Chow Town

At Rosedale Bar-B-Q, you taste Kansas City barbecue history in every bite

Rosedale’s classic beef & fries with legacy sauce.
Rosedale’s classic beef & fries with legacy sauce. Special to The Star

When I realized what I had done, I got that sinking feeling, like when you reach for your wallet to pay for a cart full of groceries, already rung up, and your wallet is missing.

That’s how the realization of my Rosedale mistake hit me, multiplied by 10.

Rosedale Bar-B-Q tastes like the barbecue I loved during my childhood in Oklahoma City. To me, a step inside Rosedale feels comfortable, familiar, like home. Gone is the day when Rosedale’s “Special Noonday Lunch” was 25 cents, but Rosedale’s price and value still is a bargain.

Besides the food, ambiance, friendly service and competitive pricing, what else is there to like about Rosedale? You taste Kansas City barbecue history in every bite.

With 81 years and counting, Rosedale is the oldest family-owned continuously operated barbecue restaurant in Chow Town. Where else can you meet a proprietor who calls the legendary Anthony Rieke “Grandpa?”

Call me star-struck, but I feel a tingle of awe in the presence of Rieke’s granddaughter, Marisha Brown-Smith. She runs the restaurant with her husband, Bill, and mother, Janelle. They take care of business details and run daily operations, backed by a loyal staff.

My favorite Rosedale comfort food is the beef sandwich with fries. It’s a tender, hearty portion of thinly sliced barbecue beef in white sandwich bread with a kiss of Rosedale’s legacy sauce.

Graze your way through the menu on multiple visits to find your favorites, be it their popular burnt ends, chicken, ribs, sausage or turkey. They don’t serve barbecue bologna yet, but I give them extra points for the fried okra. And where else besides Rosedale and Char Bar can you get the best fried green tomatoes in Kansas City?

Rosedale started as a bucket beer and hot dog shack. Cold beer and hot dogs are still on the menu. Instead of bucket beer, a seasonal and steady lineup of local and regional craft beers, plus Guinness, Stella Artois, Corona, hard lemonade, hard root beer and hard cider recently was added to favorites Budweiser, Miller, Coors and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Rosedale’s adult beverage menu of 45 and counting is a far cry from ice-cold bucket beer, but like Anthony Rieke in his heyday, Marisha, Bill and Janelle are in step with the times.

Back to that sinking feeling. Karen Adler’s jaw dropped in astonishment when I confessed my mistake to her and Jill Silva during a lunch meeting at Burnt End BBQ recently.

Why the astonishment and disappointment? A profile of Rosedale doesn’t appear in my soon-to-be-released book, Barbecue Lover’s Kansas City Style. No excuses. My completely unintended oversight.

Brown-Smith was disappointed when I told her. She graciously accepted my apology and assured me that I’m always welcome at Rosedale.

Moving forward, I hope hefty sales justify a second printing, so my mistake can be remedied.

If you’ve never been to Rosedale, here’s the drill: either sit at the dine-in bar, order, pay and eat; or order and pay for dine-in or carryout at either end of the bar. Settle at a table. Pick up your order when it is called. Take it away or sit down and enjoy a legendary Kansas City barbecue feast on the premises.

Rosedale Bar-B-Q is at 600 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Kan., 913-262-0343, or

Ardie Davis founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on food shows and writes for barbecue-related publications. His most recent release is America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with chef Paul Kirk.