I have to admit, my family and I were really looking forward to our 4th of July weekend in Kansas City. KC is totally known for it’s barbecue. One thing I didn’t know was that it’s also known for it’s fountains. It is said that KC has more working fountains than any other place in the world. We had such fun finding a few.
The fact that Kansas City, Missouri is only about a 6.5 hour drive from Minnesota, it is fast becoming one of my favorite destinations. So, for the 4th of July I took the family there for a four day mini vacation. After all of that travel and finally getting settled into our hotel, we went downtown to the Crown Center Mall to do some shopping and looking around.
There is a fountain outside in the mall’s courtyard that reminds me of the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas that set to music.
When we had decided it was time to get something for dinner were going to go down to the foodcourt at the mall to Fritz’s train themed restaurant, but they were closing early because of the holiday. Then we called Q39 but they were closing in about 15 minutes. I called Gates Barbecue next and was told they were open until 11pm. So we plugged their address into Google Maps headed out to get some bbq. When we got to the restaurant the parking lot was totally full. A couple of cars that had pulled in ahead of us were letting people out to go inside so I pulled out of the lot and parked on the street and looked for a different location. I found one that wasn’t too far from where we were and drove over there. The lot was full but we did find a spot and parked and went in. There was a line that was backed out to the sidewalk.
But we just decided to get in line and wait. When we finally got our turn to order we had decided to get our food to go. We ordered the meat plate with a pound of ham, beef brisket, 6 bones of bbq ribs and french fries. We added two sides, potato salad and some baked beans, for an additional 2 dollars. Then we went back to our hotel room and ate. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed dinner.
On Friday we were ready for some fun. Since I am doing a fasting diet, more on that at a later time, I slept in while my wife and son went for breakfast. Afterwards, we headed out for our first full day of fun. We started with a trip to Sea Life.
It was really fun and interesting. I personally liked watching the jellyfish.
As part of our tour we were on a scavenger hunt and had to find 9 separate stamp stations that were placed throughout the aquarium.
We had purchased tix for Legoland at the time we paid to go inside Sea Life and decided that we would go lunch before going there. So we went across the street to the Crown Center Mall to find a place to eat. After lunch we did some browsing in some of the shops and bought some chocolate fudge and candy from a chocolate shop. Then we went back to explore legoland.
We spent about 3.5 hours playing games, riding rides, and watched a 4D Lego movie.
Since Q39 was closed before we could go there on Thursday, we headed there for dinner.
When my son and I were traveling to Kansas City back in October of 2018, I was talking with my friend Viedell who was a part time Uber driver. He told me that he was talking with a fare he had the night before and had mentioned that I was going down to KC to check out a few bbq joints. His rider told him to tell me to try Q39. We did and it was really good. My son, Tyler, loved it and talked about it often and he was really excited to be going back. It was my wife’s first time but she was looking forward to it as well. We had about a 20 minute wait for a table and after sitting outside for a while we were called in and seated. Our waitperson came over immediately and introduced herself as Caroline. She asked if it was our first time and I informed her that my son and I had been there before, but it was my wife’s first time. Caroline was awesome as she welcomed Kim and went through what items on the menu were good to try and the best way to order to get a taste of almost every meat option they had. She even told us some items not to order, like pulled pork, because you could get that anywhere. She spent a lot of time chatting with our son Tyler and was just all-around very warm and friendly. As a matter of fact she even told us about a favorite donut place of hers called Donut-logy where you could even make up your own donut toppings. We did end up going there after our dinner and got some donuts for breakfast.
Saturday was more of a relaxing day. We slept in and didn’t go out until about 11am. We headed over to the River Front Market where the Farmer’s Market was also taking place.
We spent a lot of time walking among the crowds and just checking out different vendors. I saw this amazing station was was selling spices and just had to stop. They had all sorts of spices and most were on $2 a scoop, which was quite a bit as it turned out.
We even stood for a while and listened to a music man that really was a one-man band. He could sing a bit too.
And for as old as he was, he did a mean jig. We then hopped on the free street car and rode downtown and visited the Kansas City Public Library.
The library was moved to it’s current location in 2004, after some extensive renovations to the former First National Bank Bldg and still has the cash vault located in the basement which now houses a movie theater.
After spending about a half hour or so touring the Library we re-boarded the train and completed the full circuit with a final stop at Union Station where we had to exit the train before being allowed to re-board for the return trip back to the River Front Market place. There was a sculpture garden outside of the train depot that had a really good viewpoint of how travel has evolved over the years.
After more walking around and a small bit of shopping, we stopped at one of the many restaurants that lined the market for some Beignets and dipping sauces. I had cherry while my wife went with a raspberry and chocolate mix. While we were eating, our son was starting to not feel well and we thought he was having some effects of heat exhaustion so we called it a day and headed back to our room so he could get some rest.
After a short nap and a lot of juice and water Tyler was feeling a bit better and was getting hungry. He decided that he didn’t want any more barbecue and instead wanted some pancakes and eggs for dinner, so I went to the Denny’s Restaurant that was next door to our hotel and got him some dinner. For Kim and I, there was one more place to try for some barbecue. Now came the time to try the Woodyard.
This is an excerpt from their website; Woodyard Bar-B-Que started with Frank Schloegel II working his grill at lunch, feeding his customers and his friends for free, while he sold wood deliveries over the phone. Frank Schloegel III kept it going in the same spirit of generosity and started smoking for charities and church fundraisers. Eventually he gave in to multiple requests and opened the restaurant.
I first heard about this spot while watching one of my favorite foodie programs “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” hosted by Guy Fieri. This particular episode was from 2012 and I knew I had to try it. I got Kim a pulled pork sandwich with a side of cole slaw. I had the ribs, pulled pork and burnt ends plate with a side of baked beans and some cheesey corn.
I have to say, it was totally awesome. The funny thing was, I forgot to get some barbecue sauce to go with my meats. As it turned out, I didn’t need any because the meat was just that delicious without any. The ribs and burnt ends were so soft and juicy and just downright lip-smacking, finger-licking good. I definitely will be going back again!
As I said before, I am going to make visiting Kansas City an annual family fun event. There are hundreds of barbecue joints to checkout and I am already looking to find a few more jewels in the crown of one of the hottest barbecue capitals of the world. I would tell anyone that plans to head to Kansas City to definitely try both Q39 and the Woodyard for a delicious treat. Gates is a cool and easy choice for 2nd best and you get a great deal with the heaping helpings that they give. And you have to go to the River Front Market on the weekend to enjoy all of the outdoor farmer’s markets and the vendors. Next up for me is a trip to the desert in July! Whew, it’s gonna be a hot one for sure.