The West Bottoms has a rich history of commerce in the Kansas City area, particularly due to the stockyards and grain bins that used to inhabit the neighborhood. In present day, though, it’s a scene quickly becoming known for its eclectic shopping and dining. While the area is frequently flooded with food trucks and pop-up stands catering to the weekend crowds looking for antique bargains, the brick and mortar West Bottoms restaurants can—and should—be considered a real draw of the area.
If you’re looking to make friends with the locals:
When the West Bottoms isn’t flooded with antique shoppers on First Fridays, it’s a small community of the people who live and work there on a daily basis. Always happy to share their version of the “real” neighborhood, the staff and patrons at the following hot spots make these West Bottoms restaurants the first places you should stop:
Based on a love of quality coffee and motorcycles, one might be excused for assuming that entrance to Blip requires a bike — or at least a really cool leather jacket. On the contrary, though, Blip’s employees and customers alike are some of the friendliest and most welcoming in Kansas City. At the very least, you’ll leave with a great cup of coffee, but you’ll most likely leave with some new friends and recommendations for other West Bottoms restaurants to check out.
Steak, tacos, sandwiches, hot dogs — Lucky Boys has all the bar food a person could want, and then some. But while the food is good, and the drinks are strong, the bar is wonderfully eclectic in a way that only a West Bottoms restaurant could be. The decoration alone makes this local hangout a must.
If you’re looking to grab a drink:
Visitors will find that many West Bottoms restaurants focus more on drinking than eating, and we’re advocates of that idea. If you’re in the area and looking for a place to try a new cocktail or grab some beers with friends, we recommend any of the following:
Stockyards Brewing Co.
As you might have guessed by the name, Stockyard Brewing Company operates behind a 65-year-old meat locker in a custom-built brewhouse. Its bar and taproom is located on the first floor of the Live Stock Exchange building, and is the perfect place to knock back a few craft beers and enjoy some of Kansas City’s vibrant architectural history.
Those in the know are aware of The Ship’s infamous story: It was originally opened shortly after Prohibition, and though it has switched locations, much of the original décor has been preserved. Those who don’t know the history can appreciate the hole in the wall all the same. Accessible by a rickety entrance in a small alley, the bar houses a perfect place to pass an hour or two — or possibly the whole day — drinking with friends.
Amigoni Urban Winery
Located in the historic Daily Drover Telegram Newspaper building, Amigoni is not the stereotypical winery. The grapes are grown in the Amigoni Vineyard, which is 60 miles east of Kansas City, and transported back to the winery and tasting room, where visitors can enjoy wine tastings and tours six days a week.
If you’re looking to impress your date:
West Bottoms restaurants that have consistent hours are few and far between, as food trucks and pop-ups are more the flavor of the neighborhood during First Fridays. However, these two are staples of the area and are sure to impress:
Chef J BBQ
This weekend-exclusive restaurant is a meat-lovers paradise. Chef J BBQ recommends ordering the delicious meat by the 1/4 pound or 1/2 pound to satisfy your hunger. Craving something a little sweet? The “Best Ever Banana Pudding” and the “Chef J Peanut Butter Pie” are staples at this BBQ restaurant.
Voltaire describes itself as a “global eatery and purveyor of libations,” and this alone should indicate the restaurant’s rich array of cocktails, liquors, wines and desserts. Visitors can also expect menu items like Spanish octopus, foie gras torchon, and black sea bass. We recommend snagging a reservation ahead of time.