Best of Kansas City 2011


Every year the local weekly paper has a “Best of Kansas City” ballot.  Every year it is a bit disappointing to see these picks relegated to a small corner of the page as they write about their favorites.  Despite all of this, when I was voted “Best Server” it was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me as a server.  This year I am going to help some other great folks and restaurants win in their categories.  In order to vote, you must fill out 20 categories.  In order to make that a little easier, I have listed my picks in the food and beverage categories.  I have also included some other awesome folks in the non-restaurant categories at the bottom of this list that I hope you will support as well.

Here are my picks for the Pitch’s Best of Kansas City 2011 Awards

•             Best Bar for People Watching

                Harry’s Bar and Tables

•             Best Bar to Meet People

                Buzzard Beach

•             Best Barbecue

                Oklahoma Joe’s

•             Best Bartender

                Shawn Moriarty- The Majestic Restaurant

•             Best Beer Selection

                Blanc Burger’s and Bottles

•             Best Bloody Mary

                McCormick and Schmicks

•             Best Breakfast


•             Best Brewhouse


•             Best Burger

                Blanc Burgers and Bottles

•             Best Burrito

                Burrito Bros

•             Best Caterer


•             Best Cheap Eats

                El Rancho

•             Best Chef

                Jonathan Justus

•             Best Chinese Restaurant

                Ming Garden

•             Best Chocolate Shop

                Christopher Elbow

•             Best Cocktail Menu

                The Majestic Restaurant

•             Best Coffeehouse

                Scooters on the Plaza

•             Best Cupcakes

                Cupcake Ala Mode

•             Best Delicatessen


•             Best Dessert

                Carrot Cake and Justus Drugstore

•             Best Dive Bar

                Helen’s in NKC

•             Best Farmers Market

                City Market

•             Best Food Truck

                Port Fonda

•             Best French Fries

                Mc Coys

•             Best Fried Chicken

                Corner Cafe

•             Best Gay Bar

                Missy B’s

•             Best Grocery Store


•             Best Happy Hour

                The Bulldog

•             Best Hot Dog/Bratwurst

                Dog Nuvo

•             Best Hotel Bar

                The Drum Room

•             Best Ice Cream


•             Best Indian Restaurant


•             Best Italian Restaurant


•             Best Korean Restaurant


•             Best Late-Night Eats

                El Rancho

•             Best Liquor Store

                Red X

•             Best Local Beer


•             Best Margarita


•             Best Martini

                The Majestic Restaurant

•             Best Mediterranean Restaurant

                Jerusalem Cafe

•             Best Mexican Restaurant


•             Best Neighborhood Bar

                54th Street Grill and Bar

•             Best New Bar or Club


•             Best New Restaurant (opened since August 2010)

                Beer Kitchen

•             Best Patio

                Harry’s Bar and Tables

•             Best Pizza (Non-Chain)

                Art of Pizza

•             Best Place for a Business Lunch

                The Majestic Restaurant

•             Best Place for a First Date

                The Drop

•             Best Place for a Romantic Dinner

                Blue Grotto

•             Best Restaurant

                Justus Drugstore

•             Best Restaurant Ambience


•             Best Restaurant With a View


•             Best Ribs

                Oklahoma Joe’s

•             Best Sandwich

                Cuban at The Farmhouse

•             Best Seasonal Beer

                Boulevard Farmhouse

•             Best Service

                Savvy Dave Hayden @ The Majestic Restaurant (Who says I’m not humble?)

•             Best Service-Industry Hangout

                Helen’s in NKC

•             Best Specialty/Gourmet Store


•             Best Sports Bar

                54th Street Grill and Bar

•             Best Steakhouse

                The Majestic Restaurant

•             Best Sunday Brunch

                The Majestic Restaurant

•             Best Sushi


•             Best Taco

                El Rancho

•             Best Takeout

                El Rancho

•             Best Thai Restaurant

                Hot Basil

•             Best Vegetarian Menu

                Eden Alley

•             Best Vietnamese Restaurant

                Pho Hua

•             Best Wine Bar


•             Best Wine List in a Restaurant


•             Best Wine Recommendations (Store)

                Cellar Rat

Here are a few non-restaurant categories where friends and fans are nominated.  Consider giving them your vote as well.

                Best Trivia Night

                The Record Bar on Thursdays

                Best Local Bookstore


                Best Category We Forgot

                Best Server

                Best Local Columnist

                Charles Ferruzza

                Best Local TV News Personality

                Curtis Jay

                Best Sexy Musician

                Kandi Kos of The Crybaby Ranch

                Best Smokin Hot Kansas Citian

                Meesha of Kansas City with a Russian Accent

                Best Local Activist

                Tony Botello of Tony’s Kansas City

                Best Talk Radio Station


                Best Twitter Feed


Those are my picks.  I would appreciate you supporting them.  Have some picks of your own?  Leave them in the comment section.


Thank You!


If they are looking for trophy ideas...

I wasn’t planning on writing today, but a huge thank you is in order to all of you.  Yesterday my post titled “Ten Reasons Serving Is Not Like Your Job” crushed my previous best day.  Huge props to Tony over at Tony’s Kansas City and Yellowcat at Do You Do That At Home for linking to it.  I would also like to thank all of those people who shared it on facebook.  I don’t want to sound too self-serving, but that is a post we all benefit from people reading.

