you are not, you should be. If Ridgewood isn’t where you are heading or you find yourself starting your day in Independence’s city square then stop in at Dave’s. I may be a little biased, however, my stomach speaks for itself. Dave’s was my grandfather’s spot so it was already starting off with a lead, but their apple fritter and donut twist sealed the deal for me.

Dave’s apple fritter is a thing of cinnamony, appley, beauty. Fried to a perfect light brown and filled with cool moist apples it makes the perfect pairing for a glass of milk. Find yourself a seat overlooking the square, grab a paper or even better my blog, read, sit back and enjoy.

Dave's Donuts
Dave’s Donuts – Independence MO

Dave’s also makes a killer donut twist and a visually appealing and delicious assortment of danishes. You can’t go wrong with anything you grab from this great little spot! Dave’s sells an assortment of sandwiches and diner style food too for those in your group who aren’t fans of donuts…though should you really have a group of friends who don’t like donuts…think about it.

Here is where you can find Dave!

214 W Maple Ave,
Independence, MO 64050

Here is when he is home!

Every day, except Sunday’s with normal hours of 7 AM – 5 PM *except 3 PM on Saturday’s


Up Dog

Also in the square of Independence, and minutes from the Truman home and library is a hip hot dog joint serving up some of Kansas City’s best dogs. Up Dog will have you saying What’s Up Dog and coming back for another round of chili and cheese covered anything.

Up Dog Hot Dogs – Independence, MO

It is a small little spot, but inside you will find huge flavor and great portions. Plus the kids grilling up these dogs are bursting with creativity. Want a hotdog covered in chorizo and onions? They got it! What about a true Chicago dog, pickle, tomato and all? They got that too. Feeling adventurous get there top dog covered in bacon, queso fresco, sautéed onions, mayo, mustard, sour cream, red pepper sauce, and avocado sauce! There are plenty of creative options and even a dog that isn’t a dog at all, but rather a chicken finger.

Up Dogs Kitchen

Personally, I went with a Missouri dog paired with a side of healthy and calorie friendly fried tater tots smothered in cheese and their homemade chili. What is a Missouri dog you say? Glad you asked! It is a hot dog buried in cheese, bacon, a crisp tart pick and the perfect amount of mustard drizzled across everything.

Missouri Dog with Chili Cheese Tots

I would come back to Independence just for those tater tots. Perfectly crisp, crunchy outside with a warm soft potato center. The chili was delicious and the tots great fry held up to the weight of the chili…no soggy tots at Up dog…that’s What’s Up Dog!

Wanna stop in and say What’s Up Dog? Go here!

114 N Liberty St,
Independence, MO 64050

When can you say What’s Up Dog? *Not since early 2000 if we are being honest

Every day, except Sunday’s from 11 AM – 8 PM


Clinton’s Soda Fountain

Whether you’re spending the day in Independence or headed to downtown KC no trip to the KC area is complete without a stop into Clinton’s Soda Fountain.

Before Harry Truman had a job at the White House he had a job at a Pharmacy/Soda Fountain. That soda fountain sat in the same building Clinton’s sits in today. Clinton’s originated in 1988, however, the building they dish out their tasty treats inside has been there since the 1800’s.

Clinton’s Soda Fountain

Step in off the square and up to the marble bar and order your heart’s desire. Then sit down and indulge while sharing in the history. Decades ago our former president worked right where you sat dishing out many of the same treats Clinton’s still does today.

If you are a peanut butter lover than the Peanut Butter Hot Fudge is a must! Peanut butter fudge ice cream creates the base for this sundae. Added to the mixture are chopped peanuts and warm hot chocolate fudge. It is every bit as good as it sounds.

Peanut Butter Fudge…..AHHHHHHH

If peanut butter isn’t your thing…get the Nutty Turtle. It is the perfect blend of butter pecan ice cream, hot fudge, warm caramel, and a pecan mixture. If you don’t like that either you’re too picky. Both of them have fudge…what more do you want in life?

Nutty Turtle

Clinton’s also has sandwiches and light snacks, but their beverage menu provides one of the most unique experiences in the area, phosphates. Clinton’s is still serving up fresh mixed soda fountain phosphates in all sorts of flavors. The syrup is right on the bar to see and watch as they mix up your fresh made root beer, cream soda, or your choice of beverage.

Clinton’s Cookie Counter

Drop into Clinton’s for a delicious blast from the past and taste a little bit of history that is every bit as rich as the ice cream they serve.

Wanna bring me some Peanut Butter Fudge? Pick it up here!

100 W Maple Ave,
Independence, MO 64050

When to pick up my order.

Any day, except Sunday from 11 PM – 6 PM


Jack’s Stack BB – CUE

A night out on the town makes every adventure complete and for dinner, we are sending you downtown to KC’s colorful and unique atmosphere. Dinner is going to take advantage of one of KC’s best food forms, barbecue. Now I am biased. I am from Texas. We do the best CUE. That isn’t opinion, it is factual. However, outside of Texas, KC is smoking up some of the most delicious, game-changing barbecue.

One place known to KC locals for smoking some of the best BBQ is Jack Stacks. The history of this place’s smoked meats starts in 1957 when Russ Fiorella sold his small menu of 5 to 6 items, storefront in downtown KC. Jack Stack’s isn’t Russ’s though…nope it belongs to his son Jack, who branched off from his dad’s store in 1974 to open his own restaurant. Jack was the innovator who not only expanded the business but introduced, hickory as a smoking wood…thank you Jack…truly from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. What a guy! The restaurant is now a local chain and famous success story in Kansas City. The best part is if you get hooked on the CUE, they ship! Nationwide delivery is available straight to your door. Seems like Jack was a Jack of all trades…. 🙂

Jack Stack’s Barbecue – Country Club Plaza

Everything on the menu is delicious, however, they also sell beef and lamb ribs. If you have never had a barbecued beef rib, I am sorry for your suffering. They are similar to the pork rib, only bigger, better, and beefier. Jack’s has standard beef ribs, but if you’re filling glamorous be sure to chow down on the Crown Prime beef rib. It is a whopping 8-10 ounces…per rib. If you have a huge appetite or just love sauce covered charred meats as much as I do get the sampler and pick from three types of meat. I was forced to share my smoked goodness, however, we went with the burnt ends, sliced brisket, and of course beef ribs. They were all delicious and the sides were just as good. Go with the potato salad, and Ohh Ohh the baked beans, don’t miss the baked beans.

The Sampler 🙂

If you needed any further proof of Jack Stacks ability to throw down some delicious barbecue, then let my lack of picture stand testimony. The meat hit the table. I proceeded to devour everything in site, and then I remember to take pictures. (sorry about the half eaten plates) Just view it as a more intimate encounter with yours truly.

End of the Sampler

Looking for the Q, go here you will smell it.

4747 Wyandotte St, *there are multiple locations, but this one has shopping 🙂
Kansas City, MO 64112

When can you taste it?

Fri/Sat from 11 AM – 10:30 PM Sun from 11 AM – 9 PM and Mon -Thur from 11 AM – 10 PM

Well, there you have it! Plenty of food to cover all the meals in a day and maybe even a little more! There are endless possibilities for great food in Kansas City, and certainly plenty that I missed in my short time there. That is what is great about traveling, though, anything you miss you just have to go back to see.

If you have a favorite KC spot put it in the comments below! Anyone eaten at Town Topic? If so you have to let me know about those burgers…the one place on our list we didn’t make it too…oh well, next time! If you’re visiting Kansas City be sure to check it out for me and of course don’t miss my 24 hour To Do List for some great Kansas City attractions! Like and Share for more great content!


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