Westport is a small region crowded with trendy restaurants and boutiques, however historically it is the western port of Kansas City that was at one time an individual town. It displaced Independence, MO as the start of the Sante Fe and Oregon Trails for western expansion by 1850 with Kansas City. Now, instead of moving west, you can find vintage clothing at ReRuns, records at Mills Record Company, bubble tea at Tea Drops, or any variety of food and beer, as well as grocery shopping at Sunfresh. During NCECA this area will be bustling as a large St. Patrick’s Day parade will be traveling the streets. From authentic Mexican cuisine at Cancun to great american eats at McCoy’s, Westport has a variety of places to eat to cater to anyone.

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 7.58.00 PMPlease note that on St. Patrick’s Day (which is Thursday of the conference), Westport is the rowdiest part of Kansas City.  If you’re Irish and want to celebrate with your people, look no further than Kelly’s.  They’ll start up “traditional Irish festivities” first thing in the morning.

In addition to a variety of bars, Westport offers some great places to eat, here are a few:

Cancun Fiesta Fresh
4019 Pennsylvania Kansas City, MO 64111
Jerusalem Cafe
431 Westport Road Kansas City, MO 64111
Beer Kitchen
435 Westport Road Kansas City, MO 64111
4057 Pennsylvania Avenue Kansas City, MO 64111
Tea Drops
4111 Pennsylvania Avenue Kansas City, MO 64111
OFF Key Karaoke
510 Westport Rd #100, Kansas City, MO 64111

Luncheon Lawrence (or breakfast or dinner)

Luncheon Lawrence (or breakfast or dinner)

Located just 45 minutes away from the Kansas City Convention Center, Lawrence, KS is hosting 11 exhibitions. An excursion to Lawrence would make a great roadtrip to check out the Lawrence Art Center, Brackers Good Earth Clay and exhibitions at the University of Kansas. If you are traveling early for NCECA, Lawrence is holding a HUGE pre-conference event including wood-firing workshops with performance kilns at KU, a Ceramics Symposium at the Lawrence art Center and Workshops at Brackers Good Earth Clays.  Find more information here.  Resturants that are Hosting exhibitions include the Ladybird Diner with a Salt & Pepper Shaker show and Freestate Brewing Company hosting Growlerfest. Lawrence is not shy in midwest hospitality, where there are some great places to eat:

Aladdin Cafe
1021 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
The Basil Leaf Cafe
616 W. 9th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
Bigg`s Barbeque
2429 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66049
The Burger Stand at the Casbah
803 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044
Cielito Lindo
815 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
El Potro Mexican Cafe
3333 Iowa Street, Lawrence, KS 66046
Free State Brewing Co.
636 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
India Palace
129 E 10th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
Ladybird Diner
721 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
The Roost
920 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044
23rd Street Brewery
3512 Clinton Pkwy, Lawrence, KS 66047


Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.21.23 PMCindy breaking in here and including an addendum to Paul’s post.  Lucky to be a lifetime Lawrencian, (ok townie), I have to dish the dirt on dining.   As mentioned, Free State Brewery, which is hosting Growlerfest, is DEFINITELY a must.  Sit in the outdoor beergarden (the weather will be perfect for this) and sample one of their seasonal brews, or enjoy one of their flagship beers.  If you have dinner, fish & chips….seriously.  You won’t find it better outside of London.  Onion Rings are bomb too.  It’s the beer batter.  tazza_front_bwIf you find yourself in need of a caffeine jolt to help you make the most of your party nights, right next door is La Prima Tazza, Lawrence’s oldest coffee shop.  There’s also a starbucks across the street, but I don’t know how it stays in business.  Lawrence is full of independently owned coffee shops that have asbolutely spoiled me.  Another of my favorites is Z’s Divine Espresso, which is around the corner from the Lawrence Arts Center.  Try the ring of fire, if you’re brave enough.  And speaking of jolts of caffeine, If you are looking for a good place to get your day started, the locals know to go to Wheatfields.

