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Kansas City has more food halls than ever. Here's a guide to these restaurant havens

Exterior view of Lenexa Public Market, with food trucks lining the road in front of the brick and glass building, and people on the sidewalk around the building.
Bill Harrison
Options inside and out at Lenexa Public Market.

Food halls have added an important component to the Kansas City region's restaurant scene in recent years. These communal spaces provide opportunities for new food ventures, and offer flavors from around the world.

This story was first published in KCUR's Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

Kansas City started seeing “food halls” pop up in earnest in 2017, and what’s not to love? With a range of restaurant concepts in a single building, food halls can help solve the age-old problem of where to go to eat. (Of course, then picking between all the great options is its own issue.)

Food halls tend to offer around four to eight different cuisines created by chefs in their own individual kitchens. Sometimes they’re new locations of established restaurants, like Mr. D’s Coffee in Lenexa Public Market, an offshoot of the beloved Mr. D’s Donut Shop in Shawnee Kansas.

Or, they might be newer concepts that are just starting out in their first-ever space, like Ladybird Taqueria at Parlor in the Crossroads, which opened in 2023. Food hall stalls can be great stepping stones for chefs to test a concept before opening a standalone brick-and-mortar.

As late Kansas City food writer Charles Feruzza once wrote in The Pitch, cafeteria-style restaurants originally became popular in the metro during the Great Depression. Famed Kansas City cafeterias include The Forum at 12th and Main, Putsch’s Cafeteria on the Plaza, and Myron Green’s local chain of cafeterias.

Vintage photograph of cars parked outside Putsch's Cafeteria.
Missouri Valley Special Collection
Kansas City Public Library
Putsch's Cafeteria in the County Club Plaza

These restaurants were affordable places that primarily sold comfort food. In 1921, the Kansas City Star wrote that “great advantage of the Myron Green Cafeterias is that you can see the food before you buy, and take your time to select them.” By the 1970s, though, many of these classic Kansas City cafeterias had closed.

The food halls that have risen to prominence in the last several years are not your grandmother’s cafeteria, though. They can highlight a range of cuisines, like the West African food you can find at African Dream Cuisine at Lenexa Public Hall, or Adobo St. Louis Short Ribs, at Strang Hall’s Lao-Thai fusion restaurant Anousone.

They are especially great for large groups or families with kids — any combination where you’re dealing with a range of appetites and preferences.

Kansas City’s food halls also boast bars where you can order cocktails, beers, or nonalcoholic drinks, and often have a spot to grab a coffee and work on your laptop.

Here’s a guide to Kansas City’s food hall offerings, and what you can find inside.

Lenexa Public Market

interior view of Lenexa Public Market, with people eating at tables and some standing in line to order food.
Vanessa Rao
Lenexa Public Market
Inside Lenexa Public Market.

The first food hall to open in the Kansas City area in 2017 was Lenexa Public Market, located in Lenexa City Center at 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard. You’ll find it near the Lenexa Rec Center, the sleek Lenexa City Center Library, and the Sonoma Plaza district.

Lenexa Public Market is unique in that it is actually owned by the City of Lenexa, which opened the space partly as a way to support entrepreneurship by providing a place for new businesses to get their start.

This 11,000-square-foot, two-story space has a utilitarian feel for casual dining, with seven restaurant concepts. Its bar offers cocktails and craft beer, and some of the individual restaurants also serve specialty drinks. Inside are spin-offs of other local favorites, like Mr. D’s Coffee, and Cosmo Burger, which, like its Waldo location, serves up simple yet delectable smash burgers, tater tots, and craft cocktails.

Cardboard Corner Cafe is a restaurant that got its start in Overland Park and now has a Lenexa Public Market location that, like the original, offers dozens of board games. It recently made our list of places adults can have fun in Kansas City. You can try out games while enjoying unique waffles, like the savory buffalo chicken, or the sweet strawberry cheesecake waffle pop.

Other restaurants got their start at Lenexa Public House, like African Dream Cuisine and Sohalia’s Kitchen, which offers Pakistani and Indian dishes like butter chicken and veggie samosas. On the weekends they offer an expanded menu that includes lamb curry on the first Friday of every month.

