Best chain BBQ? Best cafeteria? Best buffet? KC-area restaurants make national lists

National food and restaurant websites love to make “best” lists. Readers will click just to see if a local favorite made the cut. This month they’ve posted lists of the best barbecue chains in the country, along with the best cafeterias and best breakfast buffets in each state. Take a look and see if you agree.

Best BBQ chains

Eat This, Not That has the “8 Best Barbecue Chains in America” with the tagline: Good barbecue takes time and these chains are all-in.

While it has chains such as Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Famous Dave’s, along with some smaller regional operations, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que made the list with only three restaurants: Leawood, Olathe and the original Kansas City, Kansas, gas station location.

Eat this, Not That has this to say: “In the land of hallowed barbecue, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Cue is veritable holy ground. One of the most iconic and bucket list-worthy barbecue mini-chains in the country, it all started from a frills-free vintage gas station in 1996, when the company originally known as Oklahoma Joe’s quickly amassed fanfare and a reputation for real-deal Kansas City-style barbecue. While not nearly as prolific or widespread as some other chains on this list, the revered brand has left a significant imprint on the country’s barbecue scene.”

“To this day, folks come from near and far to feast on smoked ham, beef brisket, burnt ends, and unique offerings, especially the unique sandwiches. The Rocket Pig sandwich is made with pulled pork tossed in sweet-hot barbecue glaze with bacon, pepper Jack cheese, and barbecue mayo. The Z-Man sandwich features slow-smoked beef brisket, smoked provolone, crispy onion rings, and a Kaiser roll.”

Best cafeterias

Mashed has “The Best Cafeterias in Every State.”

“There is nostalgia and simplicity to dining in a cafeteria,” Mashed says, “and the fact that they are not so easy to track down these days makes it all the more poignant. … The classic Southern-style steam table still draws crowds. There are plenty of new riffs on the counter-service concept where the atmosphere and menu feel original and modern — some with food you’ve never tried before.”

For Kansas it picked Joe’s Kansas City.

“Jeff and Joy Stehney turned a winning streak on the barbeque contest circuit into an unlikely cafeteria locale — they opened up shop in a Kansas City gas station in 1996. As one of three Joe’s Bar-B-Que locations, Kansas City’s is the most unique. Visitors flock to the no-frills eatery for pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, flavor-packed sides, and seasonal desserts. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has had a lot of media recognition over the years — it was even featured on an episode of Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations.’”

In a statement, Eric Tadda, spokesman for Joe’s, said: “What we love most about any award or best of list we receive at Joe’s is that it puts KC BBQ in the spotlight. We strive to be the BBQ Capital of the World, and any mention of Joe’s on national lists gives a reminder to visitors traveling into Kansas City to try Joe’s & all of the great bbq in the city.”

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PeachTree Cafeteria is Mashed’s pick for the best cafeteria in Missouri.

“At PeachTree Cafeteria, seafood and hand-carved steak join a strong roster of cafeteria staples like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, scalloped potatoes, and the holy grail of Southern-style comfort food, fried chicken. With two locations in Kansas City, Missouri, PeachTree Cafeteria adheres its focus to customer satisfaction, offering specialized menus in each location with distinctive entree options like pork neck bones and smothered chops to accompany the daily sides and desserts. Don’t miss out on the peach cobbler or sweet potato pie.”

Peach cobbler is one of the most popular dishes at PeachTree Cafe’Teria, 2128 E.12th St.
Peach cobbler is one of the most popular dishes at PeachTree Cafe’Teria, 2128 E.12th St.

The owners couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.

Best breakfast buffets

The Daily Meal offers “The Best Breakfast Buffet In Every State.”

“There’s something special about going out to breakfast,” the Daily Meal says. “It offers the perfect way to start your day and fuel your body for what is to come. … Instead of being limited in your options, you can fill your plate with pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit, and everything in between. Hitting up a breakfast buffet lets you indulge in all of your favorites for one set price; you aren’t limited to choosing just one item from the menu.”

For Missouri it picked Harvey’s at Union Station.

“Kansas City, Missouri, may have lots of excellent restaurants to choose from. However, when it comes to deciding on where to go for Sunday Brunch, there is one clear winner: Harvey’s at Union Station. Stop by the Hot Station to grab some quiche, scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh fish, Grand Marnier French toast, or gourmet mac and cheese. You’ll also want to check out the cold station, where you’ll find peel-and-eat shrimp, caprese salads, a selection of fresh bread and pastries, desserts, and much more. The buffet also features a carving station with glazed ham and prime rib. You can also place a tableside order for eggs Benedict or an omelet prepared exactly to your liking.”

“We’re very flattered and proud of that. We’re honored,” said Karyn Gregory, front of the house manager and private event coordinator.

For Kansas it picked YaYa’s Euro Bistro in Wichita, which is no longer connected to the restaurant of the same name in Overland Park.