That is not the only thanks to be dispensed today.  I was greeted with congratulations from my General Manager this morning.  I had to stop and ask why they were in order.  That is when I found out that I had won The Pitch’s 2010 Reader’s Choice for Best Server in KC.  I cannot even express how honored I am to win this award.  This might be the coolest thing I have ever won.  Yes, they did misspell my name, but I blame that on Charles Feruzza (intentional payback).  They could have looked it up in the article they wrote about me a few months ago, but it does nothing to diminish my excitement.

I really am honored and want to thank all of you who voted.  This really does make my day.  I also wanted to congratulate Tony for winning best blogger, Blanc Burgers and Bottles for best burger, and The Flea Market for best trivia.  All were reader’s choice winners.  As I forewarned in my initial post on the topic, the reader’s picks were pretty much dismissed and they chose whom they wanted to write about for their winners.  I think the reader’s choices are still a better measure and I count these guys as the real winners.

Now it is time to head back to work and start building for the repeat.

Best of KC 2010


Every year the local alternative weekly rolls out their ballot for the “Best of Kansas City.”  They solicit a bunch of votes and then decide on their own who wins relegating the actual winner to a single line at the bottom.  Sounds like fun huh?  This year I decided to use this blog to publish my winners.  If you are not from KC, this might be kinda dull.  May I recommend one of the tabs above to find something interesting?  If you are from KC, you probably get a little intimidated by these polls.  For this reason I am publishing my complete ballot to help you fill in any holes you might have.  This is just my opinion, but it might inspire a few places to check out.

3) Best Media Personality- Tony from Tony’s KC

4) Best Politician- Bill Skaggs

5) Best Do-Gooder – Alonzo Washington

6) Best Blogger- Tony’s KC

7) Best Facebook Group- Tips on Improving your Tips

8) Best Place for a First Date- Blue Koi

9) Best Place for a Breakup- Buzzard’s Beach

10) Best Place to Meet Mr or Ms Right- Crossroads @ Grinders

11) Best Place to Meet Mr or Ms Right Now- Tomfooleries (or so I hear)

12) Best Place for a Night Out- Country Club Plaza

13) Best Day Trip- Columbia, MO

14) Best Grocery Store- McGonigles

15) Best College Athlete- Blain Gabbert

16) Best Professional Athlete- Tamba Hali (best tipper on the Chiefs)

17) Best Coach- Gary Pinkel

18) Best Sports Blogger- Nick Wright

19) Best Sexy Musician- Bob Walkenhorst (not based on personal opinion, but us grey haired guys gotta stick together)

20) Best Cover Band- T-Marv and Hammerdown (at my sister’s request)

21) Best Outdoor Festival- Plaza Art Fair

22) Best Public Art- Plaza Art Fair

23) Best Art Exhibit- Andy Warhol at Union Station

24) Best Artist- Matthew Crim

25) Best Actor- Brett Buffum

26) Best Actress- Jessalyn Kincaid

27) Best Theater Production- 1776

28) Best Homegrown Product- Boulevard Beer

29) Best New Restaurant- Westport Café (I defy you to name more than 5 that opened in the last year)

30) Best Brunch- M&S Grill (Walk in, sit down, and eat before you can make it to the front page of the waitlist anywhere else in town)

31) Best Burger- Blanc (for the last 15 year the Flea Market has gotten my vote, but gotta give it to Blanc)

32) Best Pizza- Northern Lights

33) Best Vegetarian Food- Eden’s Alley

34) Best Late Night Food- El Rancho

35) Best Place to Eat at the Bar- Westport Flea Market

36) Best Server- David Hayden (better to lack humility than play favorites)

37) Best Bartender- Penny Shultz (this is a no win for me too, but Penny trained me.)

38) Best New Bar- Grunhauer (also best place to discuss you fixed gear bike)

39) Best Smoking Patio- Kelly’s

40) Best Happy Hour- Blanc

41) Best Sports Bar- Chappels

42) Best Karaoke Bar- Westport Flea Market

43) Best Trivia Night- Westport Flea Market

44) Best Neighborhood Bar North- 54th Street on Englewood

45) Best Neighborhood Bar South- Coach’s

46) Best Neighborhood Bar East- 54th Street Independence

47) Best Neighborhood Bar West- Danny’s

48) What Did We Miss:

Category: Pompous Food Critic

Winner: Charles Ferruzza

Those are my picks.  You can complete your ballot by visiting the Best of KC Poll at the Pitch Website.  If any of my winners would like to receive a personally signed certificate signifying they won, you must be really desperate for things to hand on the wall.  I will still make you one though.  Visit again in October when I will share the link to who they decided should win.

Tomorrow I will get back to server related stuff.  I promise.  My 100th post week has been fun, but I want to get back to writing about serving and how to make more money at it.  Thank you for indulging me. This week.  Nest week we get down to business again.

A Food Critic Intervention


Above My Computer

There have been several instances while writing posts for this blog where I have felt the need to place blame for the things that drive me crazy about the restaurant business.  I have always managed to stop short of that because I do not want this to be a blog that complains about the problems we are all aware of.  My mission is a little different.  I want to help servers make more money by exceeding their guests’ expectations. Whenever I find myself kvetching too much I only have too look at the Woody Guthrie quote that I keep hanging above my computer to get me back on track.

I consider myself fortunate to have worked with some great “old school” waiters who instilled in me a respect for the industry and the way things used to be.  I have heard tales of the days when people dressed for dinner, left the kids at home, and did not ask for ranch on their Caesar salads.  Since I did not cause the mass corporate casual restaurant to become the norm, I do not complain about it.  I try to adapt to a world where anyone with a yahoo username can be a food critic and hundreds of cooking shows allows everyone to consider themselves a chef de cuisine.  I do so because this is an industry that I love and respect.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

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