Jim and I had just finished our first experience with Kansas City BBQ at Arthur Bryant’s and when the first time seems like a charm, it’s hard to believe that anything else could be better. But onward ho…
We pulled up to Gates Bar-B-Q and already my hole in the wall radar went up. It was located in an old, kind of run down, strip mall type of area. This can often be a bit of a turn off for those eaters who judge a book by it’s cover, who take one look at the place and head to the nearest Chilies where they know the food is “safe.” Fear not ye Baby Back Rib lovers, run down strip malls are often the sign of a great hole in the wall and thus, great food!
So, into Gates we went, stomachs full but taste buds ready. Like Arthur Bryant’s, Gates had quite the line of customers waiting. We soon found out that most everyone in line knew what they wanted already and it moved pretty quickly. As we waited I took a minute to look around. Unlike Arthur Bryant’s, Gates was full of families dressed in their Sunday best. Friends were meeting friends, families were dining together after church, and the world all of a sudden became much smaller. Gates was not a tourist stop and was full of regulars who all knew the cashier ringing up their orders. Jackpot! This was another sign of a great restaurant.
At Gates you shuffle through line with a tray, almost cafeteria style, ordering side dishes and telling the person behind the bar what kind of main dish you would like. The Short End Pork Ribs were on our to-do list, along with a side of beans recommended to us by our buddy back at Arthur Bryant’s. Mounds of food were slung, yes once again it was literally slung, onto our plate…Kansas City sure doesn’t skimp on the meat! We grabbed some of Gates famous sauce and headed to a table in the dining area with our tray.
I forgot to mention that as we were paying for our order, our new friend had hopped in line a few customers behind us and was passionately making sure we had ordered the right thing. Sure enough we got it! Whew, no BBQ massacre today!
We sat at a nice booth to enjoy our BBQ, made sure the pork ribs were all sauced up, rolled up our sleeves once again, and dug into BBQ meal number two. The short end pork ribs were incredibly tender, falling off the bone as we ate them. They came served on soft white bread. The sauce was nice and thick, and pretty sweet. When comparing it to Arthur Bryant’s the sauce at Gates is thicker, sweeter, and smoother. It had less of a chili powder taste, and I am pretty sure I could eat the sauce by itself by the spoonful.
Oh true BBQ joints, how could I ever choose between you? I now see why our local friend makes two stops each time he goes out for BBQ. One is just not enough. Even though they do BBQ differently, when it comes to making the best, both Arthur Bryant’s and Gates know exactly what they are doing!
Travel Tips and Info:
- If you are planning on trying both BBQ places in one day, share meals. The portions are huge.
- Check out the website for Gates Bar-B-Q!