Food And Drink

Bob Wasabi Kitchen / Facebook

When KCUR Food Critic Charles Ferruzza moved to Kansas City in 1984, there were “lots and lots” of Chinese restaurants, but very few Thai, Korean or Vietnamese places.

That has changed.

“People have no idea what a plethora of options they have now,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

We visit a Filipino restaurant in Grain Valley, and we hear more about a French-Korean bakery that set up shop in Overland Park. Then, our Food Critics search out the best Asian food in and around KC.


Kyle J Smith / KCUR 89.3

The weather is turning nice and it's baseball season: Let's drink!

Bartenders from all around the city pitched in their favorite cocktails for a nice spring day. You can try your hand at amateur mixing, or head to your local hangout for a stiff drink and a great time. Cheers!

Shae Mermis, Tom's Town: Bittersweet Caroline

Jessica Spengler / Flickr

The food of Kansas City has a life story to tell. Author Andrea Broomfield tells it. The origins of Kansas City chili, tamales and tailgating, an affinity for dining al fresco and cinnamon rolls, and what local beer has to do with our sports teams and stadiums. Every food tradition can be explained through the lens of history.



Mar 18, 2016

A visit to a local kitchen to learn how to make cashew cheese, vegetable gardening tips, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best vegetarian (and vegan) food in and around KC.


Plate / Facebook

“I’ve always maintained that the best vegetarian food you can find anywhere is deep-fried,” joked KCUR Food Critic Charles Ferruzza.

But Kansas City’s meatless food scene has blossomed over the past few years. In addition to vegetarian and vegan-only restaurants, chefs at restaurants of all stripes are getting creative.

“I think people have such an unfortunate misunderstanding that vegetarian food is bland,” commented guest Food Critic Lisa Murphy. “And when done properly, it’s absolutely not. It’s every bit as flavorful and as delightful as food made with meat.”

Paul Andrews /

The morning after his high school graduation, Jonathan Justus packed his car and moved to California. He didn't even wait a day, and he didn't leave with fantasies of coming back any time soon. 

When he was a kid, Justus felt suffocated by the sense that everyone in Smithville knew and kept an eye on everyone else. His mom received hate mail when she took over the family pharmacy, criticizing her for working outside the home rather than staying home with her kids. Rumors had started spreading about Justus starting when he was just in high school, he says.

Paul Andrews

He's a self-taught cook (from the classic cookbook, The Joy of Cooking) who's a semifinalist for "Best Chef: Midwest" in the 2016 James Beard Awards.

Meet Jonathan Justus — a former bike messenger, repo man and gallery-represented painter — whose restaurant has put Smithville, Missouri on the culinary map.


Couresy of Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

It’s been almost a hundred years since Prohibition, which, ironically, were some of the booziest years in Kansas City history. And although local chef Tim Tuohy is a newcomer to the area, he’s already learning the history of that time.

Tuohy works for Tom’s Town, a new distillery in the Crossroads that makes small-batch gin, vodka and whiskey on site, and is named for the man who just might be the patron saint of KC drinkers. 

“You know, Kansas City had an extremely rich beer and alcohol culture that really flourished here as a result of … Tom Pendergast,” Tuohy says.

Food Critics: The Best Bar Food In Kansas City

Mar 4, 2016
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

“Good bar food is something you can pick up with your hands and goes with any drink,” says food critic Mary Bloch.

From pot-roast nachos to French onion soup grilled cheese sandwiches to crab cakes, there is a wide range of salty choices to wash down with a cold brew or cocktail.

Pittsburgh Craft Beers / Flickr

Bar food: it's salty, it's starchy, and you can usually pick it up with your hands. Beyond that, we make up our own rules. Whether it's by breaking the rules at the speakeasies of yesteryear, or enjoying a sandwich called a fluffernutter that's like a late-night pre-teen cabinet raid. A visit to Tom's Town Distilling Co., a spring-cheese tasting with a certified cheese expert and a critics roundtable on the best bar food in town.


Updated 3/3/2016 - Legislation designed to expand the sales of cold beer in the Show-Me State is now on tap in the Missouri House.

The Senate on Thursday voted 18-14 to pass Senate Bill 919, with support and opposition coming from both sides of the political aisle.

The bill would allow beer companies to lease portable refrigeration units to grocers and convenience stores, and allow those same stores to sell beer in reusable containers known as growlers.

Jessica Spengler/Flickr -- CC

We visit the production facility of Meshuggah Bagels, which will open a storefront in Westport this Spring. Then a local maven weighs in on Jewish delis — and whether a New York-style bagel can be replicated outside of NYC.


  • David Seldner, bagel and deli maven

Meat and potatoes are Kansas City’s heritage, according to KCUR’s food critic Charles Ferruzza.

