Red Snapper (8430 Ward Pkwy)

 Posted by at 3:01 pm
Jun 022008

I couldn’t believe it when people started telling me this place was good. You know why?

The sign.

Tell me this doesn’t look like a pathetic Red Lobster rip-off joint. I mean, the font is even the same! Located just north of the Ward Parkway mall, Red Snapper sits in a newish, sterile and unappetizing strip mall that would be just as comfortable at College and Quivira. You know, the kind of place you might find, oh I don’t know, one of these?

But there I was this past week after a long hard morning looking futilely for a seersucker suit (guy at Dillard’s: “I haven’t seen one of those in 15 years!”). Since I don’t patronize creepy Christian chains or partake in food court schmutz, I wound up at Red Snapper.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in–no nautical themed murals, hanging fishnets or porthole-shaped windows. Instead I found a very classy place, tastefully decorated and airy. Two giant, round fishtanks sit right inside the front door which was a little alarming, but they are pretty cool.

The lunch menu is small, well-priced and reasonably varied. I hesitate to use the term “pan-Asian” not because it isn’t appropriate but more because I don’t really know what it means. No really, this place is totally pan-Asian. The dinner menu is much more extensive and interesting than the lunch menu. There are dishes familiar to those who enjoy Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food. Maybe even a little whiff of Korea as well.

Their specialty is, well, red snapper. They offer a crispy red snapper on the lunch menu and I went for it. There is also a panko fried halibut which looked appealing as well.

The snapper was delicious. It came with a thin, light and crispy batter. Moreover it was the whole filet–plenty to eat. Unfortunately it came atop a rather pedestrian stir-fry. The assortment of vegetables was fine but the sauce was the usual nebulous brown gravy thickened with cornstarch that you find at any two-bit Chinese restaurant. Kudos for all the fresh ingredients, though. The only thing canned was the baby corn which, predictably I loathe. Landfills all over the USA are choked with decaying tons of baby corn, discarded uneaten from the plates of Chinese restaurant patrons.

Red Snapper gets props for the full bar too, although I would prefer more Asian beers than Sapporo. So I had to settle for a Heineken, the BMW * of beers.

My lunch companion had a more conventional stir-fry dish with tofu which was basically the exact same vegetables and sauce that I had under the snapper.

My instinct here is that Red Snapper is probably a better place for dinner because the menu is so much bigger and the atmosphere lends itself better to evening forays. They probably do a decent lunch business from all the folks going to and from the mall, not to mention all the office buildings down that way. But they keep it very simple, which is fine.

So overall a nice experience, decent but not overwhelming food, and a perfectly fine option if you find yourself hankering for pan-Asian grub down on Ward Parkway.

* overrated, big in the 80s, purchased by assholes

Read more:

Red Snapper on Urbanspoon


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May 282008

First spotted by Pomegranate, This place is now closed and has been replaced by “Pollo Loco.”

I have a problem with tamales.

Every Mexican joint I visit, I have order at least one. There is something about the texture of the masa, aroma of the leaf wrapper and the succulent meat filling that is unparalleled when done correctly.

It’s typically the old people who get together and make them, usually for special occasions. It’s a multi-hour process wherein kids can play with dough, grandmas can talk trash about their good for nothing kids, and lazy men can drink beer and watch sports. Like pierogies to the Polish, dumplings to the Chinese, and cucumber sandwiches to the WASPS, tamales are a simple but classic aspect of Mexican (and incidentally other Latin) cuisine.

And I’ve tried to make them a few times before. It wasn’t pretty, although one time they turned out well. It’s really best done with some help, cold Mexican beer, and serious humility because the whole thing can take hours and still utterly fail. Too much cold Mexican beer will do that.

At a delightful lunch a few weeks back with some fellow bloggers someone (Waldo?) brought up some kind of tamale place on Merriam drive. We discussed it for a minute or two then I sort of forgot about it.

Until the hankering hit me. I decided to find it, having never seen it, not knowing the name or even really where Merriam Drive was.

Turns out that this was a bad move. I’m not a JoCo boy, I only work out there, and Jesus it’s easy to get lost. There’s a perfectly good grid in place that gets ruined by streets like Merriam, Santa Fe, Shawnee Mission Parkway not to mention I-35. I’m also kind of an idiot, it turns out.

