Food Critics: The Best Sandwiches In Kansas City In 2017

Apr 21, 2017

Vietnamese sandwich.
Credit Karen Neoh / Flickr -- CC

There’s a lot that can go between two slices of bread.

Portable and fuss-free — no need for utensils — sandwiches are perfect for work lunches or picnics.

On Friday’s Central Standard, KCUR’s Food Critics took their annual look at the best sandwiches in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Carlton Logan, KCFoodGuys.com and co-administrator of Kansas City Eats:

  • McLain's Market — chicken salad sandwich. It’s a basic chicken salad (i.e. no curry, raisins or nuts), served with carrots and red clover sprouts on thick multigrain bread.
  • Best Regards Bakery & Café — espinaca grilled cheese. It’s gooey, with a wonderful taste of espinaca dip, on homemade country bread.
  • Joe's Kansas City BBQ — Z-Man. The kicker for me are the onion rings on the sandwich, which gives it that great crunch.
  • Marco Polo's Italian Market — sausage, peppers and potatoes sandwich.
  • Grinders — Philly cheesesteak.

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

  • Kitty’s Café — pork tenderloin. Two crispy tempura-battered tender pork tenderloins that are doused in the right amount of hot sauce, topped with pickles and onion on a soft bun. Cash only.
  • Attitude — Italian beef. Comes on a crusty Italian roll, dipped in au jus and topped with provolone cheese. It must be followed by a “gob” (a.k.a. whoopee pie or mile-high slice of coconut pie).
  • Johnny Jo’s Pizzeria — Bay Boy Specialty Sandwiches. Served on a unique Dutch crunch roll. The sandwich board features five different sandwiches. Try the B.L.A.T. (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) or the one with the Italian meats piled high.
  • Black Dog Coffeehouse. It’s next door to Ibis Bakery. Do not miss any of their sandwiches served on thick slices of Ibis bread. I enjoyed turkey with hot apples and cinnamon and melted cheddar cheese.
  • The Sundry — Cuban. It’s really good; it features house-made ham and roasted pork, topped with Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on toasted Farm to Market bread.
  • West Bottoms Kitchen — BL(fg)T sandwich. Thick-cut bacon, lettuce and a cornmeal fried green tomato. Also served with jalapeno-whipped goat cheese and greens on a brioche bun.
  • You Say Tomato. I enjoy the casual atmosphere at You Say Tomato and they usually have a couple of really great sandwiches on their menu. They also do a good job offering more vegetable-friendly options.
  • Speak Sandwiches — Pastrami sandwich. Period.

Sandwiches I am missing:

  • Houston’s (now closed) — roast beef sandwich and fried chicken club.

Sandwich I can’t wait to try:

Charles Ferruzza: The Independent and Shawnee Mission Post:

  • Bun Mee Phan — banh mi. My favorite banh mi sandwich in the city. Extremely tasty, authentic, inexpensive.
  • Happy Gillis — pulled pork. One of my favorites. Served with smoked chili kimchi, miso and lime on ciabatta bread. It was so, so good; kind of spicy, kind of smoky, kind of different.
  • Tenderloin Grill — pork tenderloin. Fabulous.
  • The Classic Cookie — veggie sandwich. It’s the best old-school “veggie sandwich” (alfalfa sprouts, avocado, cucumber, tomato, herbed cream cheese, Swiss cheese and lettuce) that seems so healthy you can order cookies without guilt.
  • Mugs Up Root Beer Drive-In — Whiz Burger. Wonderful old-school, loose-meat sandwiches, straight out of the 1950s. The Whiz Burger has melted cheese.
  • Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar — lobster roll. As close to Maine as you want to get in Kansas City. Very light, not overly-dressed; a soothing, lovely sandwich.

Listener recommendations:

  • M&M Bakery & Deli — Hook 'em Up. It’s my lunch at least weekly. Perfect balance of flavors, great onion roll, comes with chips (that I also put on it).
  • Fritz’s Meats — Bette Rogers. Sounds weird but is great: brisket, ham & bacon with artichokes, roasted red peppers, onion, mustard & mayo.
  • Füd. Vegan menu with a lot of sandwiches. The Jack Reuben and the Jack BBQ are the closest that I’ve found to the real thing without any meat or dairy products.
  • Heirloom Bakery & Hearth — breakfast sandwich. Amazing. Served on a cheddar chive biscuit. The size of it makes it a meal and a half.
  • Olive Café — gyro.
  • Habashi House — falafel sandwich. Not heavy, great flavor. Their falafel is probably the best in town, and they pile them on there. For a quick on-the-go meal, you can’t go wrong.
  • V’s Sweets and Treats — turkey pastrami. They bake all their bread there. It’s not only an old-fashioned sandwich shop, they also have doughnuts and they open at 6 a.m.
  • Momo’s Grilled Panini — grilled cheese. With cheddar and provolone. Highly recommended.
  • Leeway Franks — Cuban.
  • Charlie Hooper's — shrimp and lobster po’ boy.
  • Beignet — The Upstream.
  • Webster House — Reuben.
  • Café Sebastienne — Reuben.
  • Bloom Baking Co. — Reuben.
  • Humdinger Drive-In — Big Kahuna.
  • The Lunch Box — any torta.
  • The Bite — El Momo. Roasted pork, habanero hoisin, cucumber, pickled onion and cilantro.
  • The Granfalloon — burnt end grilled cheese. Really good.
  • Hayward's Pit BBQ — burnt end cheeseburger. Topped with ghost peppers, cheese and two onion rings. Fantastic.
  • Bella Napoli — Il Saro. Spicy, crunchy bread, full of Italian goodness.
  • BRGR — lobster grilled cheese. To die for!
  • iPho Tower — banh mi.
  • Pigwich. No KC sandwich conversation is complete without a mention of Pigwich. Love their banh mi and meatloaf sandwiches. The potato chips are to die for.
  • Pigwich — tenderloin.
  • Briet's Stein and Deli on Strawberry Hill — Reuben. Thin rye, perfect kraut, with horseradish sauce.

Jen Chen is associate producer for KCUR's Central Standard. Reach out to her at jen@kcur.org.