Rye Country Club Plaza

In search of the warmth and comfort of sizzling fried chicken, slow-cooked collard greens, and cornbread? If soul food and southern restaurants is what you’re looking for, Kansas City has all the flavors and hospitality for you here in the heartland.

In this guide, us Kansas City locals are proving that here in the midwest, we have all the southern and soul food offerings you need. 

Kansas City’s Soul Food and Southern Cuisine

We know that feeling of craving homestyle comfort food. It’s warming, all the way down to your soul. So, let’s get into it – here are Kansas City’s best soul food and southern restaurants.

1. Niecie’s Restaurant

Neighborhood: Midtown
Pricing: $

At Niecie’s, they are all about “Good Food, Served Right.” It’s simple, but that ethos has made them a beloved fixture in the heart of Kansas Citians for several decades. 

Founded in 1985, Niecie’s started with cherished family recipes that have been passed down through generations. All these years later, they’re still honoring the tie to family traditions, and they continue to serve Kansas City with the same dedication to fast, exceptional service and, most importantly, good food served right.

The midtown location has a welcoming, homey vibe with soulful music playing softly in the background.

Beyond the delectable offerings, what truly sets Niecie’s apart is the genuine warmth and friendliness from the long-time servers and hosts. Niecie’s is a place where names are remembered and friendly greetings are exchanged. This authentic hospitality, coupled with consistently good food, has been Niecie’s recipe for longevity. 

Niecie’s is committed to satisfying, affordable comfort food, which has been appreciated by Kansas Citians for many years. It is a beloved black owned business that has earned itself many regulars from breakfast through dinner. 

Menu highlights include chicken and waffles (proclaimed to be the best in town), sweet potato pie, southern fried chicken, and cornbread dressing.

2. Lula Southern Cookhouse

Neighborhood: Crossroads Arts District
Pricing: $$

Lula Southern Cookhouse is a culinary love letter to Southern roots. It is a testament to family recipes, a love for refined Southern cuisine, and the joy of making people happy through hearty, comforting dishes. 

The interior has a welcoming ambiance with that signature Southern charm and hospitality. Hardwood floors steeped in history, vintage brick walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows create a homey atmosphere. The ambient lighting complements the upholstered furniture, potted plants, and vintage cookware. 

Lula Southern Cookhouse creates dishes that are an inventive take on Southern classics. To start, indulge in the Victuals platter, a Southern sampler featuring deviled eggs, ham salad, chicken liver pate, deviled crab, smoked trout spread, pimento cheese spread, pickled and marinated veggies, and fried crackers – a generous offering meant to be shared.

Their craft cocktail program is creative with in-house infusions and unexpected spirits. The Award-Winning Gumbo, crowned the best at the KC GumboFest, is a symphony of Creole chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, crawfish, blue crab claws, white rice, crispy okra, and crawfish salsa – a celebration of flavors that balances every bite.

Menu highlights include shrimp and grits, shrimp boil, chicken and waffles, and vidalia onion bisque. 

3. Rye

Neighborhood: Country Club Plaza
Pricing: $$

Rye refers to itself as “Midwestern” cuisine – and we aren’t disagreeing with that, but if you’re looking for some traditionally considered Southern dishes, like fried chicken and shrimp and grits, you’ll find it here. Clearly, there’s some overlapping of Midwestern and Southern cuisines – we are neighbors, after all. 

The refined concept is local to Kansas City, and the couple behind it come with numerous accolades – their previous venture, Bluestem, was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurant over multiple years. They have individual recognitions as well, including James Beard’s Best Chef Midwest award winner and Semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Rye Country Club Plaza

The space combines rustic farmhouse elegance with local art and includes outdoor seating with a view of the Plaza’s most iconic fountain. A hallmark of Rye is its commitment to locally sourced ingredients, with some produce coming from the owners regional family farm, Flat Rock Field.

Locals rave about their weekend brunch – they offer a modest yet flavor filled menu. With a James Beard recognized pastry chef behind the helm, you won’t want to leave without dessert – their pies in particular are notable.

