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BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City, MO

My ALSD (Association of Luxury Suite Directors) conference was a couple weeks ago in Kansas City. It’s in a different city every year, and they focus on cities with new venue construction or major renovations.  The previous 7 years it’s been in Phoenix, Miami, Dallas, NYC, LA, Minneapolis, and Orlando.  Next year it’s in San Francisco, and I’m really looking forward to that so I can stay longer and check out wine country.

I’ve made so many friends within the ALSD, and the conference is kind of our annual reunion.  The conference starts late Sunday afternoon with a reception in the exhibit hall, and a venue tour.  I used to get to town early Sunday, but by about 9pm that night I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open.  So now I go on Saturday, which works out better especially since we have a board meeting early Sunday afternoon to kick off the conference.

I got up early Sunday and had a great 5-mile run to start the day, went back up to the room and took a power nap, and then was ready for some lunch.  We were staying at the downtown Marriott, just a few blocks from the Power & Light District, a great entertainment district with tons of bars & restaurants.  I had never been to KC for anything other than basketball tournaments, so it was kind of weird to be there with so few people relative to the thousands of basketball fans that descend on KC every March.  I had eaten at McFadden’s, Gordon Biersch, 801 Chop house, and Pizza Bar many times over the years, so I wanted something different.  I came across BRGR Kitchen & Bar on the P&L website and decided to try it out.  I ran into my OSU colleague Jim in the hotel lobby, so he joined me.

BRGR is a very cool industrial-looking building.  It’s got a nice outdoor patio, but it was way too windy to sit out there.  The inside has dark wood tables, industrial looking metal chairs, and a large open bar in the middle with the glassware hanging from shelving hung from the ceiling.  The bathrooms are really interesting.  You walk through the main restroom door, then there’s a women’s door to the left, a men’s door to the right, and a community sink area in the middle.  And the sink is literally a trough/long tub.  I’ve never seen a setup like it before.  I meant to take a picture, but I forgot.

There’s lots to choose from on the regular menu, and the Sunday brunch menu just added more to my selection options.  They have lots of beers, as well as adult shakes and regular milkshakes.  I decided to start with the Jost shake

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Cruzan rum, vodka, Bailey’s, Kahlua, chocolate liqueur, Coco Lopez, vanilla ice cream, nutmeg

Wow!  This shake was amazing.  Creamy, delicious, with a good kick, but not overpowering. I could have downed the whole thing in less than 5 minutes, but I drank it slow so I could enjoy it with my meal.

I had been craving a burger, but earlier in the day I saw that it was National fried chicken day.  BRGR must have been reading my mind, as they had chicken & waffles on the brunch menu.  I was a little concerned though…they were Belgian waffles, and I wasn’t sure we were allowed to eat those since we had just lost to Belgium in the World Cup.  But the sever assured me it was okay, because they were made from cornmeal, so they weren’t truly Belgian. That was good enough for me.

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Corn bread Belgium waffle, crispy chicken tenders, maple bacon butter, fried eggs, bottle of Tabasco

In a word, awesome.  The chicken was lightly coated, the 5 pieces were huge, and it was so good.  The waffles were cooked perfectly, with a crispy cornmeal crust and soft inside.  The maple bacon butter syrup, which honestly was one of the things that sold me, was amazing and served hot.  The eggs were okay.  A little overcooked for my taste, but still good.

On Monday the conference hosts a awards luncheon.  Blair and I always skip out, and instead go find someplace to eat nearby.  We went over a few options while we walked down to P&L, and after I told him how good the food was at BRGR, we decided to go there again.  On our way down we saw Bruce, Laura and Kathy, and they were headed there as well.  Bruce and Laura had already been there twice since they arrived.

Of course I got the Jost shake again.  And it was even stronger this time.  So I definitely stuck with one, since Blair and I had to go back and moderate our league session.  We started with the Chile fondue and the pig wings

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Crispy pork shank, scotch-honey glaze, blue cheese, sambal, celery

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Seven cheeses, smoked chilies, braised tomatoes, stadium pretzels, corn & flour chips

The pig wings were phenomenal.  I was very surprised how big they were, and the meat was falling off the bone.  The scotch honey glaze was really, really good.  Not really sure what sambal was, but it sure tasted good.  The fondue was delicious, warm and creamy, and I loved how it was served in the cast iron pot.  The pretzel was soft and delicious.  We devoured the wings, and ate some of the fondue and pretzels, but had to slow down so we could actually finish our meal.

On Sunday Jim had the Juicy Lucy burger .  He raved about how good it was, and talked about a show where guys go across the country searching for the best Juicy Lucy’s and this was a featured one.  So I went with it to conquer my burger craving, as well as the parmesan truffle fries.

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

1/2lb chuck & short rib blend, ground fresh, mixed with Worcestershire sauce, American cheese stuffed, lettuce, mayo, Kaiser bun

The burger was fantastic.  Cooked perfect medium, the cheese was gooey and delicious.  I could have eaten 2 of them, but that would have just been gluttonous.  The parmesan truffle fries were so good.   The parm was definitely the real thing, not that stuff in a can.

Bruce had the KC Butcher

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

1/2lb burger, 4oz hanger steak cooked medium, boursin horseradish cream cheese, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, sourdough, onion ring

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

This was the hugest burger I’ve ever seen!  Bruce dominated it, and ate everything but a little part of the bread.  We were all very impressed.

They have custom bottled ketchup and mustard.  And I really liked the ketchup, as it had a little something extra. Not sure exactly what, but it was a more smoky flavor than regular.

BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Kansas City MO - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I forgot to take pictures of everyone else’s food.  Blair had the turkey burger, and said the addition of avocado killed it–in a good way.  Kathy raved about the Tacos de BRGR with the slow braised pork shoulder.  I can’t remember what Laura had, but she really liked it too. Kathy had also ordered the truffle tater tots.  Fantastic. So much so that I took the leftovers as a snack for later.  And they were just as good that night.

Will I go back?  No question.  It will definitely be on the food rotation when I’m back in KC for the Big 12 basketball tournament.

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