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Central Standard

Food Critics: Dishes Worth A Short(ish) Drive From Kansas City

Catalpa is a restaurant in the sleepy, historic town of Arrow Rock, Missouri.

If you've listened to any of our previous conversations with the Food Critics, you know that there isn't a shortage of top-notch food options in the Kansas City metro area.

Sometimes, though, you want a change of scenery during dinner.

"It has to have something special that makes you want to get in the car and go," said Food Critic Mary Bloch. 

On Friday, the Food Critics chatted with KCUR's Brian Ellison about the restaurants worth a short drive from Kansas City. (The Critics kept their picks to restaurants in a thirty-minute to three-hour radius.)

Charles Ferruzza, food writer:

  • Galvin's Dinnerhouse (St. Joseph, Missouri): Not a fan of even taking a trip to the grocery store, but has taken a roadtrip on occassion just eat the fried chicken here. 
  • 715 (Lawrence, Kansas): Never had a bad meal here. A very imaginative chef.

Jenny Vergara, Feast magazine:

  • The Market at Kearney Culinary Academy(Kearney, Missouri)
  • Noah's Cupboard (Weston, Missouri)
  • The Vineyard (Weston, Missouri)
  • Tin Kitchen (Weston, Missouri)
  • Green Dirt Farm (Weston, Missouri)
  • Rivival Restaurant(Boonville, Missouri): Located inside the Hotel Fredericksburg, Kansas City chef Calvin Davis from Freshwater is running the kitchen. Comforting menu. Great place to bring your bikes and ride the Katy Trail before or after dinner.
  • Catalpa (Arrow Rock, Missouri): This sleepy, little historic town has an amazing theater, the Lyceum Theater, with plays and musicals all year long that bring in great talent from New York and Chicago. Book tickets for a show, then reservations at Catalpa with chef/owner Liz Huff in the kitchen.
  • Hotel Vandivort(Springfield, Missouri): Kansas chef Travis Meeks is in the kitchen here.
  • The Golden Girl Rum Club (Springfield, Missouri): A chic tiki-inspired rum bar that serves creative bar bites and bowls such as ramen.
  • Mother's Brewing(Springfield, Missouri)
  • Askinoskie Chocolates(Springfield, Missouri)
  • The White Linen(Topeka, Kansas): From chef/owner Adan Van Donge, this restaurant is located on the first floor of The Columbia, a historic building located in downtown Topeka. It's situated inside a bank vault and reservations are a must. Serious fine dining menu with luxurious and seasonal fare.
  • 715 (Lawrence, Kansas)
  • Leeway Franks (Lawrence, Kansas)
  • Ramen Bowls (Lawrence, Kansas)
  • Limestone Pizza Kitchen(Lawrence, Kansas)
  • The Burger Stand at the Casbah(Lawrence, Kansas)
  • 1900 Barker(Lawrence, Kansas)

Mary Bloch, Around The Block KC: 

  • Catalpa(Arrow Rock, Missouri): Only open for dinner on the weekends. Fine dining with a focus on fresh produce and meats from local farms.
  • 1900 Barker (Lawrence, Kansas): Arisan breads, croissants and pizza specials.

Listener recommendations:

  • Aviary Cafe(Springfield, Missouri): French-type menu for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Enjoyed the breakfast poutine. 
  • Askinosie Chocolate(Springfield, Missouri): Can't leave Springfield without stopping there.
  • The Blue Heron Restaurant (Lake of the Ozaraks, Missouri): Loves the deep-fried lobster and the ambiance. 
  • Next Gen's Chophouse (Maple Hill, Kansas):  The grain-fed steak, but would go there even for the wonderful dinner salad. 
  • Flyover: Wood-fired oven restaurant and a noteworthy cocktail bar. 
  • Josie's Baking Co. (Topeka, Kansas): World's best cookies.
  • Green Dirt Farm (Weston, Missouri)

Kathleen Pointer is a digital and associate producer for KCUR's talk shows, Up To Date and Central Standard. Reach out to her at kathleenp@kcur.org or find her on Twitter, @kathleenpointer