If you’re in the Kansas City area, take a day trip to one of these communities that offer incredible food and drink experiences. I’ve done the homework. Each of the mentioned-below restaurants and bars is worthy of your patronage, plus I’ve included bonus activities to experience in each town.
Follow the winery, brewery, and sweet treats trail in Olathe. The northeastern suburb near Kansas City offers visitors plenty of places to sip and savor. If you love coffee and pastries, palate-pleasing wine, craft beer, or barbecue, you’ll love Olathe.
Start the day at Sweet Tee’s Coffee Shop for a frothy latté and a fresh-from-the-oven muffin.
Tall Trellis Brew Co. offers a relaxed setting in which to devour a flatbread pizza with a Snaps Chaps Western IPA. Consider dining on the outdoor patio surrounded by trellised hops.
At dinnertime, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Cue serves up award-winning barbecue. Order the famous Z-Man Sandwich prepared with slow-smoked brisket, cheese, and onion rings.
BONUS: Read the rest of my list of favorite spots in Olathe here.
BONNER SPRINGS, KANSAS
I’ve traveled to Bonners Springs several times and each trip was highlighted by excellent food and drink experiences.
Get your steps in by shopping downtown before heading back to Mill Properties, where Quentin’s BBQ & Sides serves mouthwatering BBQ Nachos and Burnt End Mac Bowl.
At dinnertime, bring friends to Kobi’s Bar & Grill, where the Friday ribeye dinner special or the menu’s Surf-n-Turf entree keep regulars coming back. Order a bottled beer or cocktail and head outside for live music on the back patio.
BONUS: Uncover endless adventures in Bonner Springs here.
Chef-prepared cuisine and craft beverages are a draw for residents and visitors to Lawrence. Everyone agrees Free State Brewing Co. is a top destination for elevated pub grub and a flagship beer. Order the Nashville Chicken Mac with an Ad Astra Ale or Stormchaser IPA.
Johnny’s Tavern is where you should dine when lunchtime cravings hit. They serve some of the best pizza in Lawrence. Try the Great Bambino. Also known for serving the coldest pint of beer in town, it’s a fun place to watch collegiate football on the big screen.
Cocktail enthusiasts should make a reservation at John Brown’s Underground. The space transports you to a surreal environment with low lighting, mood music, and a drink menu that reads like an excerpt from someone’s diary.
Leavenworth is ideal for a day trip with more than enough places to dine and drink.
The Depot is an always-busy restaurant located inside a beautifully restored Santa Fe train depot established in 1887. Voted Best Breakfast & Brunch, the restaurant serves an excellent Broken Yolk Sandwich (ask for a complimentary “duffin” before your check arrives).
For lunch, soup and sandwiches like the Gobble-Gobble or the Roast Beef Explosion are popular choices at First City Cheese Market.
Pasta fans will feel at home dinging at Luigi’s 418 Italian Restaurant where classic dishes like The Picatta wow patrons. Afterward, a chilled glass of house-made Limoncello liqueur completes the meal.
BONUS: Discover more things to do and see in historic Leavenworth here.
OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS
You don’t have to travel to the heart of Kansas City to enjoy an award-winning barbecue meal. When hunger roars, lunch or dinner at Q39 (South) in Overland Park is the only dining place.
The restaurant consistently serves mouthwatering smoked meats with sides of your choice ranging from creamy potato salad to five cheese mac topped with breadcrumbs.
I typically order a Combo Plate (Pick 2) for lunch or dinner; however, the Wood-Fired Grilled Salmon Salad and Smoked Brisket Nachos are calling my name. If you have room for dessert, a mega-sized slice of carrot cake is a shareable treat.
BONUS: I haven’t written a travel post about Overland Park yet. In the meantime, enjoy 7 Ways to Explore Culture in Kansas City, Kansas, or read The Perfect Vacation Rental for Your Next Kansas City Weekend Getaway.
“Good Starts Here” is the phrase Shawnee uses to describe itself. I wholeheartedly agree.
Before heading out for shopping and museum visits, enjoy coffee and a scone amongst the gardens at Cafe Equinox.
Kids of all ages will appreciate watching oy trains overhead deliver food to each table at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant at lunchtime. An old-fashioned hamburger with homemade onion rings and a cup of vanilla ice cream hit the spot.
District Pour House + Kitchen offers diners signature flatbreads, appetizing salads, and dinner entrees you won’t find elsewhere. Duck Risotto, anyone? Ask about cocktails made with homemade infused spirits.
BONUS: Spending the weekend in Shawnee? Use my Guide to the Best Things To Do.
Are you looking for a Kansas City suburb that didn’t make this list? It’s on my dining bucket list. Stay tuned for more foodie adventures on my Instagram, which includes drool-worthy food photos from various restaurants.
If you have Kansas City area restaurant or bar suggestions, comment below.