A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC

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Sfreader
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2008/03/04 14:54:39 (permalink)

A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC

This past weekend was my last free weekend in the KC area for a few weeks, so I decided to revisit a number of restaurants that I haven't visited since before starting my Kansas Travel website.

First up on Friday evening was Fritz's Chili in Overland Park. Fritz's a unique restaurant with a product you won't find many places. The Fritz family has operated the restaurant for 41 years, and it is the only place the current owner has ever worked.



The fixtures all date back to the opening, and give the place high marks for Roadfood atmosphere.

The "chili" is different. Few would call it chili. It is lightly seasoned, crumpled ground beef, served with or without beans. That is it! Anything else is what you add to the plate of hamburger - vinegar, cheese, onion, etc.





They have had enough people unhappy with the product, that they offer newcomers a sheet explaining what they serve. But is it locally popular, particularly with people of a certain age.

This place is worth visiting, for the whole package of what it is. Its not one I want to visit often, but one to remember. I added a page for it as a memorable Kansas restaurant (including the story of the restaurant going back to Dixon's Chili in the early 1900s) at http://www.kansastravel.org/fritzschili.htm


Next up on Saturday was 7th Street Bar B Q in Kansas City, Kansas. Also known as Quick's 7th Street Bar B Q, this little restaurant with old fixtures was started in 1951. One of the original owner's sons operates this place today. Another son has a place I visited later in the weekend.





7th Street holds its own on atmosphere and tradition, but for me, the que doesn't measure up. The meat doesn't have the flavor that I expect in KC pit BBQ. The mild taste may appeal more to folks that only occasionally eat BBQ.



I had a combo beef and pork sandwich, two ribs, fries and beans. The beans and fries were both a bit above average, but not worth a special trip.



Since I would be eating a lot in just a couple of days, I got a pint of the chili to go. I finally got around to the chili last night. It was some of the best chili I have ever had. Just a few beans and lots of meaty flavor. Flavorful, but not hot - but that is fine, I can always had pepper or hot sauce.

If the chili was something featured and served year around, I would be much more interested in 7th Street.

Still to come - a vintage meat market, Tigers, and much more BBQ.

Keith
#1

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    buffetbuster
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/04 15:10:58 (permalink)
    Sfreader-
    I'm glad you are starting to post about your eating adventures, because I know you visit lots of interesting places. And you take such good photos, too.

    That chili at Fritz's looks interesting and I think I would like it, although I might have to add a few things to it.

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the report!
    #2
    Sfreader
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 13:35:13 (permalink)
    Thank you for the kind words, buffetbuster. I wasn't sure how appropriate this report was.

    My next stop was directly across the street. Bichelmeyer Meats opened 1946 and is operated today by Joe and Jim Bichelmeyer. There is a 60' long counter with 10 stations for wrapping purchases. I went there particularly to try the sausages, but they also smoke slim Jims, beef jerky, 7 kinds of bacon, pork loin and pork chops. They slaughter a minimum of 30 pigs per week. They also raise cattle, and offer custom slaughtering & aging.



    They serve a large, local Hispanic population. And have a small counter at the end where cooked Mexican food is sold. The nice man that waited on me never spoke a work of English and I did my purchase by pointing at items and holding up my fingers to late him know how many I wanted.

    I purchased three types of sausage: old world Polish, hot spicy polish and garlic knockwurst. My purchases were wrapped in buther paper and tied with string. I think it has been over 40 years since a butcher last tied my order with string.





    Trying them over the past two days, the old world Polish sausage was my favorite. Next time, I want to try some of their bacon.


    From Armordale, I drove down to Merriam Lane to get some exterior photos of Quick's Bar-B-Q (run by another of the late Earl Quick's sons). I would return for supper, but wanted some photos while it was daylight.



    Driving down Merriam Lane, I passed a couple of interesting burger joints that may be visited another time, and stopped by Woodyard Bar-B-Que.



    Woodyard is popular with several of the folks here at Roadfood.com. Although I think their set up is cool, I have been less impressed with their meat and decided to see if I like it any better after 2 1/2 years.







    Since I was eating two big meals on Saturday, I got their items to go" half dozen wings, and something new - burnt end chili.

