Unique Restaurants in Kansas City: 12 Unusual Dining Spots and Bars in Kansas City

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Kansas City
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Get ready to explore the tastiest spots in town with our guide to unique restaurants in Kansas. From train-themed eateries to dining spots with drag nights, we’ll show you where to find the best eats that make Kansas City’s food scene so special. Whether it’s BBQ, burgers, or everything in between, you’re in for a delicious journey!

Welcome to the heart of America, where the aroma of barbecue drifts through the air and the jazz music dances in the streets. Kansas City in Missouri is a treasure trove of culinary delights, a place where food is not simply eaten but celebrated. From the sizzle of Brazilian steaks to the cozy corners of French creperies, this city’s dining scene is a vibrant mosaic of flavors and experiences.

As a traveler, you’re always on the lookout for something that tickles your taste buds and offers a feast for your eyes. In Kansas City, the restaurants are as diverse as the people who run them. Whether you’re craving the spicy kick of Ethiopian cuisine or the hearty embrace of a classic American burger, you’ll find a spot here that feels like it was made just for you.

So, grab your fork and knife (or your hands, we’re not judging), and let’s dive into the world of unique eats. Get ready to explore the hidden gems where each dish tells a tale, and every flavor is a chapter in Kansas City’s delicious story.

The top restaurants to visit in Kansas City right now

Unique Restaurants in Kansas: 12 Incredible Kansas Eateries

From classic BBQ joints to innovative farm-to-table eateries, Kansas’ unique restaurants are a testament to the state’s diverse and evolving food scene. Join us as we embark on a flavorful journey, discovering hidden gems where each meal is a delightful experience!

1. Blue Nile Cafe

Blue Nile Cafe shines as a beacon among the unique restaurants in Kansas City. This spot offers a taste adventure like no other, inviting you to dive into the rich flavors of Ethiopia. Here, eating is a hands-on experience. You’ll use soft, spongy bread to scoop up hearty stews, embracing a communal dining style that’s full of warmth and tradition.

Their menu celebrates Ethiopian culture with dishes that delight the senses. The Vegetarian Feast and the Ethiopian Feast are crowd favorites, offering a variety of veggies to fill your plate and your appetite. And the Honey Wine? It’s a sweet treat that pairs perfectly with the bold spices.

The decor, with its festive artwork and glowing lights, creates an ambiance that’s both exotic and welcoming. It’s the perfect backdrop for any occasion, from a first date to a night out with old friends. If you’re eager to explore new tastes and make new friends, this Kansas City gem awaits.

Blue Nile Cafe is one of the unique restaurants in Kansas City.
Blue Nile Cafe is an exceptional spot offering rich Ethiopian flavors and communal, hands-on dining.

2. Foga de Chao

Imagine a place where the sizzle of meat fills the air and the warmth of Southern Brazil touches your soul. Fogo de Chão is that place, a steakhouse where the rich traditions of the Rio Grande do Sul region come alive. Here, the grill is the heart of the experience. Gaúcho chefs roast 16 types of meat to perfection. Each cut, from beef to lamb, bursts with flavor.

At Fogo de Chão, the feast begins with a gourmet salad bar. It boasts over 40 items, including imported cheeses and fresh veggies. But the real show starts when chefs bring skewered meats to your table. They carve them right before your eyes. It’s a dance of flavors and knives, a performance that makes each meal special.

This spot is among the best restaurants in Kansas City for a reason. It’s not only about the food. It’s about the feeling of a Brazilian feast. The place is perfect for any event, big or small. If you’re after unique places in Kansas City to eat, look no further. Fogo de Chão is a slice of Brazil, right here in the heart of the city.

Fogo de Chão is a vibrant steakhouse with Brazil's rich traditions sizzle with 16 flavorful grilled meats..
Fogo de Chão is a vibrant steakhouse with Brazil’s rich traditions sizzle with 16 flavorful grilled meats..

3. Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant

Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant is a Kansas City classic, where the whistle of a train signals your next meal is rolling down the track. Here, you order by phone, right from your table. Then, like magic, a miniature train chugs along, bringing your burger to your booth.

These burgers are a nod to the past. They’re made like they were in the 1920s, with 100% ground beef and grilled onions melded into the meat. The buns? Toasted just right. It’s a taste of history, delivered by train.

