Kansas City has achieved national fame for its food scene. Across the metro you’ll find distinct neighborhood eateries, dining spots boasting striking architecture, artisanal bites and sip-worthy drinks. From downtown Overland Park, to the Northland and a thousand hidden gems in between, there’s always something new to try.
You could spend a fortune eating your way across our beloved city, but I’m always up for a spending challenge! I recently spoke with a co-worker who challenges his family to try a new restaurant each week, without spending a ton on tabs. Keeping his idea in mind, here are some tips for sampling the local food scene while staying on-budget.
Choose a frequency
My friend goes weekly, but you could even make this a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly outing. Check your social activity budget (how much you can spend on outings after bills) and determine how often you can go. Be realistic if you are bringing the whole family. Or, to keep the bill at a minimum, do the foodie challenge with a sibling or friend as a perfect excuse to get together regularly. Don’t forget to account for tip expenses!
Create your wish list
Now the fun part! Create a list of ALL the places you’ve made a mental note to visit. This is your chance to get out of your surrounding neighborhood or work bubble and experience the city! Step outside your comfort zone and add new neighborhoods and ethnic varieties when developing your list. If some of your choices are more suitable for special occasions (and thus more expensive), save those for another time. If you’re having trouble thinking of new places, ask a seasoned foodie friend (pun intended) or check out food blogs. Your list will be full in no time!
Rethink the traditional meal
When you’re ready to head out on your adventures, think of some creative and proactive ways to keep your restaurant bill lower. If the hot spot is known for its drinks, appetizers or desserts, stick to those selections and spare the main meal for another stop on your list. If you want to indulge on a meal, skip the drinks and extras and split something with your dining buddy. Or, pick several entrees so you can sample more signature dishes.
We are lucky to live in a city so rich with culinary delights. With these tips, you can take advantage of this foodie paradise, without taking advantage of your spending limits.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.