Menu highlights include the fried chicken, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, and lemon meringue pie.

4. Brown & Loe

Neighborhood: River Market
Pricing: $$

Step into the heart of City Market, and you’ll find Brown & Loe—a bistro that effortlessly blends the warm familiarity of a neighborhood favorite with the chic sophistication of a bygone era. Housed in the historic 1920’s Merchant’s Bank building, Brown & Loe pays homage to its storied past while offering an inventive take on American comfort cuisine.

The restaurant exudes an upscale, modern ambiance reminiscent of the early to mid-20th century’s classy chic. The 40-foot-long wooden bar, black-and-white tiled floors, and dark woods create a lively bistro vibe. It also features a lovely patio, ideal for those warm weather months. 

The menu, a fusion of modern comfort food with a Southern influence, features dishes like biscuits and short rib gravy for brunch and shrimp and grits for lunch. A noteworthy aspect is the inclusion of vegetarian options. 

Menu highlights include smoked gouda mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, and deviled eggs.

5. Denver Biscuit Company

Neighborhood: Westport
Pricing: $

At Denver Biscuit Company, freshly baked Southern-style gourmet biscuits come out of the oven every twenty minutes. The menu boasts an array of biscuit dishes, each a testament to the art of biscuit-making. From the mouthwatering biscuit pot pie to inventive biscuit sandwiches like the Cordon Bleu featuring buttermilk fried chicken, ham, cheddar cheese, and your choice of sausage or vegetarian mushroom gravy, the culinary creativity is impressive. 

As the name suggests, Denver Biscuit Company is not local to Kansas City, but it’s location in Westport is the concept’s only one outside of Colorado. 

What sets Denver Biscuit Company apart is not just the diverse menu but the commitment to scratch cooking, ensuring that every biscuit embodies that homemade essence. 

Fitting in with Westport’s nightlife vibe, the ambiance is lively, with a bar surrounded by pool tables, high-tops, and neon signs. They offer a variety of craft cocktails – perfect for brunch! 

Menu highlights include biscuit cinnamon roll, biscuits and gravy, breakfast sandwiches, and fried chicken. 

6. Char Bar

Neighborhood: Westport
Pricing: $$

Char Bar is a chef-driven, southern-inspired smokehouse that puts out award-winning sauces and meats. While the main show is their barbecue, their sides really shine, like the cornbread and jalapeño muffins with pepper jam and hot honey alongside the fried green tomatoes. 

The heart of Char Bar is its expansive beer garden, complete with croquet, ping pong, and bocce. The interior includes rustic wooden tables, concrete floors, and industrial chic accents. 

If barbecue is on your mind, savor the diverse combination trays, allowing you to sample pork ribs, sausage, pulled pork, black angus brisket, and burnt ends.

Menu highlights include the Sunday fried chicken, charred bits and grits, hush puppies, and jumbo smoked wings. 

Char Bar
Char Bar

7. Soirée Steak & Oyster House

Neighborhood: 18th & Vine Jazz District
Pricing: $$

Nestled in the heart of the historic Jazz District in Kansas City, Soirée Steak & Oyster House is where Southern-inspired cuisine meets the soulful notes of live jazz. Owned by a talented chef with roots in Louisiana, Georgia, and Arkansas, the restaurant is a celebration of flavor, music, and community.

In 2017, Soirée Steak & Oyster House opened its doors in the 18th & Vine District, a historic hub of black owned businesses. The restaurant boasts a craft cocktail bar and a stage that comes alive with local jazz bands.

The inventive menu features a symphony of flavors from Creole, Cajun, and Southern influences. The interior is contemporary, airy, and inviting. 

Menu highlights include fried green tomatoes, pork chop, red beans and rice, southern catfish, and gumbo.


As we conclude our exploration of Kansas City’s vibrant southern and soul food scene, it is evident that the heartland has cultivated a culinary landscape rich in warmth, hospitality, and flavor. 

If you love southern food, you should also visit one of Kansas City’s many Cajun and Creole restaurants.

We hope you indulge yourself in a soulful journey through Kansas City’s diverse and inviting culinary landscape!