Bottom's Up Bar & Grill 2007 St. Joseph Avenue, St. Joseph · 816-232-3440
It's well worth driving 46 minutes northwest of Kansas City and winding down to the ungentrified old French Bottoms area of St. Joseph, Missouri, to find an unglamorous but tidy neighborhood joint with the highly suggestive name Bottom's Up. It's not easy to find; the sign isn't flashy, and many of the surrounding buildings are vacant. The lure of Bottoms Up, though, is the Midwest's biggest and tastiest fried pork-tenderloin sandwiches. They're so big that to-go orders come in a 16-inch pizza box. The Bottom's Up serves ten different tender possibilities, but the most popular is a Mommy Esther, which is thick -- not pounded flat -- and double-dipped in flour and fried, then heaped with lettuce, tomato and pickles.