Fritz’s is a standout among themed restaurants in Kansas City. The trains aren’t just for show; they’re a part of the service, bringing food with a side of fun. In the heart of fun restaurants in Kansas City, Fritz’s is a spot where the food is as much of an attraction as the decor. The train theme is everywhere, from the tracks above to the train sounds around. It’s fun, it’s quirky, and it’s uniquely Kansas City.

Fritz's Railroad Restaurant orders by phone, and a miniature train delivers your meal, adding whimsy to dining.
Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant orders by phone, and a miniature train delivers your meal, adding whimsy to dining.

4. Succotash

In Kansas City, there’s a brunch spot that’s not just a local favorite but also a celebrity magnet. Succotash has seen stars like Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift draw crowds, adding to its cool factor. Kelce, known for his pregame French toast ritual, has even called the dish “magical,” a high praise that echoes through the city.

This eatery, which has been a part of the Kansas City fabric since 2001, is more than a place to eat. It’s a community cornerstone in the Longfellow Heights neighborhood. Beth Barden, the owner, has crafted a space that’s as inviting as it is flavorful. It’s one of the unique restaurants in Kansas City where the walls are a canvas, and the meals are masterpieces.

Succotash has also caught the attention of TV shows like “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” and “Man Versus Food,” and it’s catered for the cast of “Queer Eye.” It’s a place where even celebrities like Kelce queue up like everyone else, seeking no special treatment, just good food and a good time.

So, if you’re looking for the coolest places to eat in Kansas City, where the food is endorsed by stars and the atmosphere buzzes with artistic and communal vibes, Succotash is your must-visit destination.

Succotash is a celebrity-favorite brunch spot praised for its "magical" French toast.
Succotash is a celebrity-favorite brunch spot praised for its “magical” French toast.

5. Chez Elle

Imagine a cozy corner in Kansas City where the sun kisses your table through large windows.  Here, the ambiance is as rich as the menu. Books, games, and art fill the cafe, creating a cozy retreat from the busy world outside. This place is a creperie, filled with the charm of a French café. It’s called Chez Elle, a local treasure nestled in the historic Summit Building. Here, crepes come in over 25 sweet and savory flavors, with options for everyone, even those who prefer gluten-free or buckwheat.

Chez Elle is a hidden gem in Kansas City, a spot where you can indulge in a classic crepe filled with roasted chicken, sautéed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby spinach. Each one comes with a sprinkle of mozzarella and a swirl of pesto cheese sauce, all under a warm marinara blanket. It’s comfort food with a gourmet twist.

When you’re exploring unique places to eat in Kansas City, Chez Elle is a must-visit. With house-made pastries and an inviting, eclectic atmosphere, it’s a favorite for those who discover it. Chez Elle is where French culinary art meets Midwestern hospitality, creating memories with every bite.

Chez Elle is a cozy creperie serving over 25 sweet and savory crepes in a charming French café setting.
Chez Elle is a cozy creperie serving over 25 sweet and savory crepes in a charming French café setting.

6. Cafe Gratitude

When you’re on the hunt for the best places to eat in Kansas City, you’ll want to find a spot that feeds both your stomach and your soul. Imagine walking into a space where the menu speaks to you with names like ‘I Am Luminous’ and ‘I Am Adventurous’. This is the essence of Café Gratitude, a restaurant that’s all about positive vibes and plant-based cuisine.

This eatery sits in the vibrant Crossroads district, a place that buzzes with creativity and community spirit. Café Gratitude brings something fresh to the table with its commitment to health, sustainability, and what they call “sacred commerce”. It’s a spot where every dish is a celebration of life, made with ingredients that are as good for the earth as they are for you.

Among the unique restaurants in Kansas City, Café Gratitude shines bright. From the solar panels on the roof to the compost enriching their farm’s soil, this restaurant practices what it preaches. Enjoying a meal here means joining a community that cherishes every moment and every morsel.

Café Gratitude is one of the unique restaurants in Kansas City.
Café Gratitude blends positive vibes with plant-based cuisine.

7. The Ship

Step into a place where the past and present merge into an unforgettable dining experience. In the West Bottoms neighborhood, there’s a venue that’s both a nod to history and a celebration of now. It’s a restaurant and live music spot that’s been a part of the city since 2014, but its soul is much older.

This venue, known as The Ship, is a unique Kansas City restaurant that brings the vibe of a 1935 vintage barroom to life. Here, you can enjoy the finest cocktails and meals while soaking in the atmosphere of a classic intimate room with a speakeasy feel. It’s a place where every corner has a story, and every visit feels like a step back in time.