So by the time I found Coyoacan nestled in what I discovered was “downtown” Merriam, I had to get my meal to go due to time restrictions. Some of us work you know. Anyhow, Coyoacan has two business enterprises going on here, a small and very cute looking dine-in establishment that shares a kitchen with a glorified take-out window next door. The carryout side has a sign that reads “Tamales To Go” so it almost seems like a different place altogether. It’s not.

I expected a simple menu, but it actually is a full, standard looking Mexican assortment: tacos, enchiladas, burritos, the whole nine yards. But I saw the “tamale dinner” for 6.95 and decided it was mine. After shouting my order to a nice couple preparing food behind the counter, I waited for approximately 3 minutes before a styrofoam container full of deliciousness was delivered into my hot little hands.

I’m not gonna say that this is the best Mexican food in town because it ain’t. But this place is pretty special. Nothing disappointed me, particularly the tamales which were not covered in cheese sauce, ground beef or any other gross variation I’ve seen at other KC establishments. Yes there was a small amount of red ranchero sauce, tomato-y and subtle. The rice was well-cooked but fairly bland. The refried beans were very good, not too thick and certainly made from scratch.

The tamales themselves were small, which most authentic tamales are in fact. They were perfectly cooked but also not overly seasoned, but the filling of shredded pork was very nicely flavored, albeit subdued. Maybe my taste buds were having an off day. My brain does that some days too. In general I was very happy with the tamales, though it is disappointing (but much more convenient) not to unwrap them yourself.

Anyway, I really want to go back and dine-in. It looks small, but cutely decorated. Kind of like your Mexican grandma’s living room. Don’t have a Mexican grandma? Neither do I, and I regret it every day because she’d make way better tamales than I do.

Coyoacan on Urbanspoon

May 232008

We got a no-frills little Korean diner here that is the perfect joint for an informal lunch whilst running soulless, horrible shopping errands in the JoCo. Rainbow is located in that rambling and not particularly well-aging series of strip malls at Metcalf around 103rd. Directly across from the Sprawl-Mart. The restaurant itself is tucked back off the street in a smaller strip that includes a florist, liquor store, and a Jose Pepper’s Border grill and cantina.

For the record, I have never been, nor do i plan to ever eat at Jose Pepper’s Border grill and cantina. There is kind of a funny bio of the mythical Mr. Pepper on the front page of their website. But it only goes to prove that this place is about as Mexican as Chili’s. But they are local, which I didn’t realize. I’m thinking it’s like Taco John’s with beer. But believe me, I would LOVE to hear impassioned defenses of Jose Pepper’s on this blog. Why?

  1. Because I love when people love crappy places, it makes me me laugh. at them.
  2. Being unapologetic and self-deprecating about one’s tastes are attractive traits, and indeed are the hallmark of my generation.
  3. Sometimes I’m actually convinced.

Back to the matter at hand: a really drab, tiny little Korean lunch spot that sits down the walkway from Pepper’s. While the white people are down there eating deep fried tortillas filled with crap and covered in queso sauce, there are usually one or two tables of Korean folks enjoying a meal at Rainbow. Unfortunately for Mr. Rainbow, that’s usually about it. I’ve never seen the place even remotely crowded and I’ve been about 3 or 4 times.

Here’s where I fess up: I don’t know a hell of a lot about Korean food so I usually just guess at what sounds good. One time I went for something adventurous and wound up with a seafood stir fry in a black sauce made from what I can only assume was squid ink. Seriously. It was actually decently prepared but just not my personal taste or texture preference.

Yesterday I went safe and ordered bulgogi which is one of the more famous Korean dishes, along with Bi Bim Bop (which is great hangover food by the way).

Bulgogi is basically a beef and onion stir fry. Mine was really quite delicious and was accompanied by some steamed rice, and of course bok choy and daikon kim chi varieties. Korean food is really distinguished by its used of these pickled delicacies and really can’t be appreciated unless you partake. Korean dishes also have an affinity for the raw or lightly cooked egg which is another really great feature.

