It's time to put the myth to rest that we all drive hamburger-shaped cars and eat a Tomahawk Chop for lunch every day in Kansas City. We're good at cooking meat. We might be the best. But that hasn't stopped a burgeoning vegetarian community from springing up here and a host of understanding chefs who are willing to knock out some seriously killer food that is sans meat.
But David Grossman sees KC as a vegan-food desert in his latest column for USA Today. In the piece about the hassles of traveling with diet restrictions, he writes:
In Kansas City, I found few restaurants near the convention center serving items I could eat, so I spent $30 on a taxi ride to and from the nearest supermarket to stock up.
The vegan diet is admittedly limited, and chain restaurants in the Power & Light District might have some challenges adjusting dishes, but it doesn't have to be impossible to find options for lunch and dinner (unless you've already decided it's impossible). Fud, the resident vegan restaurant on the West Side, is less than one mile from the convention center. How many cities can say that?
A restaurant doesn't have to be vegan to cater to vegans. The Blue Bird Bistro has a number of vegan options, as do the make-your-own salad restaurants, such as Ingredient and The Mixx. Brian Aaron, the executive chef at Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen, is an unabashed tailgater. The menu at the former JP Wine Bar spot is a carnivore's dream. But he's happy to remake any dish with a vegetarian or vegan in mind because he wants his guests to be happy. But he can't do that unless you ask.
You can throw out a request for recommendations via Facebook or Twitter before visiting a city. VegGuide.org has 42 listings in Kansas City. Heck, even a cursory glance at the archives of Fat City would have turned up a number of choices. It's not on the hospitality industry to do more to cater to your needs, Mr. Grossman. It's up to you to ask a restaurant what's possible rather than assuming they can't, or won't, help you.
You'll find that people are nice in Kansas City, even to vegans.