As one of the fun places to eat in Kansas City, The Ship offers more than just a meal. It’s a journey. With live music almost every night and a spacious new dining room called “All Else The Sea,” it’s quickly becoming a favorite spot for locals and visitors. Whether you’re here for a casual lunch, a night of dancing, or to enjoy the variety of music, The Ship promises an experience that’s as rich in history as it is in flavor.

The Ship serves top-notch cocktails and meals in a classic speakeasy ambiance.
The Ship serves top-notch cocktails and meals in a classic speakeasy ambiance.

8. Conductor Club

In the heart of Kansas City, there’s a spot that’s a bit of a secret. It’s a place where you can sip on crafted cocktails and feel like you’re part of an exclusive club. This place is the Conductor Club, a unique restaurant tucked away on the second floor of Union Station. It’s a spot that’s all about the experience, from the secret stairwell you climb to get there to the bird’s-eye views of the Grand Hall.

The Conductor Club is a nod to the golden age of rail travel, offering a cocktail experience that’s as unique as its location. With a limited menu that echoes the simplicity of a train’s bar car, it captures the essence of a bygone era. It’s a place where you can enjoy live jazz, taste expertly mixed drinks, and dine with a view of Union Station’s architectural marvels.

For those seeking unique Kansas City restaurants, the Conductor Club is a hidden treasure. Whether you’re a craft cocktail aficionado or just looking for a new experience, the Conductor Club invites you to step back in time and enjoy the journey.

The Conductor Club offers crafted cocktails and unique bird's-eye views.
The Conductor Club offers crafted cocktails and unique bird’s-eye views.

9. O’Malley’s Pub

O’Malley’s Pub invites you underground to the oldest bar in Missouri. Hidden more than 50 feet below, in a limestone brewery cellar, this spot offers a cool escape and a sip of history. Here, the beer flows as richly as the tales, with Weston Brewing’s cream ales on tap from just upstairs.

The pub’s history is etched into its domed, limestone walls, built without cement, each stone a story. This craftsmanship from the past creates an inviting atmosphere that’s both timeless and unique. O’Malley’s Pub is a gem among Kansas City’s best restaurants, known not only for its drinks but also for the singular experience it offers.

In the landscape of unique restaurants in Kansas City, O’Malley’s stands out with its subterranean allure. Whether you’re there for the live bands or the constant cool air, this pub turns a simple outing into an underground adventure. O’Malley’s Pub is a reminder that the best discoveries are often beneath the surface, waiting for those who seek them.

O'Malley's Pub is the oldest bar, hidden 50 feet below in a brewery cellar.
O’Malley’s Pub is the oldest bar, hidden 50 feet below in a brewery cellar.

10. Winter Skies

Imagine a place where the holiday spirit fills the air and the city’s lights twinkle below. That’s Winter Skies, a pop-up bar that brings festive joy to Kansas City. On the 42nd floor of the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, this former restaurant space transforms into a winter wonderland.

Winter Skies is a highlight on the list of coolest restaurants in Kansas City. It’s where the decor theme of a winter forest meets a winter-themed cocktail menu crafted by Restless Spirits. With a view that once rotated to give diners a 360-degree look at the city, even standing still, the panorama is breathtaking.

As a unique restaurant in Kansas City, Winter Skies offers more than just a dining experience. It’s a seasonal celebration where every cocktail and every moment is infused with holiday magic. Reservations are a must for this limited-time event, making it an exclusive retreat above the bustling city.

Winter Skies is a pop-up bar on the 42nd floor, turning a restaurant space into a festive winter wonderland
Winter Skies is a pop-up bar on the 42nd floor, turning a restaurant space into a festive winter wonderland. | Source: https://www.kctv5.com/

11. Hamburger Mary’s

Looking for a burger that’s big on flavor and fun? Hamburger Mary’s serves up just that. With every burger weighing in at half a pound or more of fresh, all-natural, grain-fed American beef, they’re a meat lover’s dream. Cooked just how you like it and topped in your style, these burgers are a Kansas City highlight.

This eatery is a standout in any Kansas City restaurant guide, offering more than just a meal. It’s a place where gourmet burgers meet tall, cold drinks and sassy, amazing nightly entertainment. Hamburger Mary’s is about good times for everyone, with a side of wild and naughty.

As a unique restaurant in Kansas City, Hamburger Mary’s is known for its big personality and even bigger burgers. It’s not just the food that draws people in; it’s the award-winning entertainment. From Drag Queen Charity Bingo to All-Star Trivia and weekly drag shows, Hamburger Mary’s is where good food and great times come together.

