Ray Lamar hasn't spent decades perfecting his donuts. In fact, his namesake shops still use the same recipes that Ray developed in 1933—at the age of 17—when he got his first job working a donut fryer. World War II and a postwar career as a stockbroker interrupted Ray's donut-making pursuits, although he returned to his roots in 1960 when he founded the first LaMar's Donuts.
The shop went on to become a Kansas City icon, with crowds arriving well before 6 a.m. to line up outside the doors and taunt the roosters for sleeping in. Ray and his wife, Shannon, eventually decided to expand their business into a regional empire, and LaMar's Donuts currently boasts 27 franchised stores spread across six states.
Even with all of this growth, decades-old traditions still dictate how things are done. The workers prepare more than 75 different kinds of donuts, hand-making fresh batches of perennial favorites as well as recent inventions each and every morning. In addition to the original glazed creation that dates back to 1933, the menus can feature a variety of cake donuts with flavors such as red velvet, apple spice, and maple.
Since donuts and coffee go together as naturally as paper shredders and subpar report cards, the stores also prepare cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks. These are all made with handpicked beans that slowly roast inside Italian brick ovens.
From the time he first started frosting cookies and cakes with his mom, Dylan has had a passion for baking. And what began as a bonding experience blossomed into a veritable skill under the tutelage of well-known Kansas City baker Chelsea Williams, helping equipping him for the intricate artistry needed to create custom cakes and desserts. Now making cakes, pies, and cookies in his own shop, Dylan shares his lifelong love with clients with collaboration on custom desserts. He works with everything from fondant designs to towering cakes that reach up to seven tiers tall, creating desserts that are as tasty as they are elegant with flavors such as red velvet, raspberry white chocolate, and Boston cream. Outside of his signature cakes, he creates pastries such as pies, tarts, and the thin, fruity slices of crostatas. The menu includes more than the stereotypical flavors, incorporating options such as ginger crinkle cookies, plum walnut strudels, and chocolate matzo toffee bars, allowing clients to find their new favorite dessert.
Armed with passed-down family recipes, two tenacious sisters serve up fresh dinner rolls baked on-site alongside sandwiches, salads, and soups that eschew preservatives in favor of all-natural ingredients. Big Momma's famous cinnamon rolls come in a triumvirate of flavors and boast diameters of up to 9 inches, making them qualified Frisbee stunt doubles. An aromatic duo of breakfast sandwiches and coffee pries open eyes each morning, and lunchtime hails a parade of hearty sandwiches with turkey, roast beef, and veggie fillings, which patrons can order solo or flanked by a bowl of the daily rotating soup.
GNC's Smoothie Bars blend up a healthy variety of fruit and supplement-infused frozen beverages with 15 flavorful concoctions in its smoothie lineup. Sip from one of GNC's fruit-filled smoothies, such as the sweet Cherry Baby, a synthesis of cherries, pineapple, strawberries, and banana, or indulge in a creamy creation, such as the Peanut Butter Surprise, a medley of peanut butter, banana, and milk. An early Shot of NRG, pumped with ginseng and guarana, provides a healthy alternative to one's usual donuts-and-cotton-candy morning routine, and smoothies such as the strawberry- and banana-assisted Popular Vote can replace calorie-laden afternoon snacks.
Aunt Mary's Cookies whips up cakes, cookies, and lunches from scratch in its locally owned kitchen. Aunt Mary’s baking virtuosos dot a variety of Aunt Mary's signature cookies with chocolate chunks, buttered pecans, and smooth icing ($13–$18/dozen), and crown cupcakes with three-dimensional rosebuds and other feats of frosting artistry. Custom cakes of every shape and theme celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and successfully contested parking tickets. Quell midday hunger with one of Aunt Mary’s daily hot-lunch specials ($6.95), including meatloaf, taco salad, and other temperate treats. Six varieties of freshly baked bread, including sourdough and marble rye, highlight personalized sandwiches, which also give diners the option of five cheeses and five spreads.
The Filling Station independently serves locally roasted espresso and coffee and a scrumptious selection of breakfast and lunch bites in a garage-themed café. Browse the Union Hill menu for the Filling Station's caffeinated concoctions, with espresso roasted from Broadway Café and Roastery and coffee from Oddly Correct Coffee Roasters. For breakfast, the Filling Station offers a plethora of baked goods, from blackberry peach muffins ($1.80) to freshly baked cinnamon rolls ($2.25). Lunchtime brings the killer veggie wrap ($7.50), packed with spinach, tomato, onion, carrots, and more. The Westport menu is more compact, but you can still pick up an apple walnut Danish ($2.50) or almond marzipan croissant ($2.50) in the drive-thru before heading out to hunt the evasive galloping fig tree.