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What do Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Barak Obama all have in common? Okay, yes, they are all former presidents. Also, they have all dined at Arthur Bryant’s. If you ask any Kansas Citian to point you to the best barbeque in Kansas City, Arthur Bryant’s will be on their top three list. So pull up a chair and get ready to have a presidential, BBQ dining experience.
Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
Located in the 18th & Vine historic district, Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque is, of course, served Kansas City style. The meat is slow-smoked using hickory and oak woods, but the real secret is in the sauce.
Arthur Bryant’s has both an Original and Rich & Spicy sauce. The sauces are so popular that the restaurant runs an e-commerce business that focuses purely on shipping their sauces and rubs around the world. Goldbelly takes it a step further by shipping barbeque, ribs, and pork samplers around the country.
“Arthur Bryant’s was famously named “the single best restaurant in the world” by writer Calvin Trillin in Playboy. The restaurant has also been featured on Ted Lasso, the Last Man Standing, and almost every popular cooking show on the Food Network.” | Goldbelly
If you know, you know. If you are visiting KC, you are more than likely planning a stop at Arthur Bryant’s. Before you head that way, borrow a few of our tips:
- The lines can be long. Arrive prepared or arrive just before they officially open which usually means a shorter wait.
- Weekdays are less busy than weekends. Tuesday is usually a pretty good bet for shorter waits.
- Sides are not included, but you should order the onion rings anyway.
- Kanasas City BBQ sauce is distinctive, be prepared; it’s our thing
- You can park on the street.
- It’s divey. We’re big fans of divey places here at Eat Drink Dive, but we know it’s not for everyone.
- Divey also means that sometimes the tables are a little grimey. If you can’t hang, come prepared with wet wipes.
- If you want to take the sauce home, they sell it at most Kansas City area grocery stores.
What Should I Order?
The 3B sandwich is legendary, but it’s hard to pass up the pulled pork and secret sauce.
Is Kansas Joe’s Better?
If you ask a local if they prefer Joe’s to Arthur Bryant’s, you’ll find both strong opinions and those who prefer to not pick between the city’s BBQ legends.
Arthur Bryant’s is the father of KC BBQ, and Joe’s is newer but also considered a local institution.
In my opinion, Joe’s rocks smoked brisket, and Arthur Bryant’s rocks pulled pork. If you are visiting Kansas City and looking for things to do, I highly recommend making your own BBQ tasting tour and trying both! Joe’s is known for its Z-Man Sandwich—slow-smoked beef brisket, provolone cheese, and crispy onion rings. At Arthur Bryant’s, it’s the 3B sandwich which includes a nibble of their infamous burnt ends.
When you’re done tasting BBQ history at Arthur Bryant’s, take some time to explore 18th and Vine. For starters, you can easily trot on over to the American Jazz Museum. The museum is a short half a mile walk from Arthur Bryant’s which also serves as a great opportunity to burn off those extra calories.
Inside the museum, you will find The Blue Room, the museum’s own jazz club. Before you head home, you can also swing in to visit the Velvet Freeze. The Velvet Freeze is a great place for daiquiris and happy hour as well as late-night shenanigans. It’s open until 1:30 AM on weekdays (closing early on Mondays) and 2:00 AM Friday and Saturday. The Velvet Freeze is closed on Sundays.