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Arthur Bryant's

1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, MO - (816) 231-1123
Posted By Michael Stern on October 20, 2013 6:29 AM
Arthur Bryant, the grand old man of Kansas City barbecue, passed away in 1982, but his business has thrived ever since; and his heirs, bless them, never went upscale. This humble smoke house remains a cafeteria-style lunch room with all the decorative charm of a bus station.

Arthur Bryant originally came from Texas, so it stands to reason that his brisket is superb, the best meat in the house. It is lusciously tender beef, fatty enough to fairly drip flavor. It is sliced into fallapart lengths that get heaped into white-bread sandwiches; or if you come as a large party, you can order a couple of pounds of beef and a loaf of bread. They'll be piled on a tray so you can make your own sandwiches at the table.

The pork ribs are wonderful, too, glazed with blackened burnt edges and lodes of meat below their spicy crust. The skin-on French fries are bronze beauties and the goopy barbecue beans are some of Kansas City's best.

Good as the meats are, what makes Arthur Bryant’s unique is the sauce. It is beautiful sauce, a gritty, red-orange blend of spice and sorcery that is not at all sweet like most Midwestern barbecue sauces. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll have a gold standard against which to measure all others.
5 star rating
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beef
sauce
pork
French Fries
Meat Tray

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Posted By Greg Vaillancourt on September 18, 2013 10:57 AM
I ate at Arthur Bryant's for the first time in 1986 -87 and I have to say the the Brooklyn Street location is still going strong.

Ribs, beef, coleslaw and that amazing sauce (original, skip the others) were all beautiful to behold and to eat. I rarely use sauce with good barbecue but Bryant's Original reminds me a bit of a gritty Red Chile sauce, so I love the stuff.
5 star rating
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Posted By davey richardson on June 19, 2012 3:15 AM
Many who choose to take their summer vacations by car will be crossing the "flyover states" with little knowledge about them (elsewise, why would they be referred to as "flyover"?). Some foodies who have three or four cable channels of food worship will know the name of a certain dish from some town in Iowa.

When you are a local, it gets to be a tad off-putting to read a traveling foodie's take on places you've supped at for 40 years. One could make an interesting point that being too close is somewhat akin to being too far from a food paradise, or a multitude of them, but I've never made a practice of going to my favorite restaurants frequently enough to tire of them.

Arthur Bryant's sits near the old KC Municipal Stadium, just off 18th and Brooklyn. KC Municipal Stadium is where Satchel Paige pitched, and my ol' buddy, Buck "Nancy" O'Neill, RIP, managed and played first base. Mantle and Maris played there for the Yankees' farm club. Around the corner, going west to 18th and Vine, were the great jazz clubs, where Jay McShann, Charlie "Bird" Parker, Count Basie, and Bennie Moten, to name just a few, played for big crowds. Monarch players would grab some Q at Arthur's and go hear some KC jazz. The Q was so good, Satchel was said to have spit on his food before leaving for the bathroom, so it wouldn't be eaten in his absence.

Now, I don't know that I need to go on about the food. So many voices have sung the praises (some literally). In my years, there has been no drop off of quality. Bryant's still makes that nonpareil amazing sauce, the smokiest, most tender meats and, mmmmm, them lard-fried potatoes. I have my standard order: a brisket sandwich. Oh Lord, is there a better combination of meat and bread on this earth? Al's Italian Beef in Chicago is a close second, but that's in the All Sandwiches category. In the Q category, there isn't a close second. I love the ribs at Gates, but the sliced smoked meats and, wow oh wow, the sausages at Bryant's are just life changing if you've never tasted them.

Yes, Spielberg and other Hollywood greats have enjoyed the mecca of BBQ, and we know Jimmy Carter christened it as the best BBQ he ever had, but if you want to talk devotion, Harry Truman is your man. He ate at Mr. Bryant's establishment often, then would drop by the Muehlebach Hotel to delight those in the lobby by playing "The Missouri Waltz."

As I said, my words cannot add to the food on this delectable menu, established by the icon. The best I can say is, I've lived in the town, saw the Great Man before his passing, and have lived with the honor of being no more than driving distance from this palace of the palate. Since my teens, I've had the honor of eating the greatest BBQ ever pulled from the pit. As a home gourmet, I've never figured out the sauce. It's a very specific regional Texas sauce, very similar to my granddad's (a true OG Texan who never shared his recipe).

So I guess my review is: thank the Good Lord for blessing me by placing me within everyday lunch distance. I don't know how to say it better. The Man had it, and he passed it down, and it's a better world for it.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
beef
pork
sauce
Meat Tray
French Fries

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Posted By Holly Ulrich on January 11, 2006 9:05 PM
It was our third visit to Arthur Bryant's. I had the ribs (short ends). Incredible. Not much for the price, but boy are they tender! Beef and pork sandwiches are outstanding and are unbelievable bargains. I swear one sandwich could feed four. Be sure to try all the sauces on the table.

All is good here - why else we would stop twice on a cross-country road trip.
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Posted By J Scott Love on November 24, 2005 11:34 PM
I've been dining at Arthur Bryant's since 1969. Calvin Trillin, writing in the April 1972 issue of Playboy, proclaimed that Arthur Bryant's was the "single best restaurant in the world." I agree with this assessment.

My favorite item on the menu is a barbecued beef sandwich with fries. The beef is sliced from brisket that has been hickory smoked for 13 hours. The sandwich is a half pound of beef brushed with Bryant's distinctive tangy sauce on white bread. Trillin also states that the fries "are undoubtedly the best French-fried potatoes in the world" since they are cooked in pure lard. The food is served up cafeteria style on Melmac plates. Cold draught beer is served in frozen mugs.

The 1940's & 50's style decor hasn't changed since Trillin's 1972 article: Formica table tops, tile floor & white painted walls. Huge jugs of barbecue sauce are kept in the front window. Pictures of old Kansas City scenes, famous patrons, framed newpaper and magazine articles declaring Bryant's greatness and letters of praise from customers adorn the walls. Famous patrons pictured include president Jimmy Carter, Steven Spielberg and Sally Field.

Arthur Bryant's now has two other locations in additon to the original at 1727 Brooklyn, Kansas City: One at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, MO and one at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. The quality of the food at these locations is just as good as the original.
5 star rating
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