    The chili sounded so good to me, that as soon as I got home I tried it. But I was expecting chili made with burnt ends. Instead it was a serving of chili with beans, with a layer of burnt ends laid on top. It didn't work for me. I am a chili fan, but didn't finish this. I microwaved and ate the wings the following evening. They were much as I remembered, with a strong smokey taste which I like.

    Still two more BBQ places to go...
    #3
    cecif
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 13:51:26 (permalink)
    Great stuff & VERY nice pics! Thanks.
    #4
    CajunKing
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 14:57:21 (permalink)
    Sfreader

    I haven't been to Fritz's Chili in about 10 years, good to see the place is still going strong, the "Chili" is definately a local taste.


    I really hope Woodyard BBQ is not smoking with pinon wood

    Edit: I went back and looked at the pix again, looks like he is just selling the pinon wood, not smoking the food in it.
    #5
    susanll
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 15:00:18 (permalink)
    Help me out CK. What is Pinion wood? And why would it bad to use?
    #6
    buffetbuster
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 15:10:57 (permalink)
    CajunKing-
    It seems like you have been everywhere.....twice!

    Sfreader-
    Keep the great report coming.....very much enjoying it!

    #7
    1bbqboy
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 15:25:04 (permalink)
    My best friend's brother is married to a (female)Quick and I went to HS with Marty. Don't know whether he's involved in any of them. Maybe the 34th St one. I am revealing my age
    [|)]
    Good work, Keith.
    #8
    HotDogHead
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 15:53:47 (permalink)
    Nice post. I'm looking forward to the next installment. That Fritz's chili looks good.
    #9
    Sfreader
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/05 16:24:24 (permalink)
    Ron Quick has Quick's on Merriam Lane. It was the second one opened. Edward McLain is the son (don't know the story on his last name) that has 7th Street. BTW I was in error. It didn't open in 1951, it was 1964.

    Saturday evening I returned to Quick's Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas. This restaurant isn't quite as old as 7th Street. This location is the better known, but it has still been many years since I stopped in.



    Although Quick's has only a small counter in the front room, where takeout food is picked up, it has a fairly large dining room which was added onto the original building.

    The menu has many interesting items, and that evening I tired hot wings, a beef & ham combo sandwich, one pork rib and fries. The beef was just average, but the ham and rib were both above average. I rarely go for ham at BBQ joints, so liking this one was significant. All three of the smoked items had good flavor from the cooking - the flavor doesn't all come from the sauce.



    Even the chicken wings (which turned out to be pre-prepared - not fresh) were better than I expected. But my favorite item was the fresh fries. Wedge cut, but not huge wedges like some places prepare.

    The sauces both have more flavor than 7th Street. One sauce is unlabeled, the other is marked sweet. They are both fairly sweet, with the one marked "sweet" tasting much like KC Masterpiece original. The unmarked one is only slighty hot, with a bit more vinegar & tomato taste.

    I decided that I was going to write up this location for my own website, but there were still too many items untried on the menu. So I went back last night (the sacrifices I make for art!).

    I first asked about the tenderloin, but although the server said it is very good good, I wasn't interested in something that had been pre-made. Instead I had a bologna sandwich (hickory smoked, then deep fried), hot dog (1/2 pound spiral cut and deep fried, served on a huge bun), more of the great fries and an order of chili.

    The bologna sandwich and hot dog were both good, but probably not things I will repeat. But the generous order of chili was very good and something that I want to have again.

    They serve chili year around, so I will probably be back in a few weeks. On the same visit, I will try the hickory smoked, then deep fried chicken.

    Quick's also had the best service of any place visited this weekened.



    Sunday morning I drove down to Hillsdale, a small unincorporated community, 20 miles south of Olathe. This weekend was the seasonal reopening of Hillsdale Bank Bar B-Q. (I wonder how many spellings of BBQ there are?)



    This is the 19th season for the restaurant which closes from Christmas through February. In season, they only open 3 days a week, Friday - Sunday.

    The dining room of the restaurant is in a 1906 bank building, with the restrooms in the vault. The kitchen and lobby are in a slightly newer adjacent building, and a caboose that is attached to the far side of the newer building has additional interesting dining spaces.



