Chow Town

Dish with Gish: Savoring summer’s best BLTs

Cleaver & Cork’s Green Tomato BLT comes with thick slices of braised bacon from the Local Pig, fried green tomatoes, arugula and spicy red pepper jelly.
Cleaver & Cork’s Green Tomato BLT comes with thick slices of braised bacon from the Local Pig, fried green tomatoes, arugula and spicy red pepper jelly. sgish@kcstar.com

If summer had an official sandwich, it would be the BLT.

The classic version tops white bread with a swipe of mayonnaise, juicy red tomato, lettuce and bacon strips, but at several local cafes, you can find variations that go beyond basic.

You Say Tomato, 2801 Holmes St., builds BLTs ($7.95) from four kinds of bread: white, wheat, rye and sourdough — the customer favorite. The bread is toasted to order and loaded with a gloriously excessive number of extra-crispy bacon strips and wheels of salt-and-peppered tomato. The neighborhood cafe and market also sells bread and tomatoes to go.

The Peanut is also known for BLTs. Regulars at the bar, which has locations in Kansas City, Lee’s Summit and Overland Park, recommend topping the $7.99 sandwich with a fried egg. The $1.99 upcharge is so worth the price: Cut the towering stack in half with a knife and the yolk spills over the sandwich, which comes on toasted whole-wheat bread with red onions and melted shreds of cheddar cheese.

At the Sundry, 1706 Baltimore Ave., the BLT is all about the perfectly seasoned bacon, made by curing local pork in-house. The thick, chewy slices are wedged between two generous slabs of freshly baked focaccia bread with mayo, tomato and curly green-leaf lettuce. The $8.50 sandwich is available only on Thursdays.

For a breadless BLT, head to Café Sebastienne inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art at 4420 Warwick Blvd. The cafe’s seasonal BLT salad ($12, or $18 with grilled chicken), available through September, tops lettuce with hunks of local heirloom tomato, shaved red onion, cucumber, multigrain croutons and warm crumbles of Burgers’ Smokehouse bacon. The mixture is melded with housemade blue cheese dressing that gets its slight tang from buttermilk.

Executive chef Jennifer Maloney buys the heirloom tomatoes, which come in all shapes and sizes, from four local farms. She also uses them to make a Brie BLT that’s available only on Sundays. The $14 sandwich squeezes Brie, bacon, tomatoes and arugula between slices of multigrain bread swiped with Hellman’s mayonnaise.

The bacon-lettuce-tomato combination also works on hot dogs. Fritz’s Meats and Superior Sausage Co., 10326 State Line Road in Leawood, makes its $4 Hot Dog BLT by frying a bacon-wrapped frank, then adding shredded lettuce, mayo and tomato slices (many regular customers add spicy mustard to the mix). The classic frank is made in-house with a mixture of pork and beef, but you can also order the Hot Dog BLT with an all-beef hot dog, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, andouille, barbecue pork sausage or bratwurst.

If a gourmet BLT is what you’re craving, head to Cleaver & Cork and order the Green Tomato BLT ($12). The gastropub at 1333 Walnut St. in the Power & Light District starts with thick hunks of slow-cooked bacon from the Local Pig butcher shop.

The bacon is wedged between slices of toasted Farm to Market white bread coated with smoked tomato jam and slightly spicy red pepper jelly. Peppery arugula and crunchy-on-the-outside fried green tomatoes make the $12 BLT a cut above.

Sarah Gish writes a monthly dining column for Chow Town. To reach her, call 816-234-4823 or send email to sgish@kcstar.com. Follow her on Twitter: @sarah_gish.

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