Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gates Barbecue (7/10) - 1325 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64110

The next stop on our tour took us along the southside of Kansas City to LC's Barbecue.  In almost every town I have ever visited (Atlanta, Austin, DC, Chicago, LA, etc.), the southside is trifling and riddled by crime and poverty.  Southern Kansas City on the contrary, is the home of The Plaza -- a pastoral high-end commercial district constructed along the banks of Brush Creek.  While Matt and I were driving passed The Plaza discussing our plans to eat at Jack Stack there for dinner, we located a Gates Barbecue up on our left.  Although we knew that this was not the original Gates location, we still flicked the left blinker and pulled off towards our second meal of the day.

The large brick building was emblazoned with the smooth dressed black-tie server.  The owners of the restaurant rebranded the logo a few decades past to appeal to a more sophisticated consumer, and that mantra continues throughout the decorum of the restaurant, especially on the 'champagne & barbecue' poster in the entrance-way wall.  The main walkway through the middle of the restaurant is made to appear like a city street while the adjacent rooms are store fronts.

After surveying the menu and forgetting that Clint suggested that we try a burnt end sandwich at every barbecue restaurant in the city, we decide on a pork sandwich.  The men behind the counter then deli-sliced the meat before stacking it between 3 slices of white toast.  The sandwich was enormous and fairly priced at $5.75.  The greatest attribute was the heavenly ratio of pork to bread.  The pork had good flavor but was on par for what I expected at a chain restaurant.  The meat itself was not quite as tasty as what we had just eaten at Oklahoma Joe's, but overall, it was slightly a better sandwich.  Before leaving the restaurant, we remembered Clint's advice, and returned to the counter for a burnt ends sandwich.  Our servers were excited that we returned for more.

A burnt end sandwich is not made for a borderline on the cusp meat-eater.  Nor will it be appreciated by anyone with any health conscienceness.  The outside of a pork shoulder is almost 100% fat.  The sandwich is essentially a hoagie roll stacked high and full of the outside ends of the pork shoulder.   Fighting against all my body's wishes, I dove straight into one of the fattiest least healthy sandwiches I can ever imagine.  I'm not even sure that Elvis's infamous Fools Gold Loaf has anything on this.  And to be perfectly honest, it was pretty delicious.  I've heard that fat gives meat most of its flavor and Gates Burnt End Sandwich is the posterboy of Flavor Country.  We saved half of it for later in the night for when we knew that in our drunken stupor in Stillwater, Oklahoma  -- it would be that much more wonderful.

The most absurd part of our meal occurred while we were sitting in a side room waiting for our food.  Matt points at this tiny old lady whose size pales in comparison to the amount of food sitting in front of her and yells, "barbecue can't be that bad for you, look at how old that lady is and how much food she has!  She's still alive!"  Poor lady.

Gates Barbecue on Urbanspoon


  1. Kansas City bbq is all about the beef brisket. Ordering pork there is kinda like expecting a stellar lobster roll in Phoenix.
    The beef, however, is AMAZING.

  2. Just wanted to say that the burnt ends at all KC bbq joints are made from brisket, not pork, including that Gates burnt end sandwhich. Love what you guys are doing keep up the good work.

  3. Pork burnt ends. Really?


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.