Clem's Drive Inn 10802 East 23rd Street, Independence · 816-461-9472
Since it opened in 1966, this low-slung, concrete-block-and-brick building has been an Independence institution, serving "low-fat crumbly burgers" (the loose-meat kind, cooked with onions and tangy barbecue sauce), cherry malts and milkshakes -- as well as its most unusual delicacy: fried brain sandwiches. These brain burgers are made from pork brains, not the controversial beef kind. The carhops -- who typically have never tasted one -- will tell you that they're safe and healthy to eat. "They kind of look like a tenderloin," says one. "We boil the brains till they're cooked real good, batter them and fry them." The batter is light and golden, like tempura, and at first glance the big, deep-fried puffs between the bun look surprisingly innocent. Then you take the first bite and get that taste: half-fluffy, half-solid. And the aroma is positively ... organic.