Southwest Boulevard is arguably the most historic street in Kansas City. It is one of many — did you know Kansas City has more miles of boulevards than LA? — that cut through the downtown area. Thanks to its odd angle carving diagonally through the Crossroads and its wealth of restaurants and bars, Southwest Boulevard stands above the rest.
You could spend months working your way up and down the boulevard and still miss some of the great Southwest Boulevard restaurants. We can’t even cover them all here. But, this guide to Southwest Boulevard restaurants will help you plan your next meal out on this historic street.
Southwest Boulevard Restaurants
Whether it is a packed evening at First Fridays, a night out with friends or a sunny Saturday exploring Kansas City, Southwest Boulevard is a great destination. There are coffee shops and breakfast spots, lunch tacos and delicious dinners and more on this strip.
Perhaps no group of restaurants defines the area more than the Mexican restaurants on Southwest Boulevard.
Mexican Restaurants on Southwest Boulevard
Kansas City has more culinary diversity than most people assume, but it tends to be spread out. There isn’t a French quarter or Chinatown with a high density of specific cuisine. Southwest Boulevard, however, is one of the closest districts Kansas City has to a little Mexico. Mexican restaurants on Kansas City’s Southwest Boulevard are packed in there, and they’re all delicious. Here are several you should try.
- Manny’s Mexican Restaurant: Manny’s has been holding it down on the corner of Southwest Boulevard and 20th Street for more than three decades, making it one of the most historic Mexican restaurants on Southwest Boulevard. This family-owned joint serves authentic Mexican food every day except Sunday, with a happy hour from 3:30 to 6:30 on weekdays.
- La Bodega on Southwest Boulevard: La Bodega is an upscale joint serving traditional Hispanic foods and delightful tapas. It’s best to go as a group and split a bunch of dishes between the whole table. Pro tip: bottomless mimosas on Sunday.
- Margarita’s on Southwest Boulevard: Look for the bright red brick building with the green awning and you’ll find Margarita’s, an old-school Mexican restaurant with great food and drinks. While you there, you need to try the margarita, obviously. It’s one of the best in town.
- Ponak’s: Ponak’s has been satisfying Kansas City customers since 1975, serving up, by their own estimation, six million tacos and 280,000 gallons of margaritas. The menu items are influenced by the Sonora region of Mexico, a culinary tradition with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and straightforward cooking. No frills here, just great flavor.
- Empanada Madness: This restaurant hasn’t been around as long as some of the historic spots on the Boulevard, but don’t let its youth stop you. Empanada Madness is straight-up delicious, serving Venezuelan-style empanadas along with Peruvian and Colombian entrees. If you have never been, this is a truly unique food experience that you shouldn’t pass up.
- Taqueria Mexico on Southwest Boulevard: A classic hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant on Southwest Boulevard. Stop in for chips and salsa with fajitas, flautas or the crowd-favorite chile relleno. And if you like Mexican food with a seafood influence, this is spot for you.
But wait, there’s more. While these are some of the most popular Southwest Boulevard Mexican Restaurants, you should also consider:
More Restaurants on Southwest Boulevard
We know that’s already an overwhelming amount of restaurants. There’s almost no way that you’ll be able to cover them all. But wait, there are more Southwest Boulevard restaurants you should know about.
If you’re not in the mood for Southwest Boulevard’s Mexican food offerings, here are a few other local restaurants you could try:
- Danny Edward’s BLVD BBQ: It may not have name recognition of Joe’s KC or Arthur Bryant’s, but Danny Edward’s BLVD BBQ has all of the flavor you could ask for. This classic barbecue shack has been serving customers on Southwest Boulevard for more than 35 years. They are specifically known for their ribs, so order a rack and enjoy. But you’ll have to get there early — Danny Edward’s is only open until 3 p.m.
- Minksy’s on Southwest Boulevard: There’s no “Kansas-City-style pizza,” but Minsky’s may be the closest you can get to a signature slice for KC. They have been slinging pies around Kansas City for more than 40 years, and the Minsky’s Pizza Southwest Boulevard location is a good stop for anyone craving pizza.
- Café Gratitude: One of the most environmentally-minded and ethically-sourced eateries in Kansas City, Café Gratitude serves vegetarian and vegan dishes on Southwest Boulevard. The food is, according to their website, 100 percent organic and sourced from local farmers whenever possible. Even the way the café is constructed has a focus on sustainability, with rows of solar panels powering the building, tables made from reclaimed wood and biodegradable to-go utensils.
- Town Topic: Okay, we know Town Topic is technically around the corner on Broadway, but we can’t talk about Southwest Boulevard restaurants without mentioning this iconic burger stand. You’ll feel like you took a step back in time in this old-school diner that has been serving Kansas City 24-7 for more than 75 years. No need to be adventurous; just go with the burger.
Boulevard Brewing Company
Southwest Boulevard’s most famous and beloved namesake, Boulevard Brewing Company, is a staple of Kansas City. Boulevard was founded in 1989, a time when the beer-boom we are all familiar with today was far from inevitable. There was already a massive brewery on the other side of the state, and no one believed a place like Missouri needed two breweries. Still, Boulevard pressed on. As we know today, the naysayers were dead wrong.
Boulevard Brewing Company is not only one of the largest brewers in the Midwest, but also an iconic image associated with the identity of Kansas City. This beer runs through the veins of KC (at a legal level).
When you’re looking for Southwest Boulevard restaurants, you can’t go wrong with the Beer Hall at Boulevard. Grab a pint of your favorite or try one of the brews that is only available at the Beer Hall. You can order from a menu of classic bar snacks while you’re drinking.
Enjoy Southwest Boulevard Restaurants Today
Kansas City is booming. We’re overflowing with creative individuals, unique businesses and diverse cultures. The restaurant scene in Kansas City may be overlooked nationally, but us locals know we’ve got something good going. We hope you enjoy some of the Southwest Boulevard restaurants Kansas City has to offer on your next night out.