36 Hours in Kansas City, MO

February 29, 2016

When Jordan was invited to speak at a conference in Joplin, MO, we thought it would be fun to extend the trip and spend a couple days exploring Kansas City. Neither of us had been to Missouri, and we really hadn’t experienced much of the midwest outside of Chicago.

So in a whirlwind 36 hours, we checked out as much of Kansas City as we could, mainly by trying as much barbeque as we could, driving through different neighborhoods, and checking out a few of the city’s museums.

IMG_8199-2Jameson is getting to be quite the travel pro (this was his fifth round trip flight). He loves people, so anytime anyone around the airport or on the plane interacted with him, he was all in. And even if you’re not interacting with him, if he thinks you should notice his cuteness, he’s coming for you.IMG_8166-2IMG_8167-2IMG_8173-2On our first night in town, we arrived around the time of Jameson’s bedtime (7 p.m.), eager for dinner. We put him in his pajamas, bundled him up in his stroller, and pushed him to Jack Stack BBQ, which was a short walk from our hotel, and prayed the whole way that he’d fall asleep. Of course when we got there, he was wide awake, and we were ready to file this under ‘horrible parenting decisions.’ But thankfully, loud restaurants are kind of like white noise to Jameson, and he fell asleep in his stroller long before our food hit the table.IMG_8180-2And let’s talk about this food for just a second. I’m not a huge fan of red meat, but the beef I had that night wasn’t like anything I’ve had before. The flavor and texture were seriously out of this world. I saw the light and was totally bought in to the hype that surrounds Kansas City barbeque.

The next morning, we went to a mom and pop diner called The Mixing Bowl Noshery for breakfast. The quaint restaurant with random country decor served up delicious food, with many of the recipes having come from the owner’s grandmother.DSC_9332-2DSC_9315-2DSC_9316-2DSC_9344-2After breakfast, we drove to the 18th and Vine historic jazz district to check out the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This little neighborhood has a lot of historic charm, including an old theater and painted storefronts that replicate mid-century businesses.DSC_9440-2
The two museums are housed in the same building and charge one admission price to see both. Jameson napped like a champ as we made our way through the exhibits and were inspired by the indomitable human spirit and the way we often create to overcome our deepest pains.DSC_9381-2DSC_9361-2DSC_9356-2The Jazz Museum was particularly fun, given the connection of jazz to the place we call home, Harlem. We loved seeing photos from the 1930’s of streets and restaurants we frequent. In fact, if you’re ever in Harlem and want to relive some of those jazz days of old, check out the revived Minton’s, which is known as the birth place of Bebop.DSC_9413-2
For dinner we went to Q39 in the Westport neighborhood and had yet another delicious meal. I had barbeque salmon (because I really can only take but so much red meat), and Jordan had a ground brisket burger with burnt ends on top. Whoa, that was amazing. I’d share a photo, but Jordan was about halfway through with it by the time I got a pic of my meal. But if you find yourself in KC, find your way to that burger!

We had dreams of going out that night and catching some live music, but we were all exhausted and tucked it in pretty early.

On our last morning before flying home, Jordan suggested we cross the border and have breakfast in Kansas, so that we could add another state to the list of ones we’ve visited. :-) So we drove to Sawnee, KS and ate at First Watch. I’d never heard of or visited this chain before, but I loved it! (Maryland/D.C. peeps – are you on to this?) This cucumber cooler number was on the money.DSC_9469-2Jameson liked sharing my eggs and avocado hash too. This is a face he makes often these days, and the sound that goes with it is, “Eeeeeeeee!” You can also get a look at what eating out with Jameson typically looks like: my required coffee and his assortment of toys.DSC_9468-2DSC_9461-2And just like that, it was time to head back to NYC. We’re grateful for the opportunity to travel and explore new places together. We’re grateful that Jordan gets invited to speak in places we otherwise wouldn’t visit.

And here’s my favorite little excerpt from his message at the conference in Joplin:

Most people look at the cross and say, “Oh, we’re forgiven.” And while that’s true,  the grace we receive goes much further than that. Forgiveness says, “You may go. I’m not going to punish you.” But grace says, “You may come. You are welcome to all my love and presence. I want a relationship with you.” 

Another reason to be grateful.


We got a lot of great recommendations for barbeque that I think are worth sharing. Unfortunately, we only had but so many meals in 36 hours, but if I’d had more time, I would have visited all of these: Arthur Bryants (we actually stopped there on the ride from the airport to Joplin and scarfed down ribs in the car), Gates, Jack Stack, Joe’s KC, and Q39.

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  • Reply
    Tanya Velardo
    February 29, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I ate at First Watch in the St Louis area and always LOVED it! Great choice for breakfast!!

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      February 29, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Lucky you! I’m going to try to visit another one the next time I head south.

  • Reply
    Ma Rice
    February 29, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Looks like it was a great excursion! And Jameson is uber- cute; he’s becoming quite the traveler!

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      February 29, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      It was a fun time. And yes, we counted that he’s already been to 10 states. :)

  • Reply
    March 1, 2016 at 3:49 am

    I’m going to have to give First Watch another try. Went some time ago and my favorite thing was the hot chocolate but my food was just kinda okay. Could have been what I ordered…but the staff, decor, and concept -loved it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      March 3, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Happy to share! I had a hash with bacon, avocado, and egg, which was really good. And Jordan got a chicken chimichanga thing that was also tasty.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

    I’ve never been to First Watch and apparently it’s down the street from my sister’s house! I want to try it out this month.

    The ground brisket burger with burnt ends on top sounds AMAZING! I need to find that locally because it sounds like something I need to eat.

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      March 3, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      Definitely give it a try and let me know what you think. I wish there was one closer to NYC, although it’s not like we’re really lacking for good food options, ha. And yes, that burger was incredible. If you find something similar in town, PLEASE share.

  • Reply
    Walter Mackins
    May 30, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Hope to be in KC next May for about 36 hours. Any suggestions re accommodations? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      May 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      We booked a room at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center using Hotwire, and we found it to be convenient for getting around to a lot of things in the city. We made quick drives to most places, but the hotel also has a free shuttle to a bunch of the local places you’d want to visit. Hope you have a great time when you visit!

  • Reply
    Walter Mackins
    June 4, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Wow, thank you so much! I like the idea of the shuttle though I also like to walk and get a “feel” for a new place.
    Your site was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks again!

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