When I was telling a friend about the relatively new barbecue joint Beauchamp's on the Rail (see review, page 29), he asked why I'd never written about one of the city's more historic places for smoked meats: the 44-year-old Quick's Bar-B-Q and Catering Company at 1007 Merriam Lane in Kansas City, Kansas.
I've never written about Quick's, I'm ashamed to confess, because until last week I had never eaten in the low-slung building where legendary barbecue maven Earl Quick began serving pork ribs and brisket in 1964. Luckily, that same friend insisted that we head to Quick's immediately. And let me tell you, I was sold on the place as soon as we walked in and I saw the hand-lettered sign describing the deep-fried, spiral-cut, half-pound hot dog.
No, I didn't order it, though I plan to come back for one. I was hungry instead for the burnt ends.
Quick's has one of the most eclectic menus of any barbecue joint in town. Alongside the traditional pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork and smoked meats, the restaurant also serves fried chicken, catfish with hush puppies and a deep-fried bologna sandwich.
The dining room at Quick's looks like a tidy family rec room from the 1960s: paneled walls with college pennants, a spotless orange linoleum floor, neon beer signs and a jukebox. The booths and chairs are upholstered in blue leatherette. And even better – table service!
Our waitress warned us that the bottle of Quick's signature barbecue sauce on the table was on the spicy side, but the sauce slathered over my burnt ends (served in a metal pie pan along with excellent fries) wasn't fiery at all. The cook later told me that the kitchen "tames down the sauce" on the burnt ends.
I wasn't so crazy about Quick's hickory-smoked beans, but I loved the deep-fried red-chili poppers (served with ranch dressing) and the meaty ribs. And after my meal, it took every bit of self-control I had not to run up to the Blue Bunny freezer near the front door to pull out a Vanilla Crunch ice cream bar for the road.
I guess I'll wait and eat that after I come back for the deep-fried hot dog and the waffle fries.