“We are the city that had, at least in our region, the stockyards. So beef was really, really accessible and potatoes were really, really cheap,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

“It’s always been a great combination.”

Ferruzza, along with food critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, discussed the best meat and potato dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The middle of winter is when the stream of locally grown fruits and vegetables in the Midwest begins to freeze up.

Nicole Saville knows first-hand. Saville is the produce manager at Open Harvest, a grocery coop in Lincoln, Neb. The store promotes food grown by local farmers, but this time of year there just isn’t much available.

“We can get kale and some culinary herbs this time of year,” Saville said. “Otherwise the only other local option is a soil mix in our garden center.”

Julie Denesha/KCUR

Brooke Salvaggio isn’t your typical urban farmer.

She grew up in the suburbs, in an upper-middle class family in Johnson County.

“I grew up like most typical suburban kids: vast mowed green lawns, the SUVs in the garage, food out of boxes, microwaves,” she told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.


Feb 12, 2016

We talk with urban farmer Brooke Salvaggio, who is closing her Badseed Farmers Market around the end of the month. She discusses her transition from a suburbia to living off the land, and the rise — and decline — of the "eating local" movement in Kansas City.


Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

You may not think about where your chocolate comes from every time you take a bite, but one Missouri chocolate maker wants that to change.

Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, Missouri is a "bean to bar" chocolate maker. Meaning he processes cocoa beans in his factory to make his chocolate bars. There are a lot of steps involved to turn cocoa beans into chocolate candy, all steps that Askinosie knew nothing about until 10 years ago.

"I had no idea where chocolate came from," Askinosie recalls. "No idea." 

Jen Arrr / Flickr Creative Commons

 As I’m sure you heard, Chipotle will be closed on Monday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m, for a company-wide meeting on food safety after E. coli, salmonella and norovirus were linked to illnesses at its restaurants

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

America's dairy farms are doing more with less. There are fewer dairy cows today than just a few decades ago, but today’s cows are churning out more milk than ever.

Part of the increase is due to genetics. Dairy cows have been bred to be larger, hungrier, and more productive. But that focus on genetics to produce more milk has some prominent livestock advocates ringing alarm bells.

The Top 1 Percent

When it comes to milk production, no other cow tops Gigi.

Italian food isn't just pasta in red sauce or hearty slabs of lasagna.

From fish that's served very simply to bucatini alla gricia (pasta with pork jowl), Kansas City's Italian restaurants range from the old-school to places that veer towards lighter fare.

On KCUR's Central Standard, the Food Critics discussed the difference between Italian and Italian-American food — then they searched for the best Italian food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:


Feb 5, 2016

From red hearts to red sauce: In this Valentine's Day-inspired show, we start out at V's Italiano Restaurant, where many Kansas Citians have gotten engaged. Not feeling it? We also have tips for what to do when you're about to cry in a restaurant (and yes, we've all done it). Then, KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Italian food in Kansas City.


Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company will open a new visitor center this summer to accommodate high demand for tours and tastings.

Boulevard’s Jeff Krum says that while some 60,000 people toured the brewery last year, thousands more were turned away, especially on busy Saturdays in the summer.

“If you are not here and in line by 10 o’clock when we open the doors and begin to give away passes for that day’s tours, you’re out of luck because once we get to the end of that long line, all the tour passes for that day are gone,” Krum says.

Creative Commons

Warning: The following recommendations are going to make you really, really hungry. But that’s OK because it’s Restaurant Week here in Kansas City, and there’s plenty to eat at an affordable price.

Before I hand it off to the critics, they wanted me to remind you to tip your bar and wait staff and, of course, have fun. 

And now, here are the recommendations. Try not to drool on yourself ...

Mary Bloch:

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

In December, an often-called iconic Kansas City steakhouse shut its doors.

The Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge, which was one of the oldest restaurants in Kansas City, will see new life next fall under new ownership

But what makes a Kansas City restaurant iconic? It depends on who you ask.

Tom's Town / Facebook

It’s a new year, and KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara — have their eyes on what’s new and noteworthy in the Kansas City restaurant scene.

They shared their picks with host Gina Kaufmann on Friday's Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When it’s cold and snowing — or if you’re feeling under the weather — there’s just something that’s so comforting about a hot bowl of soup or stew.

From pho to pozole to chicken noodle and chicken pot pies, KCUR’s Food Critics uncovered the best soup and stew dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Charles Ferruzza:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

If soup is the answer to your cold weather woes, you're not alone. A doctor explains why soup makes us feel better, then our critics guide us to the best soups and stews in town, including insights into the new ramen craze. Bonus: what's new and noteworthy in the Kansas City restaurant scene? Our critics let us in on the people and places to watch right now.