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Queuing for 'Cue: Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Olathe, KS)

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que new moniker now acknowledges
this eatery's current Kansas City-area focus
The oft- and perhaps overused phrase starting with "When in Rome..." applies to numerous destinations around this world. From a culinary standpoint, you can't visit New York for the first time and not have a bagel or a slice of New York style pizza. When in San Francisco, a slice of sourdough or freshly prepared Dungeness Crab would seem to be in order.

In Kansas City, it's all about the barbecue.

With that said, on a drive-through visit like my spouse and I made on the way to and back from the Rocky Mountains on this trip, the dilemma ensues: how the hell do you choose just one place?

After quite a bit of research, we decided that since the quantity of quality barbecue eateries wouldn't be an issue, proximity would be the final determiner.  Since we had stopped for the night on the southwest side of the metro, we ended up at Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Olathe.

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que has its roots in Oklahoma: the first restaurant, originally named Oklahoma Joe's, was opened up in Stillwater, OK in 1996, with a location in Kansas City opening up later that year in a former gas station. When one of the original partners relocated to Texas, the lack of an owner/operator for the original Oklahoma-area restaurant caused that location to close. However, the Kansas City branch continued operations, expanding to Leawood and Olathe over the years and building up accolades in the form of "Best Of" nominations.

The recently-announced change to the new moniker was an acknowledgment of this eatery's now de facto Kansas City orientation as well as a way to distinguish it from the newer Oklahoma Joe's eateries; these were opened when the previously referenced business partner moved back to the state of Oklahoma to open up two new Oklahoma Joe's restaurants in recent years.

Got that? Good - it's time to discuss the food.

Top photo: Even on an early weekday, Joe's was bustling.
Bottom row: Beer from local brewer Boulevard on tap; Zagat-rating
plaques, and a peek at some of Joe's meat-based offerings
Even on this early weekend/later-in-the-evening visit like we made, the place was rather bustling, with a fairly long queue in place upon our arrival. However, the line moved pretty quickly, giving us time to not only look over their menu, but glance through around the interior. While this space, located in a major retail-oriented area along Strang Line Road, may not have the unique novelty of its original gas station location, the interior is appealing nonetheless and plenty roomy. Along with barbecue- and eatery- related media neatly arranged around the wood-paneled walls, big rolls of paper towels were sighted on all tables (a promising sight indeed.)

Alas, the Kansas City-area regional specialty burnt ends were only available on the weekends here, but the other barbecue selections we opted for on this day (brisket, pulled pork, and the ribs) ended up to be truly delicious. Perhaps the standout of array of proteins on this day were the ribs - nicely tender, visually appealing and delightful but not overpowering hint of smoke on each bite.

Clockwise from top left: Spicy Slaw and BBQ Beans sides; closeup
of a rather delicious rib; brisket slathered with some of Joe's
spicy BBQ sauce; pulled pork with some house pickles.
The sides were solid as well, with an special mention for the BBQ Beans, laden with nice-sized cubes of bacon. Texas Toast also comes with a standard dinner order, along with a regular slice of white bread. In addition, we found the sauces, produced by local sauce maker Cowtown, to be top-notch: while our preference is for spicy, we found both their spicy "Night of the Living Bar-b-q" and original sauce equally enjoyable. Joe's offers these sauces (as well as other branded merchandise) at their restaurant.

Along with the usual collection of pop and macro beer, several tap handles of excellent local brewer Boulevard Beer are available for diners: we ended up enjoying a couple of pints of their Irish Ale (it was St. Patrick's Day, after all) and their Pale Ale with what turned out to be an incredibly delicious experience all around.

If you're interested in more extensive barbecue-related shopping, you can walk across the parking lot to the Kansas City BBQ Store, which was originally co-located at Joe's Bar-B-Que location. A re-location of the store to its new digs proved to be beneficial for both parties in relation to giving each more space to operate. Along with a selection of barbecue-oriented equipment, a fairly extensive inventory of sauces and rubs are available for purchase. Many of these products have a presence on the sampling shelf - customers can come in to sample the various products before purchase (we ended up buying some regional-area products ourselves after some browsing.)

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que
11950 S Strang Line Rd
Olathe, KS 66062
(913) 782-6858
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