1. Upscale, affordable food and craft beer were the inspiration for opening Martin City Brewing Gastropub and, later, its Pizza and Taproom next door. Chefs prepare flavor-forward sandwiches, wraps, pizzas (like the España with chorizo), salads and daily specials. Try the Cowboy Mac n’ Cheese with pulled pork. Gastropub 500 E. 135th St., Kansas City, Mo. Lunch to late night daily. Pizza and Taproom: 410 E. 135th St., Kansas City, Mo. Lunch to late daily. martincitybrewingcompany.com.
2. If you’re looking for a pit stop off Interstate 35, try Ottawa. The quaint rural town now has a brewery, Not Lost, which features the excellent Angry River Barbecue. Angry River makes wood-fired ‘cue from scratch daily. Get there early enough to get the burnt ends, which are made from the point of the cut and have a thick layer of char on each fatty and delicious little piece. 29 S. Main St., Ottawa, Kan. Lunch and dinner Thursday-Sunday.
3. Bier Station is known for more than its extensive collection of beers on tap. The popular spot also has a variety of foods, such as burgers and mac and cheese. The carnitas tacos in particular are a menu item raved about for their fresh blend of ingredients, slow-roasted pork and house made salsa. 120 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 816-548-3870, bierstation.com. Lunch to late Monday-Saturday, lunch to evening
4. If you try the Philly cheesesteak at Grinders, we swear you’ll never go back to the restaurant’s renowned by-the-slice ’za. The ribeye sandwich on an Amoroso roll with Cheez Whiz and provolone is truly what cheesesteak dreams are made of.
Various locations. grinderspizza.com. Lunch to late daily.
5. Lew’s Grill and Bar is a low-key neighborhood hangout based in a Waldo strip mall. The late-night kitchen prepares chicken-fried chicken, catfish paws, burnt ends, burgers, wraps and even funnel cake fries. Visit for trivia nights, televised sports, daily specials and plenty of craft on draft. 7539 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo. 816-444-8080, lewsgrillandbar.com. Lunch to late daily.