Travel Series: Kansas City Guide

Travel Series: Kansas City Guide


Nestled between the Country Club Plaza and the world famous Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Winstead’s has been a Kansas City classic since opening in 1940. Its unique Streamline Moderne style, fluorescent signage, and teal blue and pale pink color scheme are frozen in time, enabling guests to feel as if they have been reverted back to a simpler America. Winstead’s, although famous for steakburgers, is not your typical burger joint. They also offer authentic soda fountain treats like cherry limeades and ice cream sodas, as well as “skyscraper” sized sodas and milkshakes meant to serve six. Solidified as a favorite lunch, dinner, and late night snack stop, Winstead’s breakfast may be its most underrated meal. With options like a steak and egg sandwich, buttermilk pancakes, oatmeal, and perfectly crisp hash browns, Winstead’s should be known not just as a burger joint, but as an all-around American classic.

Tacos El Matador

The bright orange panelled walls, blue and yellow checkered booths, and pink rimmed tables of Tacos El Matador only hint at the colorful nature of this cozy Mexican restaurant. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, El Matador offers guests a robust set of choices from Hueavos a la Mexicana to Gorditas. You can’t  stop at Tacos El Matador, however, without trying their fresh guacamole and chips. The avocado’s perfect hue of green magnificently reflects the restaurant's brightness, and cues you in to the deliciousness of the menu.

Fine Folk

Leslie Fraley’s clothing boutique is located in an unsuspecting, industrial building in Kansas City’s Crossroads District. Although the shop is positioned in a sleek, greyspace, Finefolk is made warm by a wall of windows and the natural hue of the shop’s decor and collection. Fraley’s shop and the clothing, accessories and beauty products that fill it, serve as a reflection of her own taste marked by elements of both sophistication and comfort. One can find not only a cocktail dress and a classic pair of denim jeans at Finefolk, but also a bustling community of artists and businesswomen.

Rio Theatre

The Rio Theatre represents the best of art in Kansas City. Built in 1946, this Art Deco classic with porthole windows, geometric tile, curved walls, pink and blue neon lights, and mirrored columns is home to one screen enabling only the select few to see a movie at once. Tickets are purchased outside, while the popcorn and soda are classically prepared in the peach interior. The Rio experience extends the film on the big screen.


Novel, recently relocated from the Westside District to the Crossroads District, is a dining destination in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The classic red brick exterior and native grass planting reveal little about what the inside has to offer. Once guests enter, their eyes are drawn to the the full-service granite bar and the beginning of the bright, yet warm mosaic that fills and sets the tone of the space. The dining room is split by mustard curtains and marked by hanging ball lights that serve to make the space more intimate and visually creative. The culinary experience is unmatched, with focuses on locally sourced ingredients and contemporary techniques accomplished by chefs and owners, Ryan Brazeal and Jessica Armstrong.

Words by Claire Gibbs

Photos by Annie Dreyer