Hamburger Mary's serves hefty, flavorful half-pound all-natural American beef burgers.
Hamburger Mary’s serves hefty, flavorful half-pound all-natural American beef burgers. | Source: https://www.hamburgermarys.com/

12. Up-Down KC

Are you ready for a game night with a view? Up-Down KC takes fun to a new level. This arcade bar is a blast from the past with over 50 classic arcade games. It’s a spot where you can play pinball, skeeball, and even Nintendo 64. And when you’re ready for a break, there’s a rooftop terrace waiting for you.

Up-Down KC is on the list of scenic places in Kansas City to eat. The second-floor terrace offers fantastic views of the city skyline. Imagine playing life-size Jenga or oversized Tic Tac Toe with Kansas City stretched out below you. It’s a view that makes every game and every bite unforgettable.

This venue is more than a unique restaurant in Kansas City; it’s a trip down memory lane with a side of skyline. With 60 beers on tap and a menu full of pizza, it’s a place for foodies and gamers alike. Up-Down KC is where nostalgia meets novelty, and everyone is invited to join the game.

Up-Down KC is one of the unique restaurants in Kansas City.
Up-Down KC is an arcade bar offering beers and a pizza-filled menu.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Unique Places To Eat In Kansas City

Looking for the scoop on unique restaurants in Kansas? Our FAQ has all the answers to feed your curiosity and your appetite.

What food is unique to Kansas City?

Kansas City stakes a claim to some of the best BBQ in the country. The city’s unique take on smoky, tangy barbecue, especially the slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone ribs, sets it apart. But it’s not just about the BBQ. You’ll find unique spins on classic dishes at the unique restaurants in Kansas City, like jazzed-up comfort foods and farm-to-table freshness that capture the city’s spirit.

Is Kansas City a foodie city?

Absolutely! Kansas City is a treasure trove for food lovers. From its world-renowned barbecue to its innovative culinary creations, the city offers a diverse food scene. It’s a place where foodies can indulge in a variety of flavors, including those found at unique restaurants in Kansas City that serve up more than just a meal; they serve an experience.

Where is the restaurant that rotates in Kansas City?

The restaurant known for its rotating view was Skies, located atop the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. While Skies closed in 2011, the space has been reborn as Winter Skies, a seasonal pop-up bar that still offers stunning views of the city, albeit without the rotation.

Scenic restaurant offering revolving panoramic views of the cityscape.
Scenic restaurant offering revolving panoramic views of the cityscape.

Can you find international cuisine in Kansas City?

Kansas City is a melting pot of international flavors. You can travel the world with your taste buds, from authentic Ethiopian dishes to Brazilian steakhouses and French creperies. Each restaurant brings a piece of its culture to the heart of the Midwest.

Are there vegetarian options at Kansas City restaurants?

Yes, Kansas City caters to vegetarians with a variety of options. Many restaurants offer creative plant-based dishes that are as delicious as they are nutritious. Places like Café Gratitude highlight how Kansas City’s food scene is inclusive, offering something for everyone.

What makes Kansas City’s food scene unique?

It’s the blend of tradition and innovation. Kansas City respects its roots, like the BBQ it’s famous for, while also embracing new trends. Chefs here are not afraid to experiment, which means diners can always find something new and exciting on their plates.

Where can families dine out in Kansas City?

Kansas City is family-friendly, with many restaurants offering fun themes and menus that appeal to all ages. Places like Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant not only serve delicious food but also deliver it with a model train, much to the delight of kids and parents alike.

Are there any historic restaurants in Kansas City?

Yes, Kansas City is home to several historic restaurants that have been serving guests for decades. These establishments are time capsules of flavor, offering a taste of the city’s rich history along with their meals.

Final Thoughts On Unique Kansas City Restaurants

Kansas City is a place where every meal can be an adventure. With so many unique restaurants in Kansas City, you’re never far from a food experience that’s both delicious and different. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic BBQ, a spin on your favorite comfort food, or something you’ve never tried before, this city has it all. And if you’re looking to fly from Kansas City, why not dive into the flavors of the city before your next adventure takes off?

Remember, it’s not just the food that makes these places special. It’s the stories, the people, and the fun you’ll have along the way. So grab your friends, or bring your family, and see for yourself why Kansas City’s restaurants are talked about far and wide. You’re sure to leave with a full belly and a big smile, ready to plan your next visit.

The top restaurants in Kansas City for all types of travelers
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