08 Sep 10 Black-Owned Restaurants to visit in Kansas City
If the storied metropolis of Kansas City were itself a buffet, there would be many tasty selections of Black culture to sample. The 18th & Vine Historical District bumps with energy at destinations such as The American Jazz and Negro League Baseball Museums. Historic Black educational institutions from Attucks School to Lincoln High School and the Western Baptist Bible College elevate minds. And Fire Station No. 11 proudly speaks to the long tradition of service in the local Black community.
In the same way, Black-owned restaurants in the area are more than just good eating. The culture has imbued the cuisine with its deep roots. So whether you’re looking for table service or seeking the best food trucks in Kansas City, supporting Black-owned restaurants during Black Restaurant Week is your chance to connect with history and culture.
Here are ten of the very best to get you started.
Ethiopian Restaurant: Blue Nile Cafe
A local pioneer in introducing authentic Ethiopian cuisine to Kansas City’s Black-owned restaurant scene, the Blue Nile Café has been dishing its rich and flavorful food since 1995. And feel free to be as casual as you like in this family-friendly atmosphere – the traditional way to eat is with no utensils! Instead, soak up the delicious misir watti lentils or doro tibs chicken with the amazing sour flatbread known as injera. A delight for vegans and meat eaters alike, this City Market mainstay is a real crowd pleaser for the adventurous diner!
Seafood Restaurant: District Fish & Pasta House
Can you hear that song already? “Under the Sea!” For those who enjoy the flavors of all things reeled in from beneath the waves, then the District Fish & Pasta House is the place for you. And oh yes – if you like your seafood tossed in fresh homemade pasta, then you’re really going to love it here! This family-owned, Black-owned beloved Kansas City institution has an excellent “build your own pasta” section with tasty options like salmon and shrimp. Or you could opt for basa and whiting fish dishes served with rice and veggies.
Chicken Sandwich: Chixen Kansas City
When you’re looking for the best soul food in Kansas City, could a chicken sandwich count? When it comes to Chixen Kansas City, we say it does! This spot’s patented “Chicken Smash” approach to chicken sandwiches amounts to 100% ground chicken patties loaded with powerhouse flavor. From the full-bodied “Culture Burger” drizzled with jerk aioli to the cornbread waffles, there’s a lot to love on this menu. These folks also heavily invest in the local community, working with youth groups and social programs for those in need. It’s soul food that’s good for the soul!
If you’re looking for the very best Black-owned vegan restaurants in Kansas City, look no further! Here we have two amazing entries to satisfy your meatless palate. Start off with Gigi’s Vegan + Wellness Café with its nutmeat patty “Nubian Burger” and the “Soul Tacos” that mix Mexican influence with Southern accents. And while not fully vegan, Eskobar has a great selection of Ethiopian and Caribbean items that those who refrain from animal products will simply love. Try the ingudai portabella mushrooms or the split-pea delight known as yekek alcha wot.
Street Food: Gourmet Grub & TCs Fully Loaded
Sometimes you just aren’t going to find the victuals your tastebuds really want in a traditional restaurant. That’s when it’s time to take it to the streets – and Kansas City’s best food trucks are ready to serve! First up is the deceivingly delicious Gourmet Grub. Escoffier School Of Culinary Arts-trained Chef Terri Allen brings her A-game on wheels with everything from cheesy shrimp & grits to the vegan cauliflower fried rice. And potato lovers are gonna have to rush on over to TC’s Fully Loaded. As the name suggests, these overstuffed spuds bring the love! The Alfredo features chicken and the eponymous sauce, while the Philly is full of more steak than you’ll know what to do with.
BBQ: Gates BBQ
Do we dare name the best BBQ in Kansas City, this land of so many outstanding BBQ joints? We dare, we dare! Gates BBQ has laid the claim to the best bone-sucking sauce in town since 1949. This family-owned, Black-owned restaurant has been a local favorite for generations. Here you can order entire slabs of beef, ribs, chicken, mutton, and more. But be sure to save some room for their world-famous yammer pie! And if you’re not getting your fill on-premises, you can buy their homemade BBQ sauce to take home with you!
Juice Bar: Ruby Jean’s Juicery
Named after CEO Chris Goode’s beloved great-grandmother, Ruby Jean’s is a special kind of passion project. Having lost their matron far too soon due to the effects of a poor diet, Goode launched a business focused on healthy living. Situated in a super-hip, totally laid-back vibe, here you can have some vital living food that’s also delicious and goes down smooth. Hand-crafted juices with everything from strawberries and kale to sweet potatoes. Or if you’re hungry, have them whip you up an acai bowl, or maybe dig into some avocado toast. If you feel healthier leaving than you did coming in, that means they did their job!
Cocktails: KC Daiquiri Shop
Do you know how they say you can’t live on bread alone? Well, that’s why the good lord invented cocktails! And there is no better Black-owned restaurant in all of Kansas City than the KC Daquiri Shop for wetting your whistle. Your eyeballs will pop in the colorful atmosphere as you see those frozen slushy machines churn delicious daiquiris in just about any flavor you can imagine! You will need to wash down your chow with: po’boys of all kinds, chicken gumbo with andouille sausage, shrimp etouffee, and more. Soak in the festive atmosphere as you throw some back!
Experience: Soiree Steak & Oyster House
If you want the best soul food in Kansas City and you want it served up with elegant flair, then head to the Soiree Steak & Oyster House. From the legendary raw bar items to the incredible entrees – we are talking southern catfish meals and bourbon glazed pork chops – expect exceptional service on beautifully presented plates. But if being treated like royalty with sublime dishes isn’t enough for you, then come on in when there’s some live music going on. All the way through, Chef Anita’s fusion of Deep South and Cajun cuisine will make for a classy experience you won’t forget!
Frozen Yogurt: Yogurtini Self Service
It can’t all be about marvelous meals when it comes to Black-owned restaurants in Kansas City! Sometimes, you just need a cool sweet treat to treat yourself right! That’s where Yogurtini Self Service comes in. Here, the frozen dairy fun twists and turns through amazing flavors and toppings. Spoon up some of the Cake Batter swirls or go full-on dark with the Chocoholic special! It’s also not all about dessert fun as these yogurts have great probiotics in them to help digestion along.