Lenexa Public Market’s other restaurants are Topp’d Pizza + Salads, and Kimchi and Bap, which sells Korean dishes like bibimbap and japchae. And Chilakillers, a Mexican restaurant that got its start as a food truck in 2022, is slated to open later this spring, serving dishes like arroz con leche, chilaquiles, and flautas.

In the past seven years, Lenexa Public Market has also become a community space. It hosts dedicated weekly events like Family Night on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m., with kid-friendly games and food specials.

Starting on April 26, they begin their weekly outdoor Friday Night Sound Bites events. Every Friday from 7-10 p.m., you can see live music and eat from additional food truck vendors. If you go, they encourage guests to “BYOC” — bring your own chair.

  • 8750 Penrose Lane, Lenexa, KS 66219
  • Hours vary by merchant, so check their hours before you go.


Three women talk with seated on a slatted bench, while behind them other people eat at tables. There is a mural with a sun on it in the background.
Izza Vivas
Parlor, in the Crossroads, opened in 2018.

Opened in 2018, Parlor in the Crossroads might be the most versatile food hall in the area. During the day, Parlor is a great spot to enjoy a casual lunch with a friend or coworker at one of their seven food concepts. At night, the vibe transforms into a going-out destination.

One bar on each floor serves cocktails like margaritas and old-fashioneds, in addition to craft beers and other signature cocktails. They have live music every Friday and Saturday starting at 7 p.m., and they have a DJ on Tuesday nights and during Sunday brunch. You can enjoy your drink inside, or on their covered patio — we named it one of Kansas City’s best heated patios.

At Parlor, you can order ahead of time online, or you can walk up to order on a touchscreen at any of their restaurant counters. Currently on offer is Deez Nachos, where you can grab a basket of Totchos — nachos on a bed of tater tots. They also have Smoked Wing Nachos: hot wings topped with nacho cheese and other toppings.

The newest restaurant is Elephant Wings, which opened in January 2024 and features innovative Indian fusion dishes, like Tikka Masala Poutine and the Paneer Riff sandwich, with paneer cheese in a crusty bread roll with chutney and other veggies.

You can also eat at Sido’s, a Mediterranean food concept inspired by owner Abbaas Abu Zareefeh’s Palestinian family recipes. There you’ll find Hummus Nachos, which are pita chips covered in hummus sauce, chickpeas, and a meat of your choice. They also have more traditional Mediterranean staples like falafel, chicken shawarma, and shish kebabs. This spring, they opened another location at Iron District in North Kansas City (more about that below).

In addition to Ladybird Taqueria, you can check out Mother Clucker for the best jumbo spicy chicken tenders you’ve ever had. Slideshow Sliders and Fries has sliders that transcend the mini cheeseburger concept, with combos like caprese or fig and goat cheese.

  • 1707 Locust St., Kansas City, MO, 64108
  • Schedule varies by day, so check their hours before you go.

Strang Hall

Two women are seated a table, one looking at a smart phone, one looking at her computer. There are people in the background standing at counters and looking a menus.
Julie Denesha
KCUR 89.3
Strang Hall in Overland Park. The food hall also has two other locations in the Kansas City metro, with different restaurant options.

Strang Hall opened its first location in downtown Overland Park’s Edison District in 2019. Much like Lenexa Public Market, Edison District is a mixed-use development that combines office space, retail shops, and new apartments in close proximity. Strang Hall is located on the ground floor, and the 13,000-square-foot food hall currently houses six restaurant concepts.

Their original spot has a massive outdoor sitting area, featuring a grassy area with picnic tables, yard games, and a walk-up bar where you can order frozen cocktails and other specialty drinks. Strang Hall also has a patio for outdoor events surrounded by built-in seating, and hosts outdoor concerts every weekend from April through July. The next one will feature the acoustic duo Simple City on May 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Inside, Strang Hall has a cozy back dining room with velvet seats and photographs on the wall. Their restaurants feature Strang Cafe, a coffee shop with lattes, boba tea, milkshakes, and pastries.

You’ll find a full spectrum of cuisines here. Besides Anousone, there is Fénix, which sells tacos and unique Mexican items like birria quesadillas or stacked tostadas with short ribs. Norcini serves pizza, salads, and toasted sandwiches like The Bosshog with meatballs.