The atmosphere at Rainbow is…well…a little depressing. The booths came straight from an auction at a failed early 90’s Shoney’s restaurant and the decor is basically nonexistent.

However there is one highly entertaining and exciting exception: DORAEMON SAUCE BOTTLES! Who the hell is Doraemon? Shit I had no idea, but that’s what Google is for, unless you are some kind of creepy Japan-o-phile manga loving freak with a furry costume and some ilicit polaroids secreted in your mom’s basement. Anyhow, Doraemon is an insanely popular Japanese animated character who appeared in a series of 60’s-70’s cartoons. His charm and jaunty spriti quickly spread like wildfire across parts of Asia.

So every single table of the restaurant has a Doraemon-themed soy sauce bottle, rice vinegar bottle and matching tray. They are very informative as to who this Doraemon character is. The bottles read:

Doraemon the cat-like robot. he measures 129.3 cm around the belly. he was born on 3rd September 2112. He has many fantastic tools

Ok that explains it right? Well, check out the Doraemon episodes on Youtube, they are very inventive and funny. And he does have some crazy-ass tools.

Not sure if his birth in 2112 is related in any way to the most hilarious multi-part epic suite Canadian wackoids Rush ever made, but I’d be willing to guess that it is not. Doraemon would have a tool to destroy the Priests of Syrinx.

Back to lunch spots. Service here was extremely friendly and efficient. Kim Chi and water came out immediately, the food emerged lightening fast out of the kitchen and the bill was delivered as soonas I put the chopsticks down.

This is the only Korean place I’ve tried in the metro and I know there are others, so let’s hear about em.

Oh, and sorry for all the tangents, but you realize that rather than a restaurant blog, this is only a joke/humor blog, right?

Further reading: an more informed, discriminating and knowledgeable review over at Yelp

Read more:

Chung's Rainbow on Urbanspoon


Cafe Song: 7425 Quivira – CLOSED

 Posted by at 5:02 pm
May 052008

Cafe Song is now closed

Cafe Song is another entry in a rather impressive cadre of quality Vietnamese restaurants in the KC metro. I will say, however, that it is not my favorite among them.

Located near Quivira and 75th in a strip mall, it can be somewhat difficult to locate from the road. But it is a fairly sizable space with attractive, modern, but casual decor. I’ve been two times now and the place has been frighteningly empty on both occasions. The whole shebang appears to be staffed by two people: a youngish waiter with a pony tail (bad move dude) and a Vietnamese woman who does the cooking.

The menu attempts to be a little classier and more interesting than more traditional Vietnamese spots. There are at least 5 kinds of Ban Mih (basically a sandwich), but only a couple kinds of Pho (noodle soup) and Bun (cold noodle salad). They also feature wacky offering like meatball subs and hamburgers, and no, this is not the kids menu I’m talking about. The food is good here, but I’m not touching their meatball sandwich with a ten foot pole.

The food is good enough, but presentation and portions are a tad lacking. Pho comes with a whole assortment of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, etc. which is pretty typical. But the Bun dishes, usually accompanied by lovely piles of ground peanuts, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, meat, mint/cilantro, is merely a bowl of noodles with some shredded carrots and meat. Oh yeah, there is also some dried garlic sprinkled throughout which is actually an excellent addition.

So basically, it looks more like $5 meal than a $9 one.

For my money, Vietnam Cafe, Sung Son and Hien Vong are all better options. But for Johnson County, are there other Vietnamese gems out there?

So, basically underwhelming. I’ve put off reviewing this one for a while because there’s just not a lot to say either negatively or positively. I’m not one of those people who has something great to say about every meal I eat, not something bad to say for that matter. Cafe Song is nice, but I just don’t get real jazzed up about the prospect of going back often. It is not a good space to be a lone diner because it is so quiet and there’s nothing to look at except people walking into Starbucks and Planet Sub across the street. But maybe with a small group it would be more interesting.

All this being said, I’m really happy to see how many Vietnamese places there are, even in the reaches of Johnson County. I don’t think I’ve come close to visiting them all, but I will try.

