Kansas City, MO Edition: Arthur Bryant's Barbeque Restaurant

By Candace Nelson - 7:47 PM

Arthur Bryant’s

In 1972, famous New Yorker magazine author Calvin Trillin declared in Playboy magazine that “the single best restaurant in the world is Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue at 18th and Brooklyn in Kansas City." Arthur Bryant's is now considered one of the most famous BBQ restaurants in the world.

Arthur Bryant’s

I think Trillin's take on the restaurant was more of a tongue-in-cheek ode to his hometown favorites. He goes on to say Jess and Jim's serves the finest steak in the world, Winstead's the finest burger, and the city itself to have the finest donuts and milkshake on the globe. He was later quoted as saying: "Listen, when you ask me if I really like Winstead's burgers, all I can answer is that I'm from Kansas City. Any guy who doesn't think his hometown hamburgers are best is sissy.” Nonetheless, Arthur Bryant's has enjoyed quite the reception from this claim - touting it prominently where applicable.

Arthur Bryants

Arthur Bryant's Barbeque features succulent meat that's slow-smoked with a combination of hickory and oak woods, mellowed to the peak of flavor, then splashed with Arthur Bryant's Original or Rich & Spicy Sauce – their secret recipe.

Created by Arthur Bryant, the restaurant continues to honor his legacy of serving the country's finest barbeque.

Arthur Bryant, the legendary King of Ribs, is the most renowned "barbequer" in history. He created a sauce that has attracted the likes of former Presidents Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama to his restaurant, according to the website.

"Charlie Bryant started the Kansas City barbeque tradition, or some say it was Henry Perry for whom Charlie worked. Arthur visited his brother Charlie in Kansas City and never left. Upon his brother's death, Arthur took over the operation and moved the restaurant to where it stands today at 18th & Brooklyn. At the time, that was just four blocks away from Municipal Stadium, home of the Kansas City Blues and then the Kansas City Athletics. It was also the first home to the Kansas City Chiefs. This move catapulted the restaurant to country-wide popularity. The eatery is nationally known and often recognized by experts as the best or one of the best barbecue offerings in the country. As the fan base for the teams grew, and visiting teams and VIPs passed through our city, passion for Arthur Bryant's Barbecue continued to skyrocket."

"Today current ownership feels strongly about its role as guardian of the Arthur Bryant's tradition and works diligently to maintain its integrity. For example, Arthur used to mix and store his sauce in big five-gallon glass jars, which you can still see displayed in the restaurant's window today."

Arthur Bryant’s

The menu features: BBQ Sandwiches - beef, ham, pork, turkey, sausage or burnt ends; baby back ribs; half chicken; The 3 B Sandwich (with burnt ends); The 18th & Vine (with pulled pork); fries; onion rings, baked beans; cole slaw; pickles; potato casserole; potato salad; and bread.

Kansas City style BBQ is known for its thick, sweet sauce derived from brown sugar, molasses, and tomatoes; and its burnt ends, which were made famous at Arthur Bryant's, where cooks would chop off the "burnt ends” of slabs of brisket and give them away for free. They are now a main atttaction.

Arthur Bryants

There is always a long line at Arthur Bryant's, where you wait to order your food. I called ahead to place an order - there is a minimum dollar amount, and I was glad to pay it to get some extra food to share with friends and skip the line. My main order was the burnt end sandwich, which was like sweet and tangy bits of meat candy. Its texture and its flavor are a duo of deliciousness. It's the antithesis of that fatty or gummy bits you find in BBQ sometimes. It's perfection. I took mine to go, though there is a well-worn dining area to get the full vibe.

Arthur Bryant’s

Grade: A

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