Troost Avenue has long been a dividing line between many Kansas City residents. Restaurants along this famous corridor may be where that line finally blurs.
“That’s the beauty of it. … Troost is a place for everyone, and will always be for everyone. We show (that) through our food offerings and how diverse they are,” Chris Goode, owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery, told KCUR update host Steve Kraske on Friday.
“I see a lot of development that goes along with a lot of the social services that are in this area,” said Jill Silva, co-host of the Chew Diligence podcast. “It’s pretty exciting.”
With the Troostapalooza festival begins this afternoon, Goode, Silva, and Natasha Bailey and Jenny Vergara, KCUR’s hosts Hungry For MO Podcastsearch for the best food on Troost Avenue to help celebrate the diverse communities around it.
Natasha Bailey, Hungry For MO:
- Niecie’s Restaurant – Biscuits and Gravy. For 37 years, this restaurant has served soulful meals that are so good, they feel like a hug from Mom. It has amazing fried chicken, meatloaf, and lots of great sides – not to mention the sweet potato pie.
- Fannie’s African and Tropical Cuisine – Whole Red Snapper. This place serves traditional West African food with a cosy, comforting and fragrant atmosphere. Try the goat, fannie jollof rice, or, for the more adventurous, a whole fish meal, eyeball included.
- Blackhole Bakery — Sour grape mochi. Jason Provo and his team of bakers have created their own black hole, of sorts, on Troost. Many people flock here for her baked donuts in seasonal flavors, but her laminated pastries, such as cheese danches and croissants, are also highly recommended.
- This and That Eatery — Southwest Eggrolls. This small mom-and-pop shop offers a variety of food and drink options. You can grab a quick smoothie or shake, or something more, like a tray of street tacos or a shrimp basket.
- Wah Gwaan — Bitter Leaf Soup. This restaurant offers a unique combination of Jamaican and Nigerian cuisine. The smell of the place welcomes you like you’re walking into someone’s house – one whiff and you’re starving.
- Think Together Cafe – San Francisco Melt. This Black-owned cafe on women-owned property is a coffee shop first, a gathering place second, giving community members from all walks of life a place to gather and connect. Their Caramel Chai and Dirty Chai are amazing choices.
- The Combine – any pizza. Located inside the former Wonder Bread factory, this spot offers wings, pizza, sandwiches, and an extensive beer, wine, and cocktail list. It’s called The Combine because the owners want it to be a place where people from all over Kansas City can come together and enjoy a slice of pizza and each other.
Jenny Vergara, Hungry For MO:
- Happy Gillis Cafe and Hangout – Bacon Date Melt. This happy little breakfast, brunch and lunch spot is the perfect place to start a tour of Troost. This is the place to get farm-fresh food, including two types of biscuits and gravy. Their overnight oats, in seasonal flavours, are all delicious.
- Torn Label Brewing Co. & Pub – Belgian Frites. The Torn Label pub opened right as the pandemic began. Blistered shishito peppers with togarashi seasoning and black garlic caramel, and their seriously good burger are two great reasons to stop in and try some new beers on tap along with your snacks.
- Anchor Island Coffee – Chori Papa. This nautical themed coffee shop and cafe reopened this week after a car crashed through their front door. They bring traditional, but sugar-free, coffee drinks, breakfast burritos, bowls and sandwiches to Troost, rotating coffees from local roasters. They currently serve a pumpkin spice chai latte and a cafe con horchata that tastes like falling in a glass. The Chori Papa has chorizo, roasted potatoes, eggs, spinach, cheese, and sour cream wrapped in a flour tortilla, and served with a spicy tomatillo sauce.
- Go Chicken Go — chicken. Go in line. Get the chicken. Go out. Eat the chicken. It’s that simple.
- Tiki Taco – any tacos. The second outpost for the Wade brothers’ taco shack and groovy cocktails from California will open near the UMKC campus on October 17. They also present their take on Choco Taco, the Tiki Chocos, created in partnership with High Hopes Ice Cream.
- Urban Cafe — Chickpea Tacos. Chef Justin Clark’s food at this sunny spot is amazing. Try his vegetarian chickpea tacos, with crushed chickpeas and cauliflower in corn tortillas with all the toppings, or his smoked pork belly sandwich, with Asian slaw and sambal mayo on a brioche bun and fries.
- High Hopes Ice Cream — any ice cream. Chef Jamie Howard’s walk-up window ice cream shop is across Troost from Blackhole Bakery, so if you’re going to visit one, you need to visit the other. Howard serves about 10 different ice cream flavors that rotate with the seasons, with flavors like Strawberry Soda Pop, Local Breakfast, Mango Chamoy, and Blackberry Thyme Cheesecake.
- The Littlest Bake Shop – baked cakes. This little bakery is located one door down from Earl’s Premier, and sells vegan and gluten-free baked goods that are as beautiful as they are moist and delicious. Try any of their cakes or cupcakes, or one of their delicious lunches with rotating soups.
- Steak’m Take’m – Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich. It might not look like they’re open (they are), but, if you’re craving a Philly cheesesteak, this place can scratch that itch. There is nowhere to sit, so plan to take it to go. They also have turkey and chicken cheesesteak for those looking for white meat.
- Blues and BBQ Lawnside BB — Bar-BQ Sundae. This roadhouse has stood the test of time and development, and is where live music, barbecue and the Big Easy collide. Put the Bar-BQ Sundae in a jar, or try one of their large barbecue sandwiches and fries, along with an ice cold beer. No one leaves hungry.
Jill Silva, Chewing Diligence:
- Baba’s Pantry — Hummus. Chef Yahia Kamal’s business has been around for more than two decades. Its hummus is by far the most popular item on the menu, the saffron lemonade is a close second. The restaurant offers a lovely atmosphere to sit down and eat, and recently won the title of best new restaurant in Bon Appétit magazine.
- Ruby Jean Juice – Slugger. This smoothie shop is fun to be in. You see people you might not expect to see. It’s a great melting pot, and behind the building is an urban garden. The space feels like part of the community and has something for everyone.
- Brady and Fox – Traditional Fish and Chips. This Irish Pub is a great place to grab fish and chips or dessert. Irish Chef Sean Brady brings a bit of flair from his homeland and an amazing scone recipe from his mother.
- Prime Minister Earl — Dip Clam Dip Ipswich. raw oysters, fried oysters, clam dip with homemade potato chips, clam chowder with brine – this suburban seafood spot has something for everyone.
- Billie’s Grocery — bowls. This place is a go-to for those looking for healthier food bowls, baked goods and an amazing turmeric latte.
For-profit food enterprises on or near Troost:
- The Tamale Kitchen. According to founder Becky Gripp, this social enterprise was made to help Hispanic women and their families learn “kitchen table economics” and get out into the community.
- Thelma’s kitchen. This community kitchen offers a variety of home-style options as part of its ongoing mission to serve Kansas City residents affordable meal options. The organization is operating out of a “ghost kitchen” until November 2023, as renovations to its building on Troost continue. In the meantime, residents can look forward to the return of favorite Italian sandwiches and several soups.
- The Forecast. This bistro, staffed by students from non-profit culinary training program, created by chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant. She was at the White House last week, at the invitation of Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, for the first food insecurity summit in more than 50 years.