Solstice uses fresh ingredients to make salads, burgers, and sandwiches — with traditional options like a reuben, or original combinations like the tequila lime chicken sandwich. Finally, Tora Zushi has Japanese staples like ramen and fresh rolled sushi and sashimi, alongside fusion items like sushi nachos and a Kobe beef burger with yuzu aioli and pork belly.

You can view Strang Hall’s entire menu (and also order food for delivery or pick-up) on their website.

Strang Hall has since expanded to two new locations. Strang Chef Collective opened inside the Cascade Hotel on the Plaza in late 2023. Like the original, they have a coffee shop and a bar, but they also have four entirely new restaurant concepts.

Gasthaus has European inspired items like currywurst and fish and chips, Khai-Noy offers Asian Fusion fare like curries, Pad Thai, and a gochujang chicken sandwich. Parma has traditional Italian options like pastas, but also interesting entrees like a “KC Hot Beef Sandwich.” At Verde, order a yuca tacos or other Latin American entrees like the Cuban Arroz Bowl.

Strang Chef Collective also opened a more pared down concept in the Lightwell Building Downtown at 11th and Main, with a bar and just two restaurant concepts. You’ll find another Anousone location, as well as Panacea, which serves grain bowls, sandwiches and burgers, and breakfast items. Like the other locations, you can check out their menu and order online ahead of time.

  • Edison District: 7313 W 80th Street, Overland Park, KS 66204
  • Plaza: 4620 Wornall Rd, 64112
  • Lightwell: 1100 Main Street, Kansas City, MO, 64105
  • Schedule varies by day, so check their hours before you go.

Iron District

Picnic tables, a set up stairs the lead to an upper level, and shipping containers in various shades that have been converted to kitchens.
Sylvia Maria Gross
KCUR 89.3
An outdoor dining concept, Iron District is in North Kansas City.

Iron District opened in North Kansas City in 2019 in the spirit of a food hall, except this one is fully outdoors with its restaurants housed in shipping containers. Developer Rachel Kennedy described it to KCUR at the time as “basically like a food truck, just not on wheels."

Iron District offers the perks of fully outdoor dining, with yard games like giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, and cornhole. Starting in May, they will have concerts every Friday. And yes, you can bring your (well behaved) dog.

For drinks, head to the Tap Shack, a craft beer and cider bar. They also have tiki inspired cocktails at Tiki Huna, with classics like Puka Punch or original creations like the Wayward Voyage: rum, fresh fruit juices, allspice and cumin.

The Mediterranean spot Sido’s opened a new location in the Iron District this year. There is also Cargo Cantina, which sells tacos in corn tortillas, as well as California-style burritos, quesadillas, and Tres Leches cake for dessert.

The Laos House has creative fusion cuisine, including the irresistible Lao-Rito, which packages Lao flavors in a burrito filled with marinated chicken, fries, nacho cheese, and spicy Jeow salsa based on the traditional dipping sauce.

The Sourdough Spot serves up delectable sandwiches on homemade breads, like a fresh BLT or a focaccia breakfast sandwich. If you fall in love with the bread, you can also buy a loaf directly from their website.

And like pretty much every food hall, there is a place to buy a burger. Iron Grill has a classic burger, or original creations like the breakfast-themed Early Bird Sunrise Burger or the NKC BBQ burger with barbecue sauce and an onion ring.

Don’t forget dessert. While many of the individual restaurants have their own dessert options, Melt Box Ice Cream also has a dedicated spot at Iron District. Their large list of options includes the Froot-Loop flavored Blue Moon, and the Exhausted Parent with bourbon and espresso flavors. You can also make any of the flavors into a milkshake!

In addition to its 10 food and drink spots, they also currently have two retail vendors: Madhouse Clothing and Babe Standard, which offers permanent jewelry and hats.

  • 1599 Iron St., North Kansas City, MO 64116
  • Schedule varies by day, so check their hours before you go. Extended summer hours begin in May.

Hannah Bailey is a cultural studies scholar and a freelance writer for KCUR. You can email her at hannah@coneflower.org.
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