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  • Thomas Rose

Top 3 Kansas City Date Spots

It is now the week of Valentine's, and to celebrate, UIC radio has humbly requested that the bloggers for this week write blogs at least somewhat related to the topic of Valentine's. I wanted to write about date spots because I'm somewhat of a gourmand, but I don't know much of the best of what Chicago offers. On the other hand, my hometown-of-sorts, Kansas City, not only has a more manageable selection of great spots, but I can fully vouch for their potential. If, for whatever reason, you and your sweetheart end up some 400 miles away in Missouri, you'll know where to go. Remember, these are of no particular order; just 3 that I can think of.

3: Blue Koi

Blue Koi's has been serving exquisite Chinese fare since 2007 in Leawood, Kansas after their downtown Kansas City location shuttered in 2021. This is one of the city's centers of Chinese cuisine, and the decor inside adds to its appeal, with pottery and art giving it a unique vibe. The menu, which gained fame downtown, is just as good in Leawood; my personal recommendations are the savory and tender Cantonese duck, but you might also want to try the slow-roasted pot roast with tangy noodles and beef that's savory but also a little sweet. Either way, though, their appetizers are unmatched.

2: Jack Stack

Kansas City's iconic and unique barbecue style is frequently copied and imitated outside city limits; even here in Chicago, I've seen restaurants with KC classics like burnt ends. If you'd like to try the original, though, you might think of going to Arthur Bryant's or Oklahoma Joe's (the restaurant might be technically named Joe's KC, but just like Sears Tower, you call it by its real name). However, if you are taking someone special out for dinner or lunch, you might want to avoid those classics; eating with your hands and getting sauce on your face might not be the best look.

Fiorella's Jack Stack, slinging 'cue since 1974, is a great middle ground between 'fine dining' and classic Kansas City barbecue; they have all the classics, like burnt ends, pulled pork sandwiches, and ribs, but they also have finely grilled steak filets, salmon, and more refined sandwiches, so you can get as messy or as fancy as you and your date might prefer. There are multiple Jack Stack locations throughout the Kansas City area, so choose wisely; the downtown Freight House and Plaza locations are both great for a more formal setting, while Martin City's location has a unique, cozy feel, making it the best option for the suburban locations.

1: Grunauer

Right next door to Jack Stack's Freight House location lies Grunauer, which has been cooking up the finest Viennese cuisine in Kansas City since 2010. The restaurant, with its beautiful beer hall-esque interior, was the brainchild of famous Austrian chef Peter Grunauer, who had previously slung schnitzel at one of the highest-rated restaurants in New York, Vienna 79, all the way back in the 1980s. His children carry on the family's culinary legacy in Kansas City, and the combination of both new and old techniques results in a simply wonderful menu, with delights like steak au frites and wiener schnitzel being some of my favorites. The dessert menu is also nothing to scoff at, with a rotating menu that has never once disappointed me in my many visits.


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