While the mention of something being “quirky” can sometimes be interpreted as something odd, that’s not the case for these bars and restaurants in Kansas City. When I describe them as quirky, I mean that they are unique and unlike other places you’ll find in the city. These places bring together some of the best hospitality, creativity, and cleverness when it comes to giving you a memorable visit. Whether you’re a train lover, want to pretend you’re on a ship, or love a foot-high rainbow cake, these spots are worth checking out.
Quirky Restaurants In Kansas City
When Succotash first opened it was located in the City Market. My favorite table was inside an out-of-use elevator. They have since moved into the Longfellow Heights neighborhood, but their whimsy and pudgy lima bean logo followed them there.
In addition to their delicious breakfast and lunch, they also have an impressive bakery. They recently introduced bronuts – yes, brownie donuts. This place is one of the best breakfast and brunch spots in Kansas City.
2601 Holmes, Kansas City, Missouri
2. Chez Elle
Stepping into Chez Elle might have you feeling a little like you’re in Paris. This crêperie and coffeehouse is full of sidewalk cafe-style tables and chairs and Parisian art. Their crêpe menu runs from sweet to savory and offers almost 30 delicious flavor combinations to choose from.
If crêpes aren’t your thing, they also have salads, soups, and baked goods.
1713 Summit St., Kansas City, Missouri
3. Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant
If eating in a train-themed restaurant with a model train running around delivering your food and a paper conductor hat on your head sounds fun, you have to go to Fritz’s! They’ll even let you eat without the hat, but what’s the fun in that?
The food is mostly burgers, hot dogs, fries, and milkshakes but they have an impressive selection within those categories. Your kids will love it (along with these other options), but so will you.
2450 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri (located inside Crown Center, and two more locations in Lenexa and Kansas City, Kansas)
4. Café Gratitude
If positive affirmations and sharing gratitude over healthy food are on your list of fun things to do, you will love Café Gratitude. This solar-powered vegan restaurant creates a variety of international dishes, soups, and smoothies from locally-sourced veggies.
Each menu item is listed as something you say about yourself, like the “I Am Beautiful.” When you receive it, your waitperson will return the compliment saying, “You are Beautiful.”
333 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri
5. Grinders Kansas City
While not the exact opposite of the last restaurant, Grinders is certainly far more rock and roll than peaceful. This pizza and Philly cheesesteak restaurant also has a stage in their backyard that hosts live bands from all over the country.
You’ll also find a great selection of rotating beers on tap and in cans. The patio is a must if you’re looking for a chill place to hang out in the Crossroads.
417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Missouri (there’s also a location in Lenexa, Kansas)
The Local Pig is a butchery that also teaches the public how to butcher meat. They added a food truck and then moved the whole operation from the East Bottoms to the City Market. They offer a variety of gourmet sandwiches and beer.
20 E. Fifth St., Kansas City, Missouri
7. Happy Gillis
Happy Gillis has been a long-time favorite among locals as a great breakfast and lunch spot. The menu is full of homemade biscuits & gravy and breakfast sandwiches and fresh sandwiches, salads, and grain bowls for lunch.
If that menu here doesn’t grab you, the owners also operate a ramen shop right next door.
549 Gillis St., Kansas City, Missouri
Unique Bars In Kansas City
8. The Ship
The history of The Ship can be found in more detail in this post, but the basic story is that this bar was resurrected in a new location in 2014. Luckily someone had put the original bar, which resembles a ship, into storage and it was able to be brought back to life.
Located in the West Bottoms, this place is a must-visit for anyone who loves a good cocktail, some quality pub food, and vintage vibes.
1217 Union Ave., Kansas City, Missouri
9. The Conductor Club
The Conductor Club is located on the third floor of historic Union Station and is focused on providing an elevated cocktail and spirit experience for its guests.
Started in quarantine as a spirit tasting club, its offerings have evolved into tastings, cocktail making classes, holiday pop-ups, and a speakeasy cocktail bar.
30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri (located inside Union Station)
10. O’Malley’s Pub
Located a scenic 40-minute drive from downtown Kansas City, a trip up to O’Malley’s Pub is definitely worth the drive. The Weston Brewing Company was founded in 1842 by a German immigrant named John Georgian. The Brewery dug out five stone cellars below the brewery to store the beer at the coldest temperature possible (in those times). The cellars are now used to house O’Malley’s Pub which serves up Weston Brewing Company beers, plenty of Irish whiskies, and hosts Irish bands and musicians.
It’s also home of the very popular Weston Irish Festival.
540 Welt St., Weston, Missouri
11. Taps on Main
At Taps on Main you can pour your own craft beer seven days a week. They have 40 taps that you can get as little or as much from as you’d like. You can hop on the KC Streetcar and get off right by this bar in the heart of the Crossroads District.
They also serve up delicious pub food and cocktails and you will love their laid-back vibes. If you’re looking for a fun place to watch a sporting event, with a dozen televisions, this is a great place to be.
1715 Main St., Kansas City, Missouri
About the author
Jenn Beard is the founder of Cocktails Away—a collection of adventures in pursuit of a great drink, a quality spirit, a unique ingredient, and the places they come from. When not traveling, she lives in Kansas City. Check out her blog for mouthwatering recipes and insider tips on DIY bartending and cocktail culture or travel to bars around the world at @cocktailsaway.