Read more:

Cafe Song on Urbanspoon

May 022008

New York Deli has closed. Read this nice remembrance at Save The Deli

It was with much joy and anticipation that I sauntered into this venerable KC establishment that bills itself as “home of the awesome reuben.” The Reuben is totally Prince Among sandwiches in my book. I am hard pressed to think of another sandwich that brings me as much joy. That being said, a good one is hard to find. I like Harry’s Country Club and especially the Peanut for a good local reuben. But I have been driving by New York Deli and heard good things about it, so I would go there regardless of reuben availability.

Though no longer owned by the original family, NY Deli has been open for 103 years! It has been at 71st and Troost for about 60 of those years, a really remarkable achievement when you think about it. I read an article from a few years back that claims it is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Kansas City. And it is a very interesting place, seemingly unencumbered by the pressure of serving classic NY deli fare in a neighborhood that has changed from a far-flung Jewish enclave into a widely diverse community whose future is very much up in the air. This is my way of saying that the stretch of Troost in the 60’s and 70’s blocks have almost been completely ruined physically. Aging strip malls, parking lots, cheap billboards–it’s basically Wornall road without a lot of successful businesses, unless you count Walgreens. Well there’s also Soil Service, my favorite lawn and garden store in the city.

Anyhow, let all this suffice to say that NY Deli is a weird vibe. While there I saw a group of business-looking guys purchase an entire salami (for $40+) and a priest eating a sandwich the size of his head. The only noise in the place comes from human voices and a bank of refrigerated deli cases.

This is a place for a serious sandwich, and a seriously good one at that. The corned beef is absolutely perfect–seasoned, warmed, and sliced to perfection. Every sandwich has meat sliced to order which is stupidly hard to come by these days. There are not a lot of frills here. If you want more than bread, meat, cheese and condiment, you may be out of luck.

They also have excellent kosher dill pickles (2 w/sandwich!) and a number of interesting items like cucumber salad, pasta salad, Kosher beef hot dogs, and chopped liver. Apparently the brisket is something special according to this annoyingly earnest youtube video.

But I have a quibble with NY Deli’s “Awesome Reuben.”

It is not grilled.

Sorry folks but unless it’s grilled it’s just a corned beef sandwich. Don’t believe me? Check out this reuben photo gallery and tell me if you see one that isn’t grilled. I can appreciate their effort to be unique but it should be called “Home of the Awesome Corned Beef Sandwich” and that’s that.

But what a sandwich. First of all it is a triple decker, and even a blowhard like me can’t get his big mouth around it (dirtiest sentence ever?). The swiss cheese is slightly aged, not the tame, pale ‘baby’ swiss hocked at price chopper and its ilk. The dressing is basically comprised of generous swaths of grainy deli mustard and mayonnaise. I had a really hard time coming to terms with the amount of mayo on the sandwich because I hate the stuff. But the whole thing was good enough that I ate the entire sandwich. No leftovers.

I need to go back and check out the baked goods, which appeared to be fairly popular. Strangely enough, they only have one kind of bagel and it totally sucks. It’s basically a kaiser roll with a hole in the middle. But some of their sweet rolls look great. I’d also like to try the hot dogs and maybe some chopped liver on a brave day.

Further reading:
From the Pitch

Read more:

New York Bakery & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


Apr 252008

International Grocery/Taste of Russia has closed

This was an interesting lunch. I was driving east on 79th just beyond downtown Overland Park, heading god knows where when I saw this little spot I had not noticed before. There is a sign that reads “Taste of Russia.” Next to that is a sign that says “International Grocery.” In front of the door was a placard advertising $3.99 lunch specials with a free drink. A double-take and a u-turn later there I was. Here’s the story of how I went in pursuit of borscht and wound up with middle eastern food…

This place is absolutely nuts, and I loved it. A sign on the door in rambling, verbage described how they would honor any competitor’s coupons and would not be taken by scams or other unscrupulous business practices and so forth. Only the sign said it much less eloquently than that.

Inside was a small grocery full of all sorts of imported foodstuffs, vegetables in the sunset of their years, and items which can only be described as “knick knacks.” Very gaudy knick knacks. Anyhow, there was also a deli counter full of salamis, sausages, dried and pickled whole fish, and various other delights. But I wasn’t really getting a Russian vibe, mostly because the woman behind the counter was wearing an Islamic headscarf.

