Black Dog Coffeehouse: Neighborhood Coffee Shop
Skip the national chain places. Black Dog Coffeehouse is a much better place to get some joe than any of these. BDC appeals to all age groups and to families and people with dogs. Afternoons and evenings you will find a number of students studying or working together on school projects. Soccer moms drop in during practice, and I think this is the only office some business people have. (Free wireless internet here.)
Updated May, 2009: A change of ownership took place a year ago. The new guy changed to a different roaster, and the result has not been pleasing to many, with a resulting drop-off in business. There are other factors at work in the slowdown, too, in addition to the slowed economy - loss of friendly, skilled baristas, less attention to cleanliness details, and a much less convivial atmosphere. In my mind it is still preferable to $tarbuck$, but not as good as it once was.
Favorite Dish: 1. Cafe Caramello - latte with caramel and vanilla syrups.
2. Sugar-free mocha - excellent espresso with a just the right amount of sugar-free chocolate syrup.
3. Snickers Latte - definitely for those with a sweet tooth; latte with caramel, chocolate, and hazelnut syrups (available sugar-free)
Looking at the above, it's easy to see that I have a taste for sweets.
- Food and Dining
The Holy Land Cafe: Middle Eastern Food
This is one of those little, out-of-the way cafes that you like to find. The food is good, and it's inexpensive. No fancy decor, just plain old diner booths, but who cares? You get personal attention and a decent meal for a decent price. I guess that is why this family restaurant has been here for so long.
Update - March, 2006: Good news! The Holy Land is expanding and remodeling its dining areas. Better yet, they are adding their own bakery! I'll update this section when the bakery is up and rolling.
Favorite Dish: The Holy Land Cafe has become one of my favorite places to eat in the area. On my first visit with my wife, I had the lamb kebobs, which were nicely done. Several times since that, I have dropped in for lunch special that includes a gyro, an excellent Greek salad and a drink for only US$5.00.
My favorite dish, however, is the chicken shawarma, tender and slightly spicy, served with basmati rice and vegetables. There are a number of offerings for vegetarians, as well.
- Food and Dining
Adrian's Cafe: Out of the way, but worth the drive...
Adrian's is one of those little places that all of the locals know about, and loyally frequent. It is not what you might call a "destination" restaurant, but just a nice cafe for lunch - especially if you like soups and sandwiches. The breads and soups are homemade, the portions generous.
Favorite Dish: The Soup and Sandwich Special - especially the potato soup.
Kieltyka's Stone Wall Inn: A Local Favorite
For years, I have heard friends mention the Stone Wall Inn as a great place to eat, and not until recently did my wife and I give it a try, despite the fact that it is less than five minutes from our house. What a pity we waited so long.
Kieltyka's has a homey feel, partly due to the fact that it is in an old house, partly due to the fact that a lot of the patrons are regulars who gather for the friendship as much as the food. One critic complained that the place was noisy, but I thought the "noise" was similar to that when our family and friends gather for a special occasion, so didn't find it disturbing.
Our service was excellent - we mentioned that we had symphony tickets and couldn't linger, and the staff was most accommodating.
In a separate house is a pizza shoppe / coffee shop / bakery which is popular as well. Both have outside "dining."
Favorite Dish: There are a couple of Polish specialties on Kieltyka's menu. I tried the Polish-style pork chops, two lightly breaded, steam baked chops topped with onion and served over a sweet caraway seed kraut. Incredible. Tender and flavorful. My wife had the chicken fried steak which she reported to be excellent. You could tell that the New England clam chowder was home made - it actually had a generous supply of clams.
My second visit was for lunch. I had a Polish sausage on rye with kraut (sort of like a Ruben, but with kielbasa). Pretty good stuff.
- Food and Dining
Zarda's: Barbecue, Bar-B-Q, BBQ - it's all the same!
No matter how you spell it, this is one of the KC area's fine barbecue establishments. Place your order at the counter and they'll call your number when your meal is ready. Lots of tables here, so don't be put off if you see lots of cars in the lot.
Favorite Dish: If there are several of you, I recommend the bountiful blessings of one of the family platters, featuring a variety of smoked meats. I particularly like their brisket, lean and tender. And Zarda's beans are so popular they are sold in supermarkets. The beans are smokey and contain chunks of brisket. They do have a so-so salad bar, but it's not a good place for vegetarians.
China Inn: Chinese Chow Cheap
This is one of those numerous Chinese restaurants that is tucked away in a strip mall and relies mostly on carry-out and delivery. China Inn only has six tables. Also like most of these restaurants, you can count on generous portions, and reasonable prices.
Favorite Dish: A report on my first visit to this newly opened establishment: The large serving of General Tso's chicken was hot and spicy, tender and tasty. The egg drop soup was quite rich, the egg roll ok but not very crisp. The only downer was the dry and flavorless fried rice. (That's ok for me - I'm on a controlled carb diet, anyway.)
My second evaluation is less satisfactory. The General's Chicken was flavored nicely, but featured far too much breading and far too little chicken. The rice has not improved.
Even though this place is close to home, I'll probably not be around often to try other menu choices.
Panzon's: Tex-Mex in Suburbia
A lot of people in the Kansas City Metro area believe that the only places to get decent Mexican food in the area are along the boulevard in KC's West Side. Wrong Salsa Breath! Panzon's can stand up to the best of them. Don't be fooled by the dull strip-mall exterior of the restaurant. The atmosphere, service and food are all commendable. Note - not open after church on Sunday, unfortunately.
Favorite Dish: Lots of good choices - it's not all your standard ground beef with taco sauce fare. I usually get one of the combination plates that includes a tamale.
- Food and Dining
Café Augusta: New and Exciting American Bistro
New American Bistro, opened in May 2009. Back soon with more details.
Favorite Dish: Coffee and Pastries!!!!!!!!!!
More info later about the wonderful food ...
- Food and Dining
Samurai Teriyaki: Cheerful and Efficient Fast Japanese
Cheerful little Japanese place - eat-in or take-out - along W. 87th Street in Lenexa, just west of I-35. Close to Rosehill, it's on the south side of the strip.
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