Sometimes you have to mix it up. You could go out for barbecue, which is always tasty, but you’ve done that before. Italian, Mexican and Chinese rarely let you down, but you’ve had each a hundred times. That’s why you might be looking for a change of pace in fondue restaurants in Kansas City.
Fondue restaurants are still a fairly niche industry across the country. There aren’t too many. But they can be a great experience for a family, couple or group of friends looking for a new experience. It’s definitely different than any other type of restaurant.
So, can you find good fondue in Kansas City? Yes, you can. But before we get to that, let’s take a step back: what is fondue, and where did it come from?
The Surprising Story of Fondue
Fondue, while it can be made with different recipes, is essentially melted cheese served in a large pot that you dunk food in using very long forks.
The origins of fondue are contested. You probably weren’t expecting to learn about competing theories for the invention and spread of fondue, but it’ll make your Kansas City fondue restaurant experience even better to know where it came from. Plus, you’ll have a conversation starter in your back pocket for when the group sits down around the table. It’s a bit of a crazy story.
There is disagreement on multiple fronts about this melted meal. Some say it first showed up in a Swiss cookbook, while others say it was more a word-of-mouth creation by Swiss peasants looking to make the most of their few ingredients. The larger disagreement, though, comes from Switzerland’s neighbors, the French, who some claim invented the modern version of fondue that we know today. That debate, however, was ultimately put to rest when the Swiss Cheese Union (really) declared fondue the national dish of Switzerland.
But hold on, there’s more. The Swiss Cheese Union operated as, essentially, a cheese cartel. This group determined who could or could not sell cheese, and what type of cheese could be sold. After World War II, dairy production was the driving force of the entire country’s economy. The Cheese Union dominated the Swiss economy for decades, governing market rates for their cheese products and pushing fondue as a national meal to drive profits.
So, it was through the concerted effort of a group of Swiss cheese strongmen that fondue traveled to America and was discovered at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. From there, the dish gained prominence in American culinary culture, resulting in a group of niche fondue restaurants, and ultimately resulting in your search for fondue restaurants in Kansas City.
Crazy, right? Hopefully this history makes for a great discussion when you’re dunking bread into your fondue in Kansas City.
Fondue Restaurant in Kansas City
Now that you understand the heritage of your meal, you’ve got to find the right place to eat it. As we said, fondue restaurants are a niche industry. You only have a few options for fondue in Kansas City.
The Melting Pot offers Kansas City’s premiere fondue dining experience. This restaurant began as a family endeavor in Florida in 1975. Since then, it has expanded all over the country. The Melting Pot offers a variety of savory and sweet fondue dishes at its Plaza location on Ward Parkway. It is Kansas City’s only fondue-specific restaurant.
There are other places to find fondue in Kansas City, except as a menu feature rather than the focal point of the restaurant. Several spots offer fondue as an appetizer, and restaurants like Andre’s Confiserie Suisse have a fondue night each month.
How Fondue Restaurants in Kansas City Work
Your experience at a fondue restaurant in Kansas City is going to be different from any other night out. Instead of ordering individual items, the table will order one or more pots of fondue. These are placed in the middle of the table on top of a built-in heating element, which could be a stovetop or open flame. You decide which menu items sound best for dipping, and order those, too.
To enjoy your fondue, you’ll be given fondue forks, which are basically skewers with a two-pronged fork on the end. Then, it’s time to dip away and enjoy the cheesy goodness. If you haven’t had enough, you can order chocolate fondue for dessert.