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Anton’s Restaurant and Taproom: History, Ambiance and Great Steaks

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I fell in love with the ambiance before I ever walked into Anton’s Taproom and Restaurant on Main Street in the heart of downtown Kansas City. You can feel the history pulsating from the walls in this historic building. 

After serving as a factory, several different restaurants and first as a food market, this 1898 structure has been restored to its original glory, preserving walls and floors where possible and adding original materials where needed. I love imagining the first Kansas City street car’s bell ringing as it zoomed by this building along with the first Model Ts driven by some of the most important Kansas Citians of that era. Today, the street car is back and many of Kansas City’s movers and shakers dine at Anton’s.

Owner and longtime restaurateur Anton Kotar opened Anton’s in October 2012 when most of this section along Main Street was still boarded up. Today it’s difficult to find a parking space day or night because of the revitalization of Kansas City, Missouri’s, downtown. Anton is passionate about his food, the recipes, the flavors and the quality of his beef. “Kansas City is the steak capital of the country for the past 100 years. Why? Because we have ranchers right in this area who know what they’re doing,” Anton said.

Anton’s is not “just” an amazing steak restaurant with an incredible ambiance; when you are there, you have to take a walk around the place and see all that’s going on. It’s a retail butcher shop where you can get fresh, custom cuts of steaks along with chicken, pork and other cuts of beef. Downstairs, there’s an indoor tilapia farm where the fish start as hatchlings and grow up to a pound and a quarter to be served on the menu. Out back as well as in the basement, the chefs tend an aguaponics herb garden that’s on display and then ends up on your plate. The restaurant also features its authentic dry-aging process in a large display case in the basement. Anton takes pride in the dry aging process and explains that it aids in the tenderness and increases the flavor in the beef. 

Anton’s beef business is taking off, and not just the restaurant. He’s recently gotten started with one of the largest grass-fed beef farms in the country striving to reach 650 cattle to keep up with the steak demands of the Midwest. This new processing plant is near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The wholesale beef business serves several restaurants in Kansas City and beyond but mostly serves to individuals looking for this special grass-fed beef.

“Many of my regular customers come back because they know they can trust where their food is coming from and that is so important these days. We pride ourselves on knowing where the animals come from and what the benefits are to you,” Anton said. “Our whole menu at Anton’s is GMO-free or organic.”

The chefs at Anton’s prepare the food using a minimalist style, letting the food’s natural flavors shine through. Very few oils, vinegars, wines and butter are used in the food preparation. Instead, food is prepared simply with lemon juice, sea salt and boiling water.

We started our tasting with the Beef Carpaccio garnished with capers, shaved parmesan, flavored with lemon and served with crostini. I first started eating beef tartar about 15 years ago when I was introduced to it by a chef who had to twist my arm to get me to taste it but now that I’ve enjoyed quality beef and understand the flavor, I truly appreciate this dish, despite my initial hesitation. This version was incredible and flavored just right.

I was doing back flips when I saw that Anton was treating me to the Short Rib served with smoked gouda, bacon mac-n-cheese with seasonal greens and red wine jus. I’m not just a flavor junkie, I’m also a girl who loves rich, delicious entrees. The meat is tender and juicy and the mac-n-cheese is just the right accompaniment. 

Now it’s time for the cowboy-cut, bone-in, 28-day dry-aged ribeye, the Porterhouse. There has never been a steak this large served to me! Whoa! Thankfully I had a lot of help eating it and it disappeared quickly because it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I understand what Anton and all of the other people who’ve been raving about the steak at Anton’s are talking about now. The succulent flavor will not be forgotten.

We finished the meal with a smooth, scrumptious and traditional Crème Brûlée – the perfect finale to a steak feast. The soft vanilla cream was perfectly coated by a light caramelized sugar topping. 

When you dine at Anton’s, there are a few options for dining spaces. The main dining room, which doubles as the bar space, is saloon-like with a combination of high-top and rustic large tables throughout. Adorned with a mismatch of chandeliers, the space is inviting and lively. Adjacent to this room are a few more tables bumping right up to the butcher shop and the stairs leading to a whole second dining space, complete with art gallery and private dining room, which seats 65 and is perfect for a corporate luncheon, rehearsal dinner or a wedding. There’s a beer garden behind the restaurant for private outdoor events as well. The art gallery on the second floor features a variety of art from local veterans and first responders and the display is rotated often.

Just one stop at Anton’s is not enough to take it all in. Come in for happy hour, a hamburger at lunch, a romantic steak dinner for two or a big group celebration. You will be happy you got a taste of quality at Anton’s at 1610 Main Street.

Call 816-888-8800 or check the website,, for specials and more information.

Written by: Megan Neher

Journalist-turned-PR-professional Megan Neher has never forgotten her true first love: writing. Today, Megan owns her own PR firm, Megan Neher Public Relations; she’s a wife, mom, marketer, student and spends a lot of time cleaning up after her four pets and two teenagers. Her dream is to live on a tropical beach somewhere where she can stroll barefoot to a nearby grass hut for a fish taco and margarita.