It's not easy to attempt to define Kansas City in a single restaurant, but that's behind the idea behind a current poll on the Kansas City Business Journal's site. The journal asked, "What is Kansas City's ultimate iconic restaurant?"
And so far, the answer, by an overwhelming margin, is Arthur Bryant's, with 46 percent of the more than 1,000 votes cast. The next closest restaurant is Stroud's, with 15 percent of the vote. If there were an iconic restaurant primary, those would be your two finalists.
The survey list includes Manny's (2 percent), Garozzo's (4 percent), the American (6 percent), Plaza III (13 percent), and a category for Other (13 percent) as potential contenders. At first beat, it's hard not to see Gate's, Hereford House or the Golden Ox on that list. And what about Town Topic, the Savoy Grill and Winstead's?
The longer you think about iconic restaurants in Kansas City, the more possibilities that seem to arise. An icon is defined by Dictionary.com as, "a person or thing regarded as a symbol of a belief, nation, community, or cultural movement." Set aside the argument of who or what is better and instead try to imagine which restaurant is the best symbolic representation of Kansas City.
With those criteria, I'm not sure how you can say anything but barbecue. Though the culinary landscape in Kansas City has been changing and evolving, this city was cranking out the world's best barbecue long before you were born, sonny.
[Image via Flickr: kansas_city_royalty]