DCF 1.0

Wheatfields Brick Oven

When Ken Ferguson would come in to town, he would stop to buy clay, then he’d stop to buy bread and Macaroons here.  For breakfast, I get the half order of biscuits and gravy (which is huge…the full order is enormous).  They also have excellent breakfast sandwiches and my daughter swears their cinnamon rolls are the best.  And you can be like Ken and grab some Macaroons for the road.   Of course, if you want a sweet breakfast, you have to head out of downtown and up 9th street to hit Muncher’s Bakery…and actually, you don’t have to hit it for breakfast, they’re open 24 hours, and you get a sugar high just walking in the door.  BUT their cream cheese filled doughnuts are to die for….sometimes my mom asks for those in lieu of a birthday cake. 9694633 If you’re a meat eater, don’t miss the Burger Stand for their award winning burgers, and the fries….oh the fries!!! can you say duck fat fries?  truffle fires?  Sweet potato fries, and then the bacon cheddar bourbon fries….um yummmmm.  But of course, this is Lawrence, so of COURSE a place called “the Burger Stand” has an exceptional vegetarian menu.  And if you’re anti-carb, you can get a burger salad.  Be sure to stop by the sauce bar and try one of each….spicy aioli or guacamole ranch for me!  exterior-of-zen-zeroFor something a bit more ethnic, I am absolutely in love with Zen Zero, an asian fusion restaurant with palate pleasing portions and pocketbook pleasing prices.  I usually get two separate meals out of their phad thai.   One of my absolute and long time favorites is the Mad Greek.  I think almost every guest I’ve ever had come to Lawrence has ended up in this restaurant and all have loved it.  330497_MadGreek1_r470x260Everything on the menu is fabulous, but I just love their gyro meat.  Some times I get the gyro salad, sometimes the gyro plate, or sometimes just a sandwich.  And it’s so good, I somehow find a way to eat it all…probably shouldn’t but I do.  Of course, it’s easy to work off all this great food with a delightful stroll down Massachusetts street, filled with eclectic and locally owned shops, plus lots of sculptures which adorn the street corners and change yearly.  While you’re walking, make a little space for the most divine ice cream on the planet.  Sylas_t670_r470x260Forget 31 flavors, Silas and Maddy’s is THE place to go.  I could dive mouth first into a vat of their rock chocolate Jayhawk, and I really have a hard time trying any other flavor, but when I do, I’m never disappointed by my choice.  ALL are incredible!

Want to hear more opinions?  Listen to Lawrence…Each year we vote. Here are the results of the 2015 Best of Lawrence in Food and Dining

I do hope you make it out to Lawrence and enjoy your time here (because now I’m hungry)!


Power & Light or the Plaza at night?

Power & Light or the Plaza at night?

If you’re staying downtown or at any of the conference hotels, the Power and Light  district  provides convenient places to eat, drink, and connect with friends due to its close proximity.  Only a couple of blocks from the convention center, this district offers a WIDE variety of retail & restaurants.  Although some of the restaurants are national or regional chains, the offerings here represent a variety of ethnicities and styles of food and many are roomy enough for large parties of people.  Cosentino’s Market is right on the edge of Power & Light.  If you missed our earlier blog about the magnificence of the market, check that out here.  20-plJohnny’s Tavern, which is a small regional chain that began in Lawrence, KS, is always a great place for an incredible “world famous” burger, or wings.   And while Johnny’s also has delicious Pizza, it’s hard to compete with the an actual Pizza Bar, which is a Kansas City original.  Take a few friends and share a few ‘zas, because with the wide variety of options, it would be hard to pick just one!  Looking for a healthier option?  Locally owned and operated, the Mixx offers the freshest ingredients and a variety of creative concoctions in the form of its homemade salads, soups and sandwiches. UnknownThe Mixx serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also features seasonal grab-and-go meals and advance ordering options, which are ideal for conference attendees!  On the other hand, if you want to treat yourself, try the family owned and operated, Mema’s Bakery.  If you’ve never had Povitica, definitely don’t have theirs.  It will spoil you for the rest of your life.    Power and Light is also one of the biggest hotspots for night life.  You’ll find plenty of bars, clubs and often live music.  You can Howl at the Moon at a trendy dueling piano bar, or feel a little devilish at Angel’s Rock Bar, or be independent and do your own thing at the indie_on_mainIndie Bar, which, although it’s designed to be a pre-show-at-the-midland drink or post-show nightcap spot, is too hip & chill to skip.  Wherever you chose to get your groove on, know that bars in KC close at 3am.  Check out Dine-Drink-Play for a list of more places to eat, shop, and drink in the nearby Power and Light District.   

If you’re looking for something more upscale, The Plaza is Kansas City’s upscale central district for shopping and dining and is a short drive from the exhibitions located at the Nelson Atkins, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City Art Institute and UMKC. It’s Spanish architecture is covered with vast amounts of tile work and is surrounded with fountains. There are many chain clothing stores there including H&M, Banana Republic, American Apparel, and Urban Outfitters to name a few. You can also catch a movie at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza for an evening break from shopping. If you’re in the mood for some family size portioned Italian eats, head to Buca di Beppo. Their maze-like restuarant could keep anyone entertained, as the walls are covered with hilarious decorations (just be sure to ask where the bathroom is before you go looking for it). From just spaghetti to Chicken Parmesan, their food is exceptional. Here are a few more of the many choices the Country Club Plaza has to offer:

Buca di Beppo
310 West 47th Street Kansas CityMO 64112
209 W. 46th Terrace Kansas CityMO 64112
Tomfooleries Restaurant and Bar (Breakfast Buffet)
612 West 47th Street Kansas CityMO 64112
Scooter’s Coffee and Yogurt

446 West 47th Street Kansas CityMO 64112
P.F. Chang`s
102 West 47th Street Kansas CityMO 64112
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
4725 Broadway Kansas CityMO 64112
Zoes Kitchen
100 Ward Parkway Kansas CityMO 64112
The Cheesecake Factory
4701 Wyandotte Kansas CityMO 64112
Cold Stone Creamery
114 West 47th Street Kansas CityMO 64112
Bo Lings
4701 Jefferson St, Kansas City, MO 64112
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
222 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO 64112

Meander your way down the river market, then get your groove on with some KC Blues & Jazz

