We had a goal to eat and drink our way through Missouri. We enlisted the advice of local residents of what their favorite food establishments were. There was a common answer of Arthur Bryant’s, Stroud’s, Jack Stack and Gates. We had done our homework and nobody mentioned Oklahoma Joe's. We mentioned Oklahoma Joe's and the answer we received gave us a little shock. “Yes, Oklahoma Joe's is actually our favorite, but it is in Kansas”. Apparently a feud between Missouri and Kansas dating back to Civil War days has continued to the present. The rival hinges more on college sports these days. There was a lot of passion on both sides of the table. Today we will visit Stroud’s and Gates
Stroud’s serves some of the best fried chicken I have ever had. They have been featured in many magazines and have won numerous awards. This is comfort food with a down home family style experience. The actual restaurant is located off the beaten path and is a little difficult to find. When your first see Stroud’s you may think it is somebody’s home. The surrounding grounds are beautiful with trees and a small pond.
The menu has something for everybody but Chicken is their specialty. Everything is brought out in huge bowls to serve family style. One of our dining companions requested a half order of fried chicken livers. This plate was a meal meant for a lumberjack. The fried chicken was more than I could ever dream of. The batter was crispy with not being oily. This chicken had real chicken flavor. Have I mentioned the bucket of gravy for the mashed potatoes? Sometimes if is all about the gravy.To put this wonderful meal over the top a huge basket of hot sweet and sticky cinnamon roll is brought to your table. Stroud’s does not disappoint.
Gates is a barbeque icon in Kansas City. They have several locations through out the city. When you walk into this establishment, be prepared for the show. The clerk will greet you with, “HELLO, MAY I HEP YALL”. This may not sound so strange, but it is shouted at you and can be a little startling. You place your order and the clerk will SHOUT the order to the cook with the same intensity. Our order takers voice was gravely and spent from all this shouting and it was only 11:30 am.
We ordered a combination with burnt ends, pulled pork, ribs, pickles and fries. This was a massive pile of protein. It was covered in a sea of sauce. We had to remove some of the sauce to find the ribs. The ribs were very tender and tasty.
Gates offers three sauces in the Kansas City style of tomato base. The three had different heat levels. The sauce was not needed because of the mother lode of sauce that came with our plate. The pulled pork and burnt ends were lost in this sauce. Both of these meats were pulled and or chopped. The pork was not really distinguishable from the beef. This was a disappointment.
Gates was fun for the show. The barbeque ribs were good but the pork and beef were a let down. Stroud’s has some of the best fried chicken I have ever tasted. Potatoes and a bucket of gravy floated my boat. Oh my! Oklahoma Joe’s and Jack Stacks are next on the plate.