Kansas City is on Zagat’s new list of the “30 Most Exciting Food Cities in America 2017” — but just barely.
It ranked No. 28, just ahead of Baltimore and Asheville, N.C.
Zagat said: “Kansas City has had quite the year. After garnering five James Beard nominations, the oft-overlooked Missouri metropolis took home some major awards: The Rieger Hotel’s subterranean Manifesto added Outstanding Bar Program to its list of accolades, fine-dining destination Bluestem, helmed by French Laundry vet Andrew Longres, picked up an Outstanding Restaurant nod (as well as a Zagat 30 Under 30 National honor for bar manager Andrew Olsen); Best Chef: Midwest went to Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda fame.
“Other noteworthy openings included world-class cocktail bars like the epically swank Monarch Bar and Swordfish Tom’s, a speakeasy-style cocktail den from seasoned barkeep Jill Cockson; EJ’s Urban Eatery, a hit meat-and-three by chef John Cedric Smith, who cut his teeth at Tom Colicchio’s Craft in NYC; and ex American Restaurant executive chef Michael Corvino’s highly regarded brasseries and music venue, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room.
“And with new places opening every month, KC is moving away from its rep as a BBQ mecca and into the spotlight as one of America’s most exciting up-and-comers.”
Zagat, which collects and analyzes ratings and reviews from diners across the country, said chefs from cities like New York and Chicago are moving to smaller markets, spurring growth. It looked at the number of new openings, award recognitions and national media attention in selecting the top 30 cities. Los Angeles was No. 1 on the list, followed by Austin, Texas.