Kansas City pit-masters are a bit like wizards: with dashes of sauce and wisps of wood-smoke, they summon barbecue aficionados from across the world. But tourists aren't the only ones who hunger for their savory-sweet brisket, ribs, and burnt ends––locals do, too. Bethanie Schemel, owner of KC Barbecue Tours, gives both locals and travelers insider's access to the rich history––and deep flavor––of the city's smoked-meat scene through bus-guided food tours.
On these tours, groups visit famed barbecue hot-spots. They also make stops at beneath-the-radar barbecue joints. "We do have a couple smaller places on our tour that we tend to keep a secret because they are the hidden gems that not a lot of people know about," owner Bethanie Schemel told KCTV 5 News. Food isn't the only reason for booking a spot on one of KC Barbecue Tours' expeditions—participants also get a peek at behind-the-scenes preparation techniques, and can ask pit-masters for tips on what type of wood chips to use or how to build a xylophone from leftover rib bones.
If your shady parking spot rests beneath bird-filled trees, or someone scrawled carpetbagger into the inch of road salt on your car window, Travel Clean Express Car Wash can give your vehicle its original off-the-lot luster. With today's Groupon, you'll get Travel Clean's ultimate car wash for $5 (a $12 value). Use your Groupon at Travel Clean's locations in Lee's Summit or Overland Park.
Taking a three-hour lunch break might be frowned upon when you're at the office, but not if you work for Taste of Kansas City Food Tours. The company's tour guides specialize in meals on the move, leading groups to nearby restaurants for samples of their specialties. The stops on the walking tour tend to be locally owned eateries located slightly to the left of the mainstream—though they don't shy away from a famous pizza joint or two.
One route takes guests through Crossroads, and the other explores Westport, but both fill the time between bites with facts about the neighborhood and its history. The tastings on each tour might change from day to day, so surprise is the only common ingredient. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that you'll end the afternoon with a full stomach and a stack of clean plates.
With "Comfort is just a spoonful away" as its motto, Pegah's Family Restaurant serves up classic comfort food from a kaleidoscopic menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The kitchen cooks traditional American dishes, filling plates with the likes of homemade soup, pancakes, reubens, and chicken fried steaks. A red awning welcomes diners into the brightly lit space, so homelike that no one would judge you if you wanted to eat breakfast for lunch or lunch for dessert.
It’s hard to make new friends in a park; but, thanks to KC Crew, friendships have been blossoming all over Roanoke Park, Parade Park, and Penn Valley Park. The secret to their success is rec leagues, in which players compete in kickball, flag football, soccer, softball, and sand volleyball, a beachy sport far preferable to speed eating shells. The organization provides umpires, a game schedule, and a $100 credit at eight local bars awarded to the winning team each week. And after the sun goes down, the organization offers more in-depth studies of the area nightlife through bar crawls, themed to celebrate holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or simulate a zombie apocalypse.
At Wine Barn, what began as a small grape-growing and hobby winemaking operation quickly grew into a larger family business. In 2007, the Wine Barn facilities were constructed, and soon a winery and tasting room sprang up, giving birth to their first vintage. Since then, Wine Barn's estate has produced a wide variety of wines to satisfy both the new and experienced wine drinker alike. The family welcomes visitors to peruse a suite of more than 20 wines, sip samples in the tasting room, or simply look out across the landscape's tranquil ponds and vineyards.