Meander your way down the river market, then get your groove on with some KC Blues & Jazz



The Rivermarket hosts a weekly farmers market from early summer to mid fall. During the rest of the year, you can visit a variety of restaurants there, with a particularly lengthy list of great Vietnamese places. The Kansas City Artist Coalition, Kiosk Gallery, and Steamboat Arabia Museum are hosting exhibitions in the Rivermarket, please note there is a admission fee to enter the Steamboat Arabia Museum. While you are here, a stop at Beignet’s is an absolute must.  Expect a wait, but expect it to be worth it.  Beignet’s is one of the hottest spots in KC right now.  There are both sweet and Savory options and they even have an extensive menu of Gluten Free Beignets.  Can’t make it to the market?  Postmates.com will deliver for only $3.99!    New Orleans cuisine not your style?   There are a variety of great places to eat in the Rivermarket:


Nguyen Pho and Grill

Nguyen Pho and Grill
500 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106         (816) 569-2262

Pho KC
315 Cherry St, Kansas City, MO 64106         (816) 471-2224

Vietnam Cafe
522 Campbell St, Kansas City, MO 64106         (816) 472-4888

The Farmhouse

The Farmhouse

The Farmhouse
300 Delaware St, Kansas City, MO 64105         (816) 569-6032

Minsky’s Pizza
427 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105         (816) 421-1122

307 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105        (816)472-0777

Habashi House storyboard

Habashi House

Habashi House
309 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105        (816) 421-0414

Bo Ling’s
20 E 5th St # 100, Kansas City, MO 64106        (816) 423-8036

Hien Vuong Restaurant
417 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64106        (816) 842-1020

Kansas City’s historic Jazz District is remembered by its blues, barbecue, and baseball. There you can find the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the American Jazz Museum, and the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Kansas City native, Charlie Parker transformed the Kansas City music scene in the twentieth century with fast tempo and improvisation to form a Jazz style called Bebop. Without the Kansas City Jazz District,



Charlie Parker might not be as well known as the district contained a well established Jazz club scene – one that even the Prohibition widely disregarded prior to the Bird’s day. While in the Jazz district check out the 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics at the American Jazz Museum, Clay Gate Keepers at the Vine Street Studio Art Gallery, and the multiple exhibitions hosted by the Belger Crane Yard Studios. If hunger strikes while you’re taking in the history and amazing art, here are a couple places to eat:


417 E 18th St Kansas City, MO 64108          (816)-472-5454


Humdinger Drive In

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
1727 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127                   (816) 231-1123

Gates BBQ
1221 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127                      (816) 483-3880

Hum Dinger Drive In
2504 E 9th St, Kansas City, MO 64124          (816) 231-0888

The Kansas City Juke House
1700 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108          (816) 472-0013


Danny’s Big Easy

Danny’s Big Easy
1601 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108          (816) 421-1200










Go to Galleries, then Grab some Grub in the Crossroads

Go to Galleries, then Grab some Grub in the Crossroads

Close to downtown, The Crossroads Arts District is known to be particularly crowded on “First Fridays” because of the numerous art galleries situated there. Many of the exhibitions for NCECA will be taking place here and it is just a short walk from the convention center. La EsquinaSeveral NCECA sponsored exhibitions that you will want to visit are the National Juried Student Exhibition, the Honors & Fellows Exhibition and The Emerging Artists Exhibition at the Leedy Voulkos Art Center. Also located in the west crossroads is La Esquina which will be hosting Across the Table Across the Land a HUGE NCECA 50th anniversary project curated by Michael Strand and Namita Gupta Wiggers connecting community, stories and food. Scattered between many of the other galleries are many choices of tasty eats such as


Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop

Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop, Extra Virgin, and Jackstack. If you’re in mood for some classic American greasy fried foods, head over to Town Topic, The Brick or Grinders. The Crossroads is located just south of the convention center and will allow for a full day of taking in exhibitions and other engaging activities like the video arcade Up-Down. Looking for another restaurant in the Crossroads, check out these places to eat and drink:


Michael Smith / Extra Virgin

Michael Smith
1900 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64108
Lulu`s Thai Noodle Shop
2030 Central Street Kansas City, MO 64108
The Boulevard Tavern
320 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108
101 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108
Ricos Taco Lupe
802 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Grinders West serves Deli items but shares a menu with Grinders Pizza. The restaurant's modern tone contrasts Grinders Pizza grittier feel.

Grinders West serves Deli items but shares a menu with Grinders Pizza. The restaurant’s modern tone contrasts Grinders Pizza grittier feel.

Extra Virgin
1900 Main St.
The Brick
1727 McGee St, Kansas City, MO 64108
417 E. 18th St Kansas City, Mo
Manny’s Mexican Restuarant
207 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

101 W 22nd St, Kansas City, MO 64108



Nara NeoJapanese
1617 Main St Ste. 100, Kansas City, MO 64108
1708 Oak St (btwn E 17th & 18th St), Kansas City, MO 64108
101 W 22nd St, Kansas City, MO 64108
The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange
1924 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64108
1810 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO 64108

Town Topic

Town Topic

Jack Stack

Jack Stack


The Brick