Food-Lover's Guide to Kansas City

The best markets, artisans, and shops for cooks

City: Kansas City Population: 476,000 (2 million metro) Local specialties: BBQ and meat in general, local produce, dairy

When you think about chowing down in Cow Town, the first thing that comes to mind is barbecue. Smoking and cooking meats of all shapes and sizes is a badge of honor in these parts and we are quite serious about the craft. That isn't to say there aren't other delicacies found in the area!

We're packed full of farmers supplying the country with amazing produce, and don't forget about the army of dairy farmers that keep us pumped full of tasty snacks. Our prices are inexpensive, our food is amazing and even though our mass transit isn't exactly awesome, you'll forget all about it after you've tasted the freshest of the fresh!

Foods You Must Try

• Locally Brewed Beer: Flying Monkey & Boulevard
• Barbecue: It's not cooking at home, but you'd hate to miss out while you were in town. Our favorites are: Oklahoma Joes, Arthur Bryants, Gates & Danny Edwards.
• Blueberries, Apples and Peaches from Sibley Orchards

Farmers' Markets

Downtown City Market: The regions largest and busiest market by far. You're sure to find the best of the season, make sure to go early to get best pick and avoid heavy traffic and parking jams.
The Bad Seed Farm & Market: This market is only open during First Fridays (except for classes) and is dedicated to providing foods grown sustainably in the immediate community. Boasts local organic delights including colorful fruits and veggies, baked goods, gourmet mushrooms, goat cheese, eggs and free-range meats.
39th St. Community Market: This is a Wednesdays only market, but takes great pride in providing only organic and sustainably grown product. A true asset to the neighborhood and a shining star in the community.
Parkville Farmer's Market: Go extra early as the regulars are morning birds and aim to get in and out fast.
KC Organics and Naturals Organic Market: Marking the 17th year of bringing the metro all organic, cream of the crop produce and product, this market is a sure bet to find something delicious!
Brookside Farmers' Market: The foot traffic to this market seems low in comparison to the quality of meats, eggs and produce that's on hand. Still slighty undiscovered and only really visited by the immediate neighbor hood, it's a perfect choice to hit up while being able to stay in the area for great shopping and cuisine.
Zona Rosa Market: Wedged in between a Victorias Secret and a Hot Topic, sits a Farmers Market that's a true hidden gem. Surrounded by shopping and more shopping, it might seem obscure at first, but there's something to be said for being able to pick up fresh goods and a new pair of pants at the same time.
Olathe Farmer's Market
Shawnee Farmers' Market
Independence Farmer's Market
Downtown Overland Park Market
Blue Springs Farmers Market:

Best Grocery Stores

Roeland Park Price Chopper: This store has some of the best produce, a mini farmers market and hands down one of the best selections on fresh produce, meats and cheeses.
Whole Foods There are several in the area now and carry the same wide variety that you would find at the Whole Foods near you.
Independence Hy-Vee: This store is particularly awesome at finding amazing deals on meat. Don't venture in unless you have room in your freezer.
Cosentino's Brookside & Downtown Markets: Both stores have a fabulous wine and liquor selection, not to mention gourmet to go foods and beautiful pastries.
China Town Food Market: This Asian grocery store carries a high volume of Asian fare, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Filipino, Malaysian, and Indian. There is also an excellent selection of fresh seafood on hand!

Specialty Shops of Note

McGonigle’s Market: They've been providing KC with one of the best meat selections in KC for half a century. Make sure to stop in for lunch for meats right off the grill!
Manila Grocery Company: Filipino Grocery at its finest. This is the place to go for those items you just can't find anywhere else for Asian cuisine!
Gilbert & Whitney: Nestled on the Independence Square, just east of downtown KC sits this specialty grocer that amongst their artisan products always has amazing clearance where buying special items are easy on the pocketbook!
Pryde's Old Westport: This store is wall to wall kitchen gadgets, linens, specialty items and fresh baked goods. Don't plan on leaving empty handed!

Independent Food Artisans

Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates: A trip inside the doors at CE's downtown location will leave you weak at the knees and planning your next vacation back. A must stop location for your travels.
Fresher Than Fresh Snow Cones: This small trailer holds some of the finest flavors in all of KC. Handmade artisanal snow cones that are worth the usually lengthy line!
Shatto Milk: It might be a small drive north of the city, but this dairy farm is worth the trip to see. Look for their glass bottles in all major grocery stores in the metro.
Flying Monkey Beer: Has a strong cult following of fanatics that will tell you it's hands down the best beverage in town.
Boulevard Beer: If you get the chance, take a tour (free) of the Brewery, along with a great brew, the architecture of their building is fantastic!

About The Kitchn's Food-Lover's Guides

We focus mainly on home cooking here at The Kitchn, and we know that one huge source of inspiration is travel. We want to give you ideas for things to eat and places to visit even when you're away from your home kitchen. We want to inspire your inner chef and introduce you to the best spots for food-lovers in a dozen or so major cities.

These guides don't deal with restaurants; there are plenty of other resources for that. These are the spots for food-lovers and cooks: the markets, specialty cookshops, and best small-batch artisans. If you're traveling in one of these cities this summer, we hope these guides help you find something inspiring. And if you live here, maybe you'll find a new resource to inspire your daily cooking!

We need your help, too, with these guides. Each city's thread will have at least some recommendations, but of course they will be incomplete. So we need your insider help. Tell us where the best markets, food shops, jam-makers, brewers, butchers, independent groceries, bakery supply stores, and quirky, strange, out-of-the-way food experts are. What are your favorite places to shop, as a cook?

(Images: Flickr Members Adam Kuban, art and chel licensed for use under Creative Commons, Sarah Rae Trover)

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Sarah Trover has lived all across the Midwest and currently calls the hot dog-laden city of Chicago home. She rides scooters and seeks out kitchens that make the best pie.