    This was my best que of the weekend. Their spicy sausage was good (though a bit overpriced as an appetizer). The burnt ends and the single rib that I tried were extremely good. Their burnt ends are not chopped like many local places. It is pulled. Yes there was quite a bit of fat, but the flavor was SO good.



    They have two sauces. Sweet and hot. Both are sweeter than most, and I preferred a mixture of the two. They also did an above average job on the French fries.


    Finally, I drove east to Louisburg, Kansas to revisit Cedar Cove. Cedar Cove is a large-cat refuge. Not a zoo, it is there to care for animals that are no longer wanted. But they are open to the public for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. For $5/person, you get personal tour and can take as long as you want.





    They have 10 tigers (Bengal & Siberian), 4 cougars, 2 bobcats, 2 leopards and a Caracal. To bring this back to the subject of the rest of the trip - the tigers each eat up to 40 pounds of meat, every other day. The refuge relies on contributions of expired meat from some of the area supermarkets and are always looking for more. They even collect road kill if called in time.

    The Tigers have a lot more room than is shown in these photos. They have a football field sized enclosure for running individulally. Tigers are not communal animals in the wild.





    Thats all!

    Keith
    #10
    mr chips
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/06 11:04:07 (permalink)
    These are reports that help me stay on roadfood. The input of locals about great places to eat in their area always enhances a trip. BT and Bill Voss have made trips to the Tucson area and the Oregon's Rogue Valley infinitely more interesting with their dining tips.
    #11
    firecommander3565
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/06 11:13:28 (permalink)
    Great report, nice pictures with great insight!! Top Shelf!
    #12
    CajunKing
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/06 13:47:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by susanll

    Help me out CK. What is Pinion wood? And why would it bad to use?


    Pinon wood is a slow growing evergreen, found in the southwest and southern Colorado. Pinon does produce a very aromatic smoke, which is a great flying insect repellant. It is great for outdoor fire rings and chimneas.

    HOWEVER

    The smoke from these types of wood contain large amounts of TAR and RESIN, which in the immortal words of Alton Brown "Not Good Eats".
    They also are stronger carcinogens than hard woods.

    Always use hard woods in smoking meats, poultry and fish.
    #13
    CajunKing
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/06 13:52:54 (permalink)
    Keith

    Great job on the report, it was fun to read and follow your adventures, when i am out that way again I will have to look you up.



    #14
    Sfreader
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/07 08:44:00 (permalink)
    I look forward to it, CajunKing.

    Keith
    #15
    ann peeples
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/07 08:49:54 (permalink)
    Wonderful and interesting report! Glad you shared with us..
    #16
    JAKE91
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/07 11:32:25 (permalink)
    I just had to ask...who is the genius petting the 700 lb."always hungry" tiger?



    #17
    buffetbuster
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/07 11:39:47 (permalink)
    Jake-
    Or as his friends now like to call him, "Lefty"!
    #18
    firecommander3565
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/07 11:47:09 (permalink)
    Looks like "Dog the Bounty Hunter" to me LOL
    #19
    CajunKing
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/07 15:16:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    CajunKing-
    It seems like you have been everywhere.....twice!


    Bwa Ha Ha Ha Ha

    This coming from the man that has over 300 more RF restaurants to his credit than I do!!!

    I only wish I could be like you!

    #20
    pigface
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/08 18:03:51 (permalink)
    I see that Paw hanging out side of the cage ... On a sleeping Puma
    Makes me want to go over to the chair with our sleeping Puma ...
    Yes, they do bite ... [|)]
    #21
    leethebard
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/08 21:33:53 (permalink)
    That was strange looking chili indeed! What did it taste like???
    #22
    zataar
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/08 21:45:35 (permalink)
    Well, it doesn't taste like much unless you add lots of the other offerings. But there is something about adding all of those condiments to make it your own that is appealing. Fritz's does what they do. It's up to you how much flavor you want to add. That's part of the charm.
    #23
    leethebard
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/09 07:47:15 (permalink)
    That's an interesting idea...I guess.
    #24
    1bbqboy
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/09 10:22:27 (permalink)
    Lee, here's a little history of Dixon's:
    http://jaspermirabile.blogspot.com/2007/11/live-from-dixons-chili-parlor-with-walt.html
    .......Now, a little about Dixon's. Vergne Dixon opened a chili parlor on the corner of 15th and Olive, in Kansas City, in August, 1919. It had a counter, with six stools, running along one side. Dixon's recipe was for a dry, thick chili, made with ground beef and beans, cooked together and seasoned lightly. He did not allow catsup in his parlor, nor did he allow smoking, reading a newspaper (no newspapers were allowed!), or talking on the telephone (there was no telephone!). He wanted his customers to eat their chili without interruption and make room for others on the six stools.

