A friend and I were looking for a place to grab a quick bite for lunch in Coffeyville, Kansas. As luck would have it, he suggested a local barbecue restaurant…to which I cannot say no! Phelps’s Hog Heaven located at 511 west 11th street in Coffeyville is a sure bet if you want pork in Southeast Kansas. According to their website, all meats are hickory smoked, which is always a good sign when you want good barbecue.
Phelps’s features a wall of flame, which as you might guess is a photo gallery of food challenge winners. To get your picture on the wall you must manage to eat three extremely hot ribs….a task failed by many but achieved by a few brave spicy food lovers.
I chose to forego the food challenge and order a sampler platter complete with a majority of the meats available. One of my favorites was the smoked bologna, a specialty across the border in Oklahoma, but a barbecue item sadly left absent from many Kansas restaurant menus. The ribs were pretty good too. In fact, Phelps’s Hog Heaven could be one of the better Kansas Barbecue restaurants to be found outside the Kansas City metro area. I would encourage you to give it shot. Check out the bologna and let me know if you successfully complete the wall of flame challenge!
Until next time,
Sharkey’s Pub and Grub is a local Fort Scott favorite. It is easy to understand why they have long hours and why their menu goes far beyond the deep fried fare commonly found in pubs. On a recent visit, I was pleasantly surprised to find a few good pork choices available. I chose the Cuban sandwich (you can never go wrong with a Cuban)!
The Sharkey’s Cuban was piled high with ham and pork loin and of course had pickles and lots of cheese. It paired deliciously with seasoned fries and a cold drink. Behind the restaurant you can spy a wood smoker which is often in use (a sure sign of good meals to come).
Sharkey’s is on Facebook at and can be located at 16 N National Ave. in Fort Scott, Kansas 66701. Like any good pub, they have an extensive drink selection and lots of specials. Check them out the next time you are in Southeast Kansas!
Until next time,
Sometimes you might crave BBQ in the KC area, but can’t decide where to go. The fact that you have too many good choices can be a problem. Do you go to one of new, untested places you’ve only heard about? Do you go to one of the old, famous places and fight the tourist crowd? Do you go to one of the highly advertised places and stand in line for an hour? Eating BBQ in KC can be a tough life at times, but it doesn’t need to be. If none of the choices above sound good, it’s time to look at some of the overlooked, but tried and true places around the metro.
One prime example of this type of place is “Zarda Bar-B-Q and Catering Company”. With locations in Lenexa (on 87th just west of I-35) and Blue Springs, MO (on MO Hwy. 7) they aren’t too hard to find. What I’ve found about Zarda over the years is that they are amazingly consistent, and they’re a pork lover’s dream. The ribs and pulled pork are always good, and the sausage, while a different style than most places, has great flavor. They will serve everything “wet”, or with sauce on it. If that’s not your cup of tea, then ask for it to be served dry. The sides are always good there too (which is important). I would contend that they have some of the best beans in the whole city!
Between the good location, the spacious (and nice) dining area, and the overall food quality, it’s a great place to go if you’re in town visiting (or live here), and don’t want to waste time driving, standing in line, or waiting on slow service.
Until next time,
For hundreds of years, people have dreamed of travelling through time, but the love affair with this idea probably peaked soon after the publishing of H.G. Wells’ famous book “The Time Machine” in 1895. I’d like to inform you that as of 2014, you don’t need a degree in quantum physics, or an above-average grasp of the theory of general relativity, to come close to figuring out time travel. All you need is a car, some gas, and a map that can get you to Leavenworth, KS.
Now, I’m not saying that the Leavenworth area is stuck in the past (though some might argue it is), rather, I’m saying that if you want to get the feel of travelling back in time, you need to go no further than “Homer’s Drive Inn”, in Leavenworth, located just south of downtown, on U.S. Hwy 73/KS Hwy 7. Homer’s has been in its current location since 1938, and it doesn’t appear that much has changed with the place in about 50 years! From its black and white checkered tile floor, to its red vinyl upholstery covering on the booths, it’s no wonder that this place was a finalist for the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s “8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine”.
