It’s been an especially active summer in the Kansas City food scene.

KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Jill Silva and Jenny Vergara — have been keeping an eye on what’s new and noteworthy in local dining. They shared the highlights with guest host Brian Ellison on Friday’s Central Standard.

Michael Bentley / Flickr

A quiet debate is raging over liquor licensing laws in the Crossroads District. Does it matter, to the character of a neighborhood, what time bars and restaurants issue that famous last call? If you don't have to go home but you can't stay here, what are your options, and who's making those choices?


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.


Pixabay / CC

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, which means you and your lover (or lovers!) can enjoy an entire romantic weekend together.

If a romantic weekend together sounds like a terrible idea, consider finding another significant other, or just keep reading. I promise I’ve put together an entirely un-cheesy, love-tastic weekend.

Friday Evening

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.

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

EBT. For some Kansas Citians the acronym has no particular meaning, but for long-time residents it's a reminder of the former downtown department store, Emery, Bird, Thayer & Company — or the restaurant that takes its name and some of its decor from this former Kansas City institution. EBT the restaurant announced to staffers Monday that it would close on December 31.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

If you’ve ever wondered what food tasted like 100 years ago, Dixon’s Famous Chili on Highway 40 is like a culinary time capsule.

With its red décor, bar stools and historic photos, it looks like a 1960s-style diner, and that’s when this particular restaurant opened near the stadiums on U.S. Highway 40.

In 1919, Vergne Dixon opened the original location at 15th and Olive streets just east of downtown, which makes it one of the oldest family-run establishments in the Kansas City metro; Dixon’s Chili eventually became a chain of 13 restaurants, including one in Minnesota. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pickling is a trend picking up all over the country, and Elise Landry, sous chef at Ça Va in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood, is pickling everything. Turnips, husk cherries, shallots … you name it, she’s pickled it.

“The other day I was called a pickled petunia by a customer, which I’ll always remember,” she laughs.

Initially, Landry started pickling to keep the seasonal produce she got from the Brookside Farmer’s Market fresh. But it’s gone far beyond practicalities.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Hot peppers, tomato wedges, onions and a pickle spear. That's a Chicago dog.

Mustard, kraut and onion — that's New York.

But what's on a Kansas City hot dog? Is it tangy barbeque sauce or simply a Boulevard beer to wash it down? As of now, there isn't a universal version of a KC-style dog. So we asked three local eateries to invent their signature Kansas City dogs. Here's what they created:

Alex Pope, The Local Pig, 2618 Guinotte Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Tucked up on a hill in Kansas City's historic Westside neighborhood, Novel looks more like a house than a restaurant. But, very few of the dishes on the menu will remind you of mama’s home cooking — at least at first glance.

Chef and owner Ryan Brazeal serves a lot of offal, which, despite it's pronunciation, is not a judgment on his cooking.


Restaurant Week in Kansas City is a great opportunity to try new menus all over the city at a great price, but for those behind the scenes preparing and serving those meals, it can be the most exhausting week of the year. Steve Kraske talks to restaurant industry professionals about the unique challenges they face during the week. 


Courtesy Photo / Le Fou Frog

Kansas City’s sixth annual restaurant week is in full swing, and diners are able to sample menus at restaurants across the city at a great price. 

This is really exciting for a lot of people.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Golden Ox, once the center of the Kansas City Stockyards in Missouri and one of the oldest restaurants in the area, is set to close Saturday night.

The steakhouse, a kitschy mix of cowtown and commerce, has been busy for the past couple weeks, in response to word getting out that it was closing.

The West Bottoms restaurant has struggled attracting folks to the area, especially since Kemper Arena stopped holding events, said Mike Holland, the Golden Ox general manager.

A year and a half after a natural gas explosion destroyed an iconic off-Plaza restaurant, the business is reopening. Its noteworthy wine collection remains a draw, and the old-world ambiance has been recreated. The menu will change little, if at all. Meanwhile, the server killed by the explosion leaves behind a powerful absence. The re-opening is a milestone for regulars who considered JJ's a home away from home.