    Dixon's became a favorite place of President Harry Truman beginning sometime in the 1920s. When he was President, Truman sometimes ordered takeout chili from the Presidential Ssuite at the Muehlebach Hotel. His most celebrated visit to Dixon's occurred on December 23, 1950. Reporters and photographers watched and took pictures, while the President of the United States, ate a big plate of Dixon's 'Chili Spread over Tamales'.

    Vergne Dixon died in 1964. His great niece Terri sent a big container of chili to Truman every year on his birthday. The original store at 15th and Olive was closed in 1969. During the 1970s, Dixon's became a chain of as many as 16 parlors. By 1999, only one parlor remained, on the corner of U. S. Highway 40 and Blue Ridge Cutoff. Framed photographs and clippings on two walls reminded customers of the parlor's great days, when Harry Truman sat with friends and enjoyed Dixon's 'Chili Spread on Tamales'.
    #25
    Sfreader
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/13 16:37:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    His most celebrated visit to Dixon's occurred on December 23, 1950. . Reporters and photographers watched and took pictures, while the President of the United States, ate a big plate of Dixon's 'Chili Spread over Tamales'.


    One of those photos was published in Life magazine.

    Keith
    #26
    Sfreader
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/15 10:29:11 (permalink)
    Just a follow up on Quick's BBQ. I revisited last night to try a few more of the highlights on the menu.

    The hickory smoked, then deep fried chicken wasn't what I expected. It was deep fried without a coating and served covered in BBQ sauce. The pieces were on the small side, and except for the breast, not as juicy as I would have liked. The flavor was OK, and I might get it again.

    A quarter pound side of smoked sausage ($2,95) was larger than a quarter pound. I made a generous sandwich of it and had several small pieces left. It had been sliced before it was smoked, so there was more flavor than those that smoke then slice.

    The onion rings were OK, but pre-made:-(

    Keith
    #27
    Davydd
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2008/03/15 11:42:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sfreader

    The "chili" is different. Few would call it chili. It is lightly seasoned, crumpled ground beef, served with or without beans. That is it! Anything else is what you add to the plate of hamburger - vinegar, cheese, onion, etc.



    They have had enough people unhappy with the product, that they offer newcomers a sheet explaining what they serve. But is it locally popular, particularly with people of a certain age.

    Keith

    My first reaction was that looks like a Maid-Rite or loosemeat without the bun. Does the sheet they offer explain how it is made and seasoned? Is it similar to loosemeat in taste? I say good for them if that is what the locals like. That's what regional road food is all about.
    #28
    Sfreader
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2010/09/10 14:19:43 (permalink)
    I recently revisited a couple of these places and thought folks might like an update.

    Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory & Sanctuary invited me to come and get some new photos. After taking the regular tour, the staff gave me an opportunity to approach the cages and take some photos where the bars on the cages wouldn't obstruct the camera. We ended us staying 2.5 hours more, taking photos from spots where the public isn't permitted.

    This female lion cub is only 5 months old. She will soon be introduced to the 11 month old male in the nect cage.
     
    Hillsdale Bank Bar-B-Q is now open year around. The food was even better than I remembered from my last visit in early 2008. I particularly liked the fresh cut fries and the spicy sausage. I posted a fuller review at http://www.kansastravel.org/hillsdalebankbbq.htm

      Keith
    #29
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: A roadfood weekend on the Kansas side of KC 2010/09/10 14:40:58 (permalink)
    Thanks.  It is nice to see a resurgence of trip reports.
     
    The meat market looked great ... looked like decent prices too.
     
    Keep up the good work.
     
    #30
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