The day I visited Homer’s, I felt blessed by the pork Gods, as I walked in and found that the Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich was the day’s special. Needless to say, they didn’t need to twist my arm to get me to order one. I have to say, it was quite possibly the best pork tenderloin sandwich I’ve ever had. It was huge, and was perfectly tender, with just the right amount of breading. I’ve had several pork tenderloins over the years at county fairs other events, and I’d put this one up against any of those any day.
So, while the untestable theories about time travel are just lying out there for us to ponder, I’ll go ahead and hypothesize that you’ll love this place if you get the chance to go try it. Furthermore, I am thoroughly convinced time travel is impossible, or people would be travelling back from the future to eat at this place!
Until next time,
As the name implies, Q39 serves barbecue and is located on 39th Street in Kansas City. This is about where the similarities with other Kansas City barbecue restaurants end. When I had first heard about Q39 from a newspaper article, I was pretty skeptical. The author mentioned things like how hip and trendy the location, menu and atmosphere are. However, “hip” and “trendy” are adjectives not usually used to describe your typical barbecue joint. You are more likely to hear worlds like “old” or “smoky”. Lord knows there are lots of old, smoky and rustic places in Kansas City to get good barbecue.
One of the best, Oklahoma Joes, is located in an aging gas station. My guess is that Q39 creators Rob Magee and his wife Kelly knew that they were going to have to do something very different in order to set themselves apart from the many others. If setting themselves apart was the goal, they most definitely succeeded! According to their website, “Q39 calls the eclectic 39th Street area home. Its neighbors are the Country Club Plaza, Westport, Downtown…)” This is a part of the city now home to a much younger and certainly more liberal crowd then the outlying KC suburbs. On that end, the décor is much more modern and hip than competitors.
The menu includes a full bar, and many wood fired options. For me I chose to skip the salmon and salads and go straight for the pork! When my barbecue plate arrived I learned quickly that I had better throw away all my preconceived notions about what a barbecue restaurant “should” be. Don’t let the eclectic crowds and fancy menu full you, this barbecue is absolutely fantastic. As it turns out, Q39 is home of Munchin’ Hogs, a competition barbecue team with one of the best track records in the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
As a KCBS judge I know competition barbecue and I know the food served to me at Q39 could likely win any contest on any day. The ribs were delicious, the sausage was excellent and the pulled pork was absolutely perfect. In fact their pulled pork is the epitome of what Kansas City style barbecue is all about. Pair it with their traditional KC style sauce and you have a grand slam home run that flies out of the barbecue park! Do like I did, and throw away your old ideas about barbecue as fast as you can. Get to 39th street and let Q39 teach you a new thing or two.
Until Next Time,
I’ve said before there are places that I go eat that simply write the story for me. “BB’s Lawnside BBQ” is definitely one of those places.
I’ll ask just so I know… Do you like authentic Kansas City BBQ? What if it had a Cajun twist on it? That would be ok with you?? Ok, that’s good, I’m glad you do! Do you like live Blues music? Do you like lots of drink specials? If you answered “yes” to at least 2 of these questions, then BB’s might be worth a visit.
You’ll have to trek across the state line into Missouri to find the place (1205 E. 85th Street Kansas City, MO 64131), but it is worth your time! This place reeks of old-school KC BBQ. A good percentage of the seating is “family style”, so you might end up at a long table, next to some people you don’t know (but that’s part of the experience). The walls are decorated with Blues music posters, and the meat is cooked in a pit that was built in the 1950s.
The ribs were tender and tasted pretty much like wood smoke and wood smoke only. They were absolutely perfect in every way in my opinion. The pulled pork high quality and tender and the pork sausage was nicely seasoned (think Italian style) and was outstanding!
I don’t really know what else to say about this place other than drop what you are doing and GO THERE! Check out my pictures and their website for more info. You can thank me later for telling you about this place!
Until next time,
While staying at Fort Scott’s Courtland Hotel, I asked Frank, the owner, for restaurant recommendations. Frank Suggested Crooner’s Lounge. Crooner’s Lounge is a fine dining establishment located on South Main Street in the historic Fort Scott, Kansas down town area. The restaurant is open on Wednesday through Friday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m. The menu includes a variety of options such as steak, pasta and seafood and there is a full bar selection available. I was excited to see that the menu also included a delicious (and huge) pork chop.