While waiting for the woman in front of me to remove 6 dozen coins from her handbag, count them, drop them, hand them over, take them back and hand them back again, I noticed that there were two tables by the front window with menus on them.

That’s right, just two tables.

I read the menu while the change-lady–who sure as hell isn’t Russian either–finally paid up. The menu was only barely making sense. “What’s good?” I ask the proprietess. “Kabobs” she replies.

Kabobs? I thought this was “Taste of Russia?” I mean, there was even a photo of Supreme Overlord Russian President Vladimir Putin behind the cash register. I asked about Russian food, and she indicated the “Salami, bologna kielbasas–stuff like that” is the Russian food. She didn’t sound too excited about it so I didn’t push my luck. I don’t want scary Russian bologna unless its prepared with love.

I ordered the kabobs.

She then told me it would take 15-20 minutes for her to prepare the meal. She disappeared behind a curtain for a long time. Someone came in the shop, looked at the menu and left. Someone else came in and talked (yelled) with the owner while she shopped. This was just too weird. I looked around the market while I waited and…hey wait, didn’t meesha post about Russian candy yesterday? Just went back and read the post and not surprisingly, he mentions Taste of Russia at the end. Is this like some kind of weird harmonic convergence? Anyhow, KC’s favorite Russian Jew is correct, there are a million kinds of candy at this place, easily 1/3 of their entire stock. I also discovered a hilarious soft drink called “Cockta” that I wanted to try but there was no bottle opener and the proprietor was hiding behind the magic curtain making my Russian kabobs or whatever. I was pretty much convinced this meal was going to be a disaster.

Jesus Christ that was a long wait, but finally the food arrived, steaming hot in a styrofoam container. And let me tell you, it was good, really good. If you had an Egyptian grandmother who was married to a Russian, this is what her food would taste like.

The kabob was very similar to the kind I had at Holyland Cafe, but came atop the most delicious rice dish I have ever had. The rice was cooked perfectly, and tasted simple and humble, complemented with nutty grains that looked like little brown squiggles, like…well, you ever seen fish poop? Anyway, there was also some chunky hummus which was surprisingly good and obviously made from dried garbanzo beans. The pita triangles were even toasted for my pleasure.

After I ate, I talked with the woman for a few minutes. She is indeed Egyptian and I couldn’t get a straight answer why there was a sign that said ‘Taste of Russia.’ outside. I asked about all the Russian foodstuffs, but she simply said “this is the international grocery, we have everything.”

This is definitely an odd experience, and I could go on and on, but I have rambled too much already. Basically, it’s a great little ethnic market that has a lot of stuff you won’t find anywhere else. I’m going to try the kielbasa next time, but I can’t imagine this will be a regular stop for me, just because the awkward atmosphere. But I’m very glad I went and think everyone should pop in when they are in the neighborhood. Buy some candy.

Read more:


Apr 182008

Well people, I made it. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing when it comes to places in Johnson County these days, but I seem to be really making the rounds out there lately. I’m still gunning for the third district spots, believe me, I just can’t really do it during the work week.

In a nutshell, Grandstand makes me a little jealous of Johnson County. And just to get things straight, the stretch of road that houses this humble little burger shack is not cupcakeland. It is total blue collar all the way. What amounts to “downtown” Merriam is little more than some auto repair shops, a lumber yard, a place that sells pavers and so forth, and a little hole in the wall that sells one of the best burgers in the metro.

Yes, I’ll admit that the mystique of the place contributes a lot to its appeal. You can fit approximately 5 people inside the place before you have to start exchanging phone numbers. Most people eat out on picnic tables, with a plastic bottle of ketchup and a handful of overly skimpy napkins. And this place cranks out the burgers. I was there about 1pm yesterday and they were doing a stiff business, half of which was carryout.

