This is what I’m talking about. I’ve passed Tarantino’s a time or two but never gave it much thought. Thanks to the suggestions by a couple readers of this blog I decided to check it out. Tarantino’s is situated on 6th and McGee, basically overlooking the highway to the north and the buildings down by the river. It’s a classically urban setting in which to enjoy a bit of lunch. Not too slick, not too gritty. It’s basically across McGee from Gland Slam Liquors, in case you want to pick up a pint of Popov vodka on your way back to work. It’s like a vestige of what KC looked like before 6th street was an actual city road and not a glorified highway feeder.
I arrived shortly after the lunch rush proper, and as a result the staff failed to bring a menu or wipe the table for 5 minutes or so. Uh oh, I thought, we have another John’s situation on our hands. But two waitresses noticed me eventually, and made up for the small wait with excessive quantities of friendliness. The primary waitress didn’t make me wait to place my order. For that, I’ll also forgive the short-shorts with “Team Pink” written across the butt.
The restaurant is quite small, maybe seats 40-50 people andthey seem to do a nice business. The patrons were mostly a middle-aged, white bunch of people, though i saw a couple teenagers as well. This is the kind of place where you will find well-heeled businessmen, secretaries, construction workers, and housewives all having lunch together. At least half the people in the place were regulars whom the waitresses called by name. The bearded gentleman next to me wearing overalls and carrying a 64oz plastic coffee mug was one of them. They brought him an iced tea without him needing to ask.
And jesus, the food came out in a hurry. The menu offered all sorts of Italian favorites–sandwiches, pizza, calzones, pasta, spiedini, sausages–and a number of daily specials as well. Except for pizza, I don’t think anything on the menu was over $7. They also serve several kinds of beer. At least one lady was smoking. No one cared. I opted for a meatball sub. After all, any self-respecting italian joint worth its salt will know how to dish out a decent meatball. And decent it was.For 6 bucks I got a nice sized (but not outrageous) sandwich, a bag of chips, and a pile of dill pickles. Sodas were only a dollar, so I got out of there without spending more than $10. And the meatballs had all the hallmarks of being homemade. That’s all I ask.
Moreover, my check was brought promptly, and I was out of there about 15 minutes after I walked in! This is incredible for table service. Depending on where you are, it shouldn’t take folks more than 10 minutes to walk there from Main Street, so a 1/2 lunch is a distinct possibility. Best of all, a friendly gent walked by everyone’s table to make sure the food was ok. I assume he is the owner. This is a nice touch, though I have definitely seen it done badly. Sometimes overly attentive service can seem disingenuous.
This place knows how to do it right: Good food, fast, friendly service, interesting clientele, good prices…I don’t know what else to say. Tarantino’s is going on the regular rotation.