The staff went out of their way to make us feel at home, and even gave my son a complimentary ice cream dessert. They do have a rule that no hats or caps are allowed in the dining area (a good manner that should be practiced at all eating establishments excluding bars or lunch counters).
Adjacent to Crooner’s Lounge is the Liberty Theatre, a music and event center, featuring many popular regional and nation acts. The theater can also be rented for weddings or other events. Crooner’s Lounge is open on Saturday’s when the theatre is hosting an event.
Downtown Fort Scott, located just over an hour from Kansas City and home to the National Park Service’s pre- civil war area Fort Scott, is a travel destination that should be put on the schedule for any antique, history or architecture enthusiast. Be sure to check out Crooner’s Lounge and tell them that you heard about them on www.inpursuitofpork.com.
Until next time,
According to a Pitch Magazine article, Spin Neapolitan Pizza has the best pizza in Kansas City. Now I don’t make it a habit of eating in franchise restaurants when there are so many wonderful and small locally owned places all over Kansas….but if it is rated as the best in the entire city….I have to check it out. Besides, a pizza is one of the very best ways to eat some delicious pork and Spin Pizza is headquartered in Kansas City.
According to their website, Spin Neapolitan Pizza has six locations in Kansas City, four in Orange County, California and one coming soon to Omaha, Nebraska. Unlike the bigger national chains, Spin Pizza offers unique menu items like flatbread spreads, soups, gluten free crust, non dairy cheese and a full wine menu.
While at the Lenexa, Kansas location at 9474 Renner Blvd, I ordered the Tre Carni (three meat) pizza with roasted meatballs, sausage and pepperoni. This pork lover’s pizza was delicious. The more I ate it, the better I liked it.
After my wife and I finished the entire pizza, I wished I had some more! Is it the best pizza in Kansas City?….I’ll let you know after I’ve tried all the rest!
Until next time,
Nate’s Place Restaurant and Lounge at the Twin Mansions in Fort Scott, Kansas is a truly unique experience. As the name implies, Nate’s Place is inside a historic 1880’s era mansion. An identical mansion next door houses a bed and breakfast. This place is a hidden gem in southeast Kansas. In fact, the waitress indicated that even though they have been open for about three years, not many locals realize that one of the two mansions houses a restaurant. I’m about to spill the beans here, because this place was fantastic!
The wait for my order was a bit long but the food was well worth it. I had a deep fried pork chop smothered in homemade country gravy. Many times pork chops end up tasting dry and tough but not this one! It could have been one of the very best pork chops I have ever eaten. This dish came with a side of caramelized sweet potatoes, which were also very delicious!
Nate’s Place is open for dine in or carry out Tuesday through Thursday from 9 am until 2 pm and from Saturday and Sunday from 8 am until 2 pm. Additionally. their lounge is open on Thursday and Friday nights from 5pm until 8 pm. Cocktails are served daily beginning at 9 am and outdoor dining and private dinner parties are also available. Guest of the bed and breakfast receive a complementary breakfast at Nate’s Place.
Check out Nate’s Place. It’s one of my new favorites in southeast Kansas!
Until next time,
Across Antioch Rd. from the eastern entrance to Corporate Woods in Overland Park sits a barbecue joint that’s been in Johnson County since 1972. I’d always known “Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que” was there, but had not made it in to eat until recently, when I read that it had been taken over by new owners. The new owner talked in a newspaper article I read about an improved menu and renovations to the building, so I thought I should go check out what all the buzz was about. Something else that helped lure me in was the fact that the owner and the pit master both honed their respective crafts at “Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ” (which is never a bad thing).
I had a two meat sandwich consisting of pulled pork and pork sausage, along with a side of fried okra (can’t get that just anywhere around here!) The meats were really well cooked and the sausage was of extremely high quality, and was definitely better stuff than what you go buy at the store! The okra was fresh out of the fryer and too hot to eat, which is a good problem to have. I plan on going back for the ribs at some point, because based on the other foods I can’t really see that they wouldn’t be good too!
If you’re looking for some freshly cooked, high quality pork, you’re just a few blocks from it as you drive along I-435 in JOCO. All you have to do is head south on Antioch Rd. a little ways and you’re there! Give the place a chance if you’re in the area. I doubt you’ll be disappointed!
Until next time,