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.
Harley, the founder of Strawberry Hill Povitica Company, began baking povitica bread in 1984 using his mother's traditional Slavic recipe. He passed away in 1999, but his children and dedicated bakers continue to prepare the dense, sweet bread following his mother's technique. They roll dough into paper-thin layers, pile on ingredients such as nuts and honey, and roll the layers into loaves that weigh 2.5 pounds each after they're baked. Patrons can choose from Kosher-certified flavors such as english walnut, cokolada, or chocolate-chip cream cheese. The bread can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: toasted and buttered, crowned with a scoop of ice cream, or sandwiched around a whole roasted turkey.
In the eyes of New China Town's proprietors, dining, at its best, should be a communal experience. That's why an entire section of the menu is dedicated to family dinners. Accommodating up to six people, these shareable feasts include staples such as crab rangoon, kung pao chicken, and those tasty strips of paper inside fortune cookies.
Of course, all of New China Town's traditional dishes––from BBQ pork to orange chicken smothered in housemade sauce––are available as individual portions, too. Alongside Chinese specialties, the culinary team whips up a handful of Thai dishes, including beef pad thai and red curry with shrimp. Meals unfold inside a cozy dining room with simple white booths, lime walls, and orchids.
For 70 years, Winstead’s has garnered a myriad of accolades and praise for its scrumptious hamburgers and other drive-in eats. Poke through the menu to find the joint’s signature Double Winstead steakburger, grilled with U.S. Choice Steak and topped with all the sloppy-tasty fixings––mustard, ketchup, pickle, and onion ($3.35). The Fifty-Fifty puts hot and crisp french fries and crunchy onion rings side by side in the most delicious peace pact since ketchup and mustard ended their hot-dog feud ($2.19). Scarf a chili cheese dog ($2.79) or grilled-cheese sandwich ($2.05), and then focus on Winstead’s old-fashioned desserts. Creamy milk shakes and malts ($2.45–$4.55) immerse taste buds in flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, and butterscotch, and Winstead’s beloved skyscraper shake ($7.25) packs enough iced delight to quench the thirsts of four people or one André the Giant. Other desserts include a root-beer float ($2.45) and apple-dumpling à la mode ($4.60).
Featured on NBC Action News, Korean Restaurant Sobahn crafts authentic Korean cuisine that recalls the ancestral homeland of the owner-and-manager. The menu, updated regularly to reflect Korea's changing culinary trends, boasts savory options ranging from meats and seafood to stews. Within a hot stone bowl of dolsot bibimbap, rice nestles snugly betwixt hearty beef and vegetables, and the entire creation rests under a jaunty fried egg given to the restaurant at a baseball stadium's fan appreciation day ($12.99). Tear into thinly sliced beef bulgogi ($12.99) or the jaeyuk bokkeum's pork soaked in a spicy marinade ($12.99). Every entree can accompany a collection of banchan, a set of about five complimentary side dishes that enhance the flavor of the table's meals. While the banchan has been known to shift daily, like a greased sunrise, past dishes include zucchini, seasoned seaweed, tempura fish cakes, and spicy kimchi, which is made fresh daily.
Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Popeyes remains the flavorful lovechild of Cajun and Creole cooking, serving up a wide-ranging menu. Connoisseurs of crispiness can stick with Popeyes’ famous New Orleans–style fried chicken meals ($4.49–$6.89) surrounded with savory sides ($1.59–$3.79) such as warm flaky biscuits, red beans and rice, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, Cajun rice, and more. Otherwise, slather some livers and gizzards ($2.99–$5.49) onto a biscuit and eat it, temporarily imbuing you with the chicken’s mighty strength and ability to smell time. Avian-averse appetites can feast instead on a shrimp po’ boy combo ($6.19) with a pecan pie ($1.49) or Mississippi mud pie ($1.99) for dessert. And to keep your famished family from impeaching you and electing a new parent, quell multi-person appetites with bona fide family meals ($10.49–$30.99).