Ok, down to brass tacks. The bun is grilled. Condiments come on the sandwich and include lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, pickle, onion, and mayo. I always forego mayo because I think it is disgusting. I will never smooch anyone who likes mayonnaise. The cheese is American and prominent in the flavor symphony of the burger. The patty itself is clearly hand-formed and is the perfect size. Personally I don’t like thick “restaurant-style” burgers. I like them thin, and these are fairly thin but really a good size compared to places like Max’s and Town Topic. They offer double and even triple cheeseburgers as well. Wanna see the whole menu?

I ate my cheeseburger in, like, 38 seconds. I just couldn’t stop myself.

I do have a (minor) quibble with the fries. The are cheap, out of the bag, crinkle-cut fries. They cook them as well as you can possibly cook them, by which I mean they don’t undercook them, which everyone seems to do in this town.

No one likes a flaccid potato.

They just seem like cheap fries somehow. I mean Chefburger also uses frozen fries, but you get the feeling that they tried a lot of varieties and chose the best one. I think Grandstand just went for the cheapest that Sysco had to offer. The cheapness comes through in other ways too. For instance, I’m pretty sure that they are rockin’ the generic ketchup in those red bottles. I can just tell. Anyhow, next time I go for the tater tots.

You know elsewhere in the country it is rare to see tater tots on a restaurant menu. No shit. I came to KC a couple years back and all these goddamn places had tater tots–that totally kick ass. Does anyone know why? Does anyone recognize this for the cute little local culinary identifier that it is? Is this a nationwide trend that I only noticed just now?

Read more:

Grandstand Burgers on Urbanspoon


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The Mixx: 4855 Main St.

 Posted by at 2:20 am
Apr 172008

All I can say is that the Mixx is one of those places I will go to only grudgingly. Are you one of those people who enjoys:

going to popular movies on opening night?
the chaos of the Apple Store?
Oklahoma Joe’s on Saturday afternoon?
Disney World/Land?

You see, I’m not a people person. And when aforementioned “people” involve JoCo baby shower attendees, a plethora of three-year-old children and people eating lunch before seeing yet another boring white guy speak at the Plaza Library, well I get a little bit grumpy.

But the Mixx is totally good for those all too infrequent healthy/fresh cravings I get, particularly on weekend afternoons after a week of BBQ, Mexican food, brown-bag sandwiches, and deep fried delicasies. Well, at least I don’t eat snack cakes any more, unlike some other people.

This is one of those build-your-own salads places. This is something that is done to reasonably good effect at grocery store salad bars, but the Mixx takes it to the next level. They have some very nice ingredients that cannot be found in the average salad bar, not even the highly-praised whole foods variety. Yeah I eat at whole foods once in a while, so what? So basically you can go into the Mixx and order mixed greens, romaine or spinach; topped with a protein like grilled salmon or chicken, and your choice of any number of cheeses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It’s an airtight gimmick, it’s delicious and it works.

There is always a line at this place, they do a very good business. You have to order at the counter and your salad is made to order. But it can be slow-going. As my co-diner noted “they always act like they are so surprised to be busy.” And it’s true, it’s always a barely controlled mayhem behind the counter, but fortunately the staff is exceedingly kind, which almost makes up for paying $12 for a friggin salad.

Yeah, it ain’t cheap and you will spend that kind of money easily if you’re planning on drinking anything other than water. The desserts are a frequent temptation as well. I believe their cupcakes received one of those ubiquitous “best of” awards from the pitch a year or so back, and the cookies are excellent. But bring your goddamn wallet.

After recieving food from the counter you pay and navigate Kansas City’s most cacophonous dining room to find a place to sit. Seriously it’s so loud mostly becuase there are always tons of kids in there. And the table are, like 1 foot closer together than they should be so it’s always dicey keeping your salad bowl upright while squeezing past some oblivious, no-job-having aging beauty queen and her brood. Seriously the seating area is loud, which normally would be fine, but I just wish that a place so close to the library would be a little mellower. For instance, they sell beer, but I can;t imagine kicking back and having a few at the Mixx for chrissakes. It’s just not a fun place to hang out.

Being situated so close to the Plaza branch of the KC Public Library is great–it’s almost the default restaurant for the institution. I personally think it’s nice to be able to check out some books and read them over lunch at the Mixx. Or you have someplace to eat before/after a program at the Library. But the whole vibe there sort of bugs me. If they waited on me or had a salad bar, I might like it more. Yeah, crazy right?