Wikipedia -- CC

It may not be football season, but chicken wings are still a popular appetizer at many restaurants and bars.

The Central Standard Food critics stopped by KCUR to give us their Kansas City favorites from traditional Buffalo wings to exotic preparations.

Here are their recommendations:

Robyn Lee, Creative Commons / Flickr

Merriam-Webster defines pastry as "sweet baked goods made of dough having a high fat content." The definition leaves out a few key words and phrases, like "delicious" and "tasting great with tea or coffee."

The Central Standard food critics swung by our studios to guide listeners on a quest for the most delectable pastries in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

The DLC / Flickr / Creative Commons

Online restaurant reviews on sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon have become an integral part of the restaurant industry today. Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann explores the credibility of these user reviews. Do they change the way chefs and restaurant staff manage their business? 


  It's Lent, and whether you observe the Catholic fast or not, it's a great excuse to eat fish.

Kansas City restaurants offer plentiful selections of the under-water variety. On today's Central Standard the food critics recommend their favorite fish entrees in town.

Will Monsieur and Madame be having osteichthyes? Yes, please. Leave the frozen fish sticks at home.

Pabo76 / Flickr-CC

Kielbasa, carnitas and pulled pork — are you getting hungry? Some local restaurants are proving that Kansas City isn’t just a barbecue town. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we take a look at highlights and hidden gems featured in the Kansas City Star’s Food Issue.


  • Jill Silva, food editor at The Kansas City Star
Stewart Butterfield / Flickr-CC

The Test Kitchen isn't a glamorous place filled with Food Network cameras-- it's Kansas City's own secret supper club.

The location is a secret until the day before, and you're in for new cooking techniques and some interesting ingredients. Picky eaters might want to skip this one, but if you've got adventurous taste buds the Test Kitchen might be the place for you.

In the second part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk with its founder and the chef who will be behind the club's next meal.


Jonathan Bender /

Something smells good in Kansas City these days, and the upcoming restaurant week is just the thing to show it off. 

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we get a preview of what’s to come during restaurant week and take a bite of the local food scene with The Kansas City Star’s Jill Silva and Recommended Daily blogger Jonathan Bender.


Food Critics: Restaurant Trends

Sep 6, 2013
Pace J Miller / Creative Commons

When you dine out you may have noticed that certain trends have been popping up lately. We're seeing noisier dining rooms, smaller portions, and desserts almost as expensive as the entrees. And whatever happened to salad bars, anyway?

Food is a major part of American culture, and the way we mass produce it has made headlines in the last few years— many of them not good.

Food Critics: Comfort Food

Nov 1, 2012

As the weather cools off, and the hours of daylight become scarcer, our culinary musings turn to comfort food.

Java Jive: KC's Local Roasting Scene

Aug 9, 2012
Doug88888 / Flickr

On this Thursday's Central Standard, java jive! Let's take a look at the emerging coffee scene here in town. Representatives from The Roasterie, Oddly Correct and Benetti’s stop in to tell us about their beans, blends and brews. Plus, answers to your questions about home brewing.

Food Critics: Destination Dining

Jun 15, 2012
Willowtree2005 / flickr

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics share their favorite spots outside the KC metro area for dining -- including Baldwin City, Leavenworth, Atchison, and Rocheport.

Everyone's A Critic: Yelp Reviews

May 23, 2012
Victor1558 / Flickr

There's that old saying everyone’s a critic, and at no point in human history does this ring more true. In our wired world, we love to discover new places to whine and dine.

Food Critics: Dining Al Fresco

May 17, 2012

Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics share their favorite places for dining outdoors, including a patio in Parkville that feels like a tree house and a deck overlooking Lake Lotawana.

Spring-Inspired Recipes

Apr 18, 2012
Beth Bader

With each season comes exciting seasonal produce – but now what? On today's Central Standard, how to give your go-to recipes a spring makeover with seasonal ingredients including peas, garlic scapes & herbs, to name a few.

Food Critics: The Service Show

Mar 15, 2012

There's more to going out to eat than what's on your plate. On this Friday's Walt Bodine Show, we turn the tables for a look at area dining from the service perspective.