Food Critics: The best restaurants for family meals and large group dining in Kansas City in 2022
Whether you’re looking for a place to take the whole family out this holiday season, or just looking for a good spot to eat with all your friends, here are some of the best places in the metro for bigger party sizes.
As the holiday season approaches, many Kansas Citians are gathering to spend time with friends and family. One of the hardest things about spending that time together is finding a space to fit your group when home dining isn’t an option or preference.
Carlton Logan, a food critic and co-administrator of Kansas City Eats Facebook Group, laid out the considerations for KCUR’s Up To Date host Steve Kraske on Friday: “You want to think about: Where are you going to go? What type of food? Is it a small restaurant that's not going to accommodate you?”
“Some restaurants think that a large group is at six, some think eight, some think 10, some think 15, and some will still take reservations up to 20,” said Jill Silva, co-host of the podcast Chew Diligence. “Then they kick you over into ‘you’re an event,’ and you need a little more planning.”
To make it a bit easier, Logan, Silva, and Natasha Bailey, co-host of KCUR’s Hungry For MO podcast, found some of the best places to seat parties of a larger size.
Carlton Logan, Kansas City Eats:
- Affäre — The Painted Table. This German restaurant’s main dining room is spacious. For a group start with a charcuterie platter or pretzel sticks with mustard. The menu changes seasonally so try it a few times to find the best dish for you. For dessert, get the Painted Table, a glass table topped with desserts, sauces and flames!
- Trezo Mare — Potato Pizza. You’ll love this spot not only for the Italian food but for the ambiance. Its seating options include the large dining room, the bar area or on the huge patio. There’s also the wine room for large parties.
- Char Bar — Charred Bits & Grits. Barbecue joints can be a great option for large parties, allowing you to order individual meals, or some ribs and sides to share. A great starter here is the Charred Bits and Grits, featuring smoked burnt ends, hand-cranked sausage, pickled jalapeños, bourbon-candied bacon, cheddar cheese grits, and bbq butter.
- Rye — Crispy Chicken Livers & Gizzards. This farm-to-table American-style restaurant and cocktail bar has two locations, both of which accommodate larger parties. Must-tries on their menu include the whipped goat cheese, shrimp and grits, fried chicken, gizzards, all the snacks, and the world’s best lemon meringue pie.
- Grand Street Cafe — any sandwich. This is another American-style restaurant that’s been around for a long time, and has plenty of room to seat parties well into the double digits.
- Parlor food hall has two floors with several kitchens and a bar. Inside, Sura Eats has a Korean menu with dumplings and bibimbap, Mother Clucker! has chicken wings and sandwiches with varying degrees of spice and heat, and KC Mac N’ Co. has many types of macaroni and cheese.
- Strang Hall has indoor and outdoor seating in various arrangements. This food hall features Norcini for pizza and Italian fare, Fénix for tacos, and Anousone for Southeast Asian dishes.
- Broadmoor Bistro — Braised Beef Tamale. Located at the Center for Academic Achievement, this restaurant is part of the Shawnee Mission School District. There’s a well-lit, large dining room, making it great for bigger groups, and the hosts, servers, bussers and kitchen and bakery staff are primarily high school students. They serve a three-course meal for $40.
- Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill — Self-built option. This is a great spot for large groups with guests who have dietary preferences or restrictions. Diners can choose from the menu or choose vegetables and proteins to create their culinary dishes at the grill.
Natasha Bailey, Hungry for MO:
- Jasper’s — Panettone Bread Pudding with warm Amaretto Sauce. A great spot to bring family and friends during the holidays, Jasper’s has great service and some of the best Italian dishes around. It also offers a great grab-and-go option for those needing to pick up food for a big group.
- Stock Hill — Lobster Bones. Chef Jacob Hilbert is bringing a twist to your classic steakhouse. Stock Hill has some great options for multiple party sizes, including the Tomahawk Steak for two with any two sides; their Hanukkah Dinner on Dec. 18, which includes seven courses; and The Classic three-course Chef Dinner.
- Bella Napoli — Branzino. This Brookside favorite is consistent and can often accommodate groups of any size. It also has a wonderful wine list and grab-and-go market. The Conchiglie alla Campidanese, a house-made Italian sausage in a slow-simmered saffron tomato sauce, is a great option.
- The Town Company — Ricotta Dumplings. This hotel restaurant and bar offers amazing pies and dumplings. For those seeking something to group for the holidays, The Town offers dining options for Christmas Eve. And be sure to try the Hot Buns, served with house-cultured butter, carrot dip and trout roe.
- Andres Chocolates Kansas City, while not a dining spot, is a family-owned Kansas City business that’ss a great place to pick up holiday sweets for the whole family. They have cheese and chocolate fondue, made ready to serve, creating an excellent option for a holiday party snack.
- The Big Biscuit — Biscuits and Gravy. With locations all across the metro, this locally-owned breakfast chain offers something for everyone. Most locations can handle a group, and they offer catering bundles for groups of eight to 10 for request orders.
Jill Silva, Chew Diligence:
- The Monogram Lounge — Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin. This distillery-restaurant combo is a great space to put yourself in the holiday spirit! J. Rieger & Co. offers a fantastic tour and tasting, and dinner in the Monogram Lounge by chef Charles d'Ablaing. There’s lots to do besides eat and drink, too, including a slide, museum, and outdoor, dog-friendly patio. Don’t forget to take the gathering ‘round the barrel tree for festive family and friend pics!
- Fogo de Chão — Seasonal recipe dishes. This Brazilian steakhouse has an expansive buffet salad bar and showy, tableside meat service. It’s also an entertaining large-party gathering space. It’s also easy because everyone can eat what they want but the bill is the same!
- Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen in the Crossroads has great food and wine, and offers four private rooms to choose from, with seating for 16 to 65 people. They offer sample menus for $50, $65 and $80.
- Jack Stack Barbecue — Onion Rings. This amazing barbecue chain has taken over the former Ignite space, and there is lots of room to comfortably accommodate larger parties. They also have a private room for up to 20, but you need to call to reserve it. They also have a family-style menu to mix and match, and share, the basic meats.
- Lenexa Public Market now includes Cosmo Burger, Sohaila’s Kitchen, Red Kitchen KC, African Dream Cuisine, Topp’d Pizza + Salads and Butterfield’s Bakery & Market. A seasonal perk: You can sit by the outdoor fire pits and chill. The space can also host private events on the mezzanine level in a lovely, airy spot that can be rented for $75 to $95 an hour and accommodates up to 83 people.
- Lidia’s — Family-style pasta option. This wonderful restaurant specializing in Northern Italian dishes is dependable, festive and fun. It’s located close to the Streetcar and lots of Downtown fun. Reservations are available for groups of up to 20, and there are several private event spaces.
- The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s educational and fun options give guests the opportunity to book a room for 40 to 100 people for an interactive cooking party!