This Mission joint made Food & Wine’s list of best KC barbecue restaurants

RJ's Bob-Be-Cue Shack in downtown Mission is one of the best places to find barbecue in the KC area, according to a new list put out by Food and Wine Magazine. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack, a locally owned Mission restaurant, is one of the best places to find barbecue in Kansas City, according to a new list from Food and Wine Magazine.

Where is it? In downtown Mission at 5835 Lamar Ave, right off Johnson Drive, across the street from a CVS Pharmacy.

Owner’s reaction: This isn’t the first time owner Bob Palmgren’s small eatery has gained national attention: Guy Fieri of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” has visited twice. (His autographed portrait hangs on one of RJ’s brick walls inside.)

  • Still, Palmgren — a classically-trained French chef — said it’s an honor to make this latest list.
  • Palmgren attributes the barbecue restaurant’s several national accolades and recognitions to a focus on good food and his staff.
  • With nearly 20 years in business, he said, the best compliment isn’t an award or being named in a magazine — it’s when customers return to RJ’s.
GUy Fieri RJ's
Guy Fieri’s visits to RJ’s for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is commemorated on the wall at the barbecue joint. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

Key quote: “The longer you stay in business and continue to focus on being really good, then you get little stuff like this here that says we’re one of the top eight in Kansas City,” Palmgren said. “I think there’s like 120 barbecue restaurants in the Kansas City area, so for us to be in that realm is wonderful.”

The magazine’s recommendations: Food and Wine Magazine mentioned RJ’s burnt ends, deep-fried catfish platter and pulled pork Po’Boy.

  • The magazine urge customers to try RJ’s sides, too, including their Cajun rice, fried okra and Bob-Be-Que beans.
  • If you ask Palmgren, though, the jalapeno sausage (Fieri’s favorite, he noted), ribs and corn beef sandwich are some of the popular dishes on the menu.
  • “But burnt ends are king in Kansas City,” Palmgren said. “We do burnt end hash, burnt end sandwiches, we do pork belly burnt ends.”
RJ's ribs
Ribs are a popular menu item for customers, Palmgren said. Photo credit Juliana Garcia

Who else made the list? Below are the other barbecue joints that made the cut onto Food and Wine’s list:

  • Q39, the Westport location (though there is also an Overland Park location)
  • Joe’s Kansas City on County Line Road
  • Arthur Bryant’s
  • Gates Bar-B-Q
  • Slaps BBQ in KCK
  • Fioerlla’s Jack Stack Barbecue
  • LC’s Barbeque