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Q39: Spicing Up the Menu

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We’re all familiar with the one question that can either bring people together or instigate an argument: “What’s the best barbeque spot in Kansas City?” When I moved here two years ago, I was adamant about giving them all a fair shot. There was just one little issue with that plan—I started with Q39 and I can’t quit it.

Maybe it’s the fact that you can taste the love peppered into each of slab of perfectly charred meat, or the modern yet rustic, inviting ambiance that feels like home. I remember diving into my first plate of homemade chipotle sausage and the surprising realization that some of the best salads I’ve ever had were created in a barbeque restaurant. 

That’s exactly what Chef Rob Magee was going for when he opened Q39 five years ago: a scratch kitchen led by a classically trained chef offering award-winning barbeque and thoughtfully crafted menu items with a twist. Chef Rob graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, then began his career by refining his craft in kitchens across the country. When he hit the Midwest, he became obsessed with the idea of mastering KC ’cue. He spent 12 years as a part of the number one team in competition barbeque and decided to call KC home.

“I fell in love with the people and city itself,” Chef Rob said. Q39 was born in the historic Midtown neighborhood in 2014. Kansas City natives and travelers alike have become hooked on the smoked goods, and with 15 new menu items, you’re sure to fall in love all over again. New items range from fresh apps and shareables to unexpected entrees and sinfully sweet desserts. 

Prep your palate with some of the new starters! The Buffalo Cauliflower Wings serve as a nice, light dish with a spicy kick and a cool side of buttermilk dressing. In the mood for something hearty? The Smoked Beef Brisket Poutine is a mashup of all the best appetizers: crispy fries, chopped brisket, white cheddar cheese curds, beef brisket gravy, BBQ sauce and chives. For a mouthwatering seasonal pick, choose the Smoked and Grilled Pork Belly, featuring bacon-onion marmalade and apple slaw.

Two new salad contenders will fight for the right to be your new favorite lunch option. The Chopped Salad is a fresh take on a classic mix, with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, sharp cheddar, chopped egg, pickled onions and a tangy balsamic herb vinaigrette drizzled throughout. The Q Wedge offers baby iceberg lettuce, smoked blue cheese, spiced onion straws and smoked pork belly bacon lardons.

If you’re a frequent Q39 diner like me, I strongly encourage you to take a short break from your usual order and indulge in one of the new specialty sandwiches and burgers. The Q Burger, Chicken Griller and P.B.L.T. are all five-star options. My favorites include the Grilled Pork Belly Sandwich; it’s bacon-onion marmalade, sliced Granny Smith apples and Dijon aioli spread onto a warm bun, and the Smoked Beef Belly Dip, provolone and horseradish aioli atop a toasted hoagie. 

Ready to go all out? The array of new wood-fired grilled plates is simply irresistible. The creamy Smoked Chicken Cassoulet is made with spicy chipotle sausage, white beans, spinach, tomato and thyme. The 12-ounce Kansas City Strip Steak features bearnaise butter and a fan-favorite, the mac and cheese. The Herbed Smoked Pork Shank is the epitome of “barbeque with a twist,” showcasing cavatappi pasta and smoked bordelaise sauce.

If there’s any chance you’ve saved room for dessert, you’re in luck! Chef Rob has debuted Warmed Carrot Cake with zesty lemon icing and a seasonal mint-chocolate chip Ice Cream Pie that cools the palate after your meal. Dining with family? Go for the homemade drop-donuts that serve as the perfect shareable finale. 

Whether you’re looking for a fun date night location in Midtown or planning a party in OP, Q39 is the place to celebrate. With 15 new menu items, there’s a lot of flavor to explore. Come choose your new favorite!

To make a reservation at Q39 Midtown, call 816-255-3753. For Q39 South, call 913-951-4500. For menu previews, visit

Cravings writer Meg Kraft is a Kansas City transplant from Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to wining, dining and writing, she is a social media specialist and wedding blogger. Meg and her fiancé love exploring their new home and experiencing every flavor that the KC food scene has to offer. She is a pet parent to three French Bulldogs and an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan. Her life motto: count the memories, not the calories.