Four great Kansas City non-restaurants

Kitty's Cafe is one of the best burgers in Kansas City/Photo by Jeremey Theron Kirby

Our definition of a restaurant for the purposes of our top 40 list is a place where you can sit and eat comfortably that maintains regular hours at least a few days per week. Here are a few spots that have great food but didn’t meet that criteria.

• The Italian Sausage Co.

Some of the city’s best sandwiches reside in a strip mall in Gladstone (7315 N. Oak Trafficway, Gladstone). The Brancato family’s Italian heritage and Kansas City roots are both honored with their small deli counter that serves hefty, layered subs and juicy homemade sausages smothered in house-made condiments such as red wine olives and creamy, tangy aiolis.

• Kitty’s Cafe

Kitty’s Café (810 1/2 E. 31st St., KCMO) may have been recognized by the New York Times recently, but the beloved hole-in-the-wall’s renowned three-piece pork tenderloin sandwich remains an indulgent crispy delight. This humble joint opened in 1951 and is straightforward: cash only and limited seating.

• Blackhole Bakery

There’s nowhere to sit at this amazing bakery on Troost (5531 Troost Ave., KCMO), so you’ll just have to buy way too many mochi doughnuts, boiled bagels and ultra-flakey croissants to go.

• El Pollo Guasave

The best chicken in the city comes from a little yellow shack in KCK (1600 Central Ave., KCK). The owner is originally from the Sinaloan town of Guasave, which is famed for its chicken. The birds are marinated in a vibrant orange-garlic marinade before landing on a fiery grill.

• Saltwell Farm Kitchen

The Saltwell Farm Kitchen pop-up dinner series in the tiny Kansas town of Overbrook comes from Shantel Grace and Rozz Petrozz, the people behind Lawrence mainstay Ramen Bowls. With the exception of olive oil, spices and a few cheeses, everything on the menu and in the kitchen at Saltwell ( is sourced from within six miles. See our review.

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to our newsletters

Kansas City magazine keeps readers updated on the latest news in twice-weekly newsletter. 

On Tuesdays, Dish brings you food news and our critic picks. 

On Thursdays, The Loop offers exclusive news reports and our curated events picks.