When it comes to all things entertainment in Kansas City, the Crossroads Arts District is the mothership. Best known for its art galleries, boutiques, creative businesses and novel restaurants, the area’s dining options are unparalleled. Formerly home to Hollywood studios such as MGM, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and more, the district housed tenants that were major players in the film industry, earning it the name “Film Row.” When art galleries began to take over the abandoned buildings in the 1980s, the Crossroads Arts District was born. And while the arts are certainly still a major industry for the area, there’s another game in town now: Crossroads Kansas City restaurants.
Infamous Crossroads KC Restaurants
On the first Friday of each month, masses flock to the district to take in art shows, vendors, food trucks and more. It’s a busy weekend, and it’s helped to form the local opinion of the crossroads KC restaurants. Whether you’re around for First Fridays or not, there are four restaurants in the Crossroads you absolutely can’t miss:
It’s not uncommon for restaurants to dub themselves “taverns” and then not live up to expectations, but that’s not the case here. Think brick walls, traditional wooden furniture, and a beautiful bar, complete with exquisite food and a casual setting. Whether you’re craving cheese curds or organic Scottish salmon, it’s an excellent place to spend some quality time with your friends or family while you plan out which art gallery you’ll visit next.
Lulu’s was voted the best Asian restaurant in Kansas City by The Pitch, and it shocked approximately no one. It’s been around for roughly 25 years, and it’s the last word on traditional Thai dishes in KC.
If you claim to be a fan of Mexican cuisine, you can’t live in or visit Kansas City without stopping in at Manny’s. Over the past 30 years, it’s hard to say which has become more of a fan favorite: the margaritas or the friendly atmosphere.
Think of an old-fashioned hamburger joint that emerged in the ‘30s selling hamburgers for a nickel each. Now picture the Crossroads Arts District developing around the little restaurant as it stuck true to its original menu. We can’t tell you the hamburgers still cost a nickel and expect you to believe it, but the food and atmosphere is certainly much the same as it was back then.
The Freight House Crossroads KC Restaurants
While still technically members of the Crossroads Kansas City restaurants family, the Freight House Kansas City restaurants are a category of their own. With 25-foot ceilings and unbeatable views, the former railroad houses are now home to some of the finest dining options in the city.
There may not be a more frequently argued topic in Kansas City than which spot has the best barbecue, but no one will deny that Jack Stack is a top contender. With both indoor and outdoor seating as well as a fireplace lounge with a full-service bar, there’s no part of Fiorella’s Jack Stack that isn’t designed with a wow factor in mind. Good luck choosing your dish; we couldn’t even begin to tell you our favorites.
Lidia’s has been voted the most popular Italian restaurant in the city by Zagat Guide for the last five years and counting. It’s not particularly surprising; the seasonal, daily-made fresh pastas are out of this world, and that’s not even touching on the roasted veal shank. Pro tip: If you’re looking to wow a date, Lidia’s is your spot.
There aren’t many places to find authentic Germanic cuisine in the Midwest, but even if there were, it’d be hard to compete with Grunauer. The arched wooden ceilings alone are enough to make the trip worth it, but the chance to sample some of the finest Austrian cooking in the States makes Grunauer an experience all of its own.
Newcomers to the Crossroads
There’s also something new brewing in the Crossroads — sometimes literally. Whether that’s a new microbrewery, a taco joint or a restaurant concept that will blow your mind, this district is constantly on the rise.
Part art gallery, part nightclub, Society is a new restaurant, bar and event space with “a sophisticated edge.” Located just off Southwest Boulevard, Society is set to make a big splash in the Crossroads KC restaurant scene this summer.
If creative local beers, tasty food and good vibes are your thing, check out City Barrel in the East Crossroads. This brewery focuses on flavors you aren’t likely to find in other beers, and the food menu is pretty great, too.