KC’s Coolest Hidden Gems (Don’t be Scared!)

KC’s Coolest Hidden Gems (Don’t be Scared!)

You know those places. You drive by them all the time and wonder what’s inside. Or you hear a friend talk about it and wish you were cool enough to work up the nerve to walk in there.

These places have charm and intrigue, but just enough unknown to make you think twice and drive around the block to your go-to spot.

Here are a few of my favorite undercover gems that I worked up enough courage to check out. I’m thankful I did and think you should too:

Sieu Thi Dong Phuong

This place is the reason I agreed to move to the River Market in 2007. My husband and I were on a scouting trip and decided to walk in to the Chinatown Food Market. It was culture shock after having lived in Olathe and Lawrence the past 20 years. And it pushed me over the edge. I knew I wouldn’t get experiences like that living in a cush neighborhood, so the next week we signed our first lease.

Enough sap, this place is amazing. They have a wide variety of ethnic foods, a full fish market, interesting produce you won’t find at your typical grocer, a great section of home goods and other oddities from China, and diverse clientele.

Go there: 202 Grand Blvd | Kansas City, MO 64106

Cafe Gratitude

Vegan food can sound really freaky, but they do it right. I wrote about how much I loved them a couple years ago – check it out.

Go there: 333 Southwest Blvd | Kansas City, MO 64108

YJ’S Snack Bar

The only thing I knew about this place for a long time was that there wasn’t a menu, which isn’t true. But it was enough to keep me away for far too long. Don’t be ridiculous. They have a menu, but get one of the bomb daily specials. This place is cozy and fun. You won’t want to leave.

Go there: 128 W 18 St. | Kansas City, MO 64108


I’ve always wanted to be a climber. It’s one of those cool, tough, and daring things that makes my palms get sweaty just thinking about. Well, with the opening of ROKC in North Kansas City, and a handful of encouraging neighbors, I had no excuse. I’m still very much a climber in training, but all those years of fear were for naught. The community is one of the most laid-back, helpful, and friendly I’ve ever seen.

Go there: 1501 Howell St. | North Kansas City, MO 64116

Vietnam Cafe

Vietnamese food is dope. And this place gets it right every time. I’ve written about their pho (and more) before here – read the post.

Go there: 522 Campbell St. | Kansas City, MO 64106

El Pollo Rey

A KCK staple. The menu is simple, the restaurant is simple, and the food is great and affordable.

Go there: 901 Kansas Ave. | Kansas City, KS 66105

Tortilleria San Antonio

With 2 locations in Kansas City, I was clearly late to the game with this one. This place has dank tacos, amazing tortillas and fire salsas.

Go there: 830 Kansas Ave. | Kansas City, KS 66105

What Are Your Favorite Hidden Gems in KC?

What spots have you had to work up the courage to visit? Or are still working up the courage to visit? Comment below!

By | 2018-07-11T21:38:30+00:00 September 28th, 2016|Kansas City|2 Comments


  1. Evan T. September 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Screenland on Armour Road is one of my favorite movie theaters and I only recently discovered it because it’s kind of dive-y (which doesn’t sound great when you’re talking about a movie theater and this is why I avoided it for so long). I hardly ever leave downtown on a night out, but this quaint little theater is one good reason to explore north of the river. It’s very charming and personal, with a full bar up front and lots of interesting people. Definitely give it a try on your next movie night!

    • Stina Hergott October 5, 2016 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      @Evan – well said! I absolutely adore the movie-going experience at Screenland Armour, and they play some really interesting flicks. Thanks for sharing!

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