Just a short distance from Kansas City’s upscale Country Club Plaza, replete with fancy restaurants and cafés, you can drop yourself smack dab into a renowned dive, called Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill.
It’s the kind of food dive that offers a “Super Flea,” described as a massive 10 oz. burger x 5, with bacon, cheese, and two pounds of fries. Eat it in a half hour and it’s free, including the t-shirt and photo on the wall.
Otherwise, be prepared to shell out $39.
It’s the kind of dive where you seat yourself, pick up your order yourself, and, with enough quarters, help yourself to the array of video games and pool hall equipment.
It’s the kind of dive strewn with awards and magazine covers that bear witness to its status as a local legend for more than 30 years. With everything from Shuffleboard to a large collection of beer neon, the entertainment factor is a 10.
And the food? Let’s just say the onion rings alone are worth the trip. No run-of-the-mill coating here; it’s the real homemade thing, and they pair beautifully with the burger. The meat itself comes from McGonigle’s Market, which means little to anyone not familiar with yet another local icon. However, if you are from KC, you’ll recognize that McGonigle stands for quality, complete with its trained butchers and a world of heritage and passion that goes into their work.
Once your name is called and you pick up your order, don’t miss the sidebar filled with lettuce tomato, pickles, onion, and a variety of sauces. It’s again “help yourself,” including the chance to go back if you decide you need just a few more pickles!
The menu has salads, appetizers, sandwiches, and a wide selection of beer and signature drinks. That’s where the one exception to the “order yourself” rule comes into play: when you want a drink. Any drink—soda, water, beer, or cocktail—is ordered via the friendly waitstaff, who are also quick to answer questions about the restaurant. “It used to be a flea market,” must be a familiar phrase, as they cite the history of the place, set in the midst of a thriving renaissance area of Kansas City.
While the restaurant is quiet in the afternoon, evenings are anything but, with large groups and no one under 21 admitted at night.
Warning: it is a cash only place—running contrary to the cashless restaurant trend that is hot because of the security, accountability, and efficiency of swiping a card versus counting out change. It makes it just that much more personal, though, and allows room for slipping your server a little extra.
Altogether, it’s the kind of dive you’ll want to put on your list to visit when you check out Kansas City.
Note: When it comes to the burger, they offer a 10 oz. ground chuck and a 5 ½ oz. mini. Our photo with the onion rings is the mini; with the fries, we show the 10 oz. We did not attempt the Super Flea!