Read more:

Mixx on Urbanspoon


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Apr 132008

In the food world Chicago is mostly known for this

But my favorite part of living (and eating) there was this monstrosity:

Italian Beef

Italian Beef

A big shout-out here to a reader and ex-Chicagoan who turned me on to Pizza Man and its truly delicious Italian Beef!

Just up the road a touch from Lenexa’s hilariously named Stonewall Inn, lies an unpretentious lunch spot that serves up some of the best humble lunch classics in true Chicago fashion and its beef is good enough to sate those unmistakable meat cravings associated with this glorious nugget of beefosity.

For the uninitiated, an italian beef is a sandwich consisting of shaved roast beef that has been cooked with italian spices. It is invariably accompanied by a thin, beefy jus infused with oregano, and topped with sauteed peppers and/or onions and/or giardiniera. Giardiniera itself is worthy of its own post, no-its own blog, but suffice it to say that it consists of pickled peppers and other vegetables. It can be hot or mild and often contains oddballs like cauliflower, carrots, green olives, capers…really anything.

photo Bella Baita B&B View on Flickr.

An italian beef can be served dry or wet (topped with a ladleful of jus) or dipped (dipped in the jus). Pizza Man serves the gravy on the side which works just fine for me. I know, wet bread? Sounds gross, but lemme tell ya people, it isn’t. It’s really really good. A lot of that has to do with the dense, spongy roll that is the carrier of all this deliciousness. It just works.

Pizza Man is a cool little place too. You order at the counter and Mr. Crusty at the counter (who really really really likes KU basketball) brings it out to you. The place was only a little busy but my beef did take a while to come out. And I got mine before the dude who was in front of me in line. Whatever, they got italian beef, man, they could tell me to fuck off and I’d still go back.

Anyway, there are a few arcade games in the joint too which you just don’t see enough of anymore. Oh, did I mention they sell beer? yeah I’m thinking about knocking back a few, eating italian beefs and playing galaga all weekend.

So Pizza Man gets a big thumbs up from me. And the menu is very sizable–lots of pizza as you can imagine, and chicago style hot dogs to boot. They also have meatball sandwiches and some other heart clogging cravables.

Meatball Sandwich

If you are hankering for more check out this web page of italian beef photos!

Or the Wikipedia Entry


Pizza Man on Urbanspoon


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Lunch Spots in the Third District

 Posted by at 5:25 pm
Apr 132008

I’ve been spending way too much time in Johnson County lately, at least as far as eating goes. About a year or so ago when the Viable Third movement started up I wanted to start exploring lunch spots in that area of the city. For various reasons, mostly involving a new job I have been unable to do much with the idea.

I started out blogging about downtown places precisely because of the apparent paucity of good, easy and delicious lunch options in the environs. Also I was new in town and seemed like a good way to explore what KC had to offer. Anyway, now I’m convinced that downtown has some decent options with some exploration and the solicitation of quality advice. Now I think I’ll make a concerted effort to try out the third district once in a while and blog about the lunch spots there.

The third district is known primarily for a couple barbecue joints and the restaurants in the 18th and vine area. Even though the Peachtree decided to move downtown, it proved that a good restaurant can thrive in that neighborhood, despite the other well-articulated problems of the “jazz district.” There are certainly other places that are well-known to those who live or work in the Third, and I want to know about them. There is a good list of restaurants on the viable third site and I’ve been to a few of them. What have your experiences been? Do you have favorites in the Third that are not on the list? Good or bad experiences with eating in the district?

Like any part of the city, the third district needs people from outside and inside the area to patronize its businesses in order to succeed. To me, it seems like a big reason people from Waldo or Lenexa or Leawood or KCK don’t go to the Third in numbers is because they don’t know what’s there. I won’t go into perceptions of race and crime because that varies with every individual-but it definitely plays a role.

Maybe there is not a lot to choose from, but I’ll warrant that there are a handful of restaurants that warrant our continued patronage. Let’s face it, Oklahoma Joe’s and McCoy’s won’t miss a few customers if they choose to eat somewhere else once in a while.