Dagwood’s will surprise you. Everything about the place leads one to expect substandard food — drab interior, haggard clientele, typical menu — but it’s frankly a step above the average diner. It has almost none of the physical character of a “classic” greasy spoon. The decor consists of faux-vintage Coca-Cola advertisements and hangable flea market witticisms. While clean, the place shows its age and isn’t particularly comfortable or pleasant to look at.
Located in the Rosedale neighborhood at Southwest Boulevard and I-35, Dagwood’s is easily accessible from most parts of the metro, but seems to cater to a mostly local patronage. If you want to see working class KCK in all of its glory, it delivers the goods. While you encounter the occasional brunching hipster, the typical clientele comprises auto mechanics, teenage mothers, extremely hungover young people and impossibly cute old men in trucker caps. There are more unfortunate tattoos on display here than any place outside of Rockfest. Dagwood’s used to enjoy the dubious reputation of being the area’s smokiest restaurant, but in these heady days of personal fitness and concern for public health, it manages to conduct a brisk morning and weekend business in a smoke-free fashion.
Please don’t attach any value judgment to my characterization of the people who eat at Dagwood’s. I am simply providing an adequate description for potential diners who are more accustomed to brunching at Chez Elle and think that eating from a food truck is “slumming.”
But I’ll be damned if I’m not impressed nearly every time I eat at Dagwood’s. They make a very good burger – it’s thin and griddled to a crisp but is wide enough to feed an average adult human.
And here’s the Texas Burger, which comes on grilled sandwich bread with sauteed onions, bacon and a handful of canned jalepeño slices.
Can you tell I like the onion rings? I doubt they are hand-breaded but you never know at a place like this. Regardless they are a tasty take on the cracker crumb-breaded style and a nice change of pace from boring old french fries.
The lunch selection pales in comparison to the breakfast fare, which is offered all day. As I mentioned previously, I don’t eat breakfast at lunch time, but if that’s your thing, Dagwood’s does a nice job on bacon, eggs, toast, omelets and the like. I’ve even written about breakfast at Dagwood’s before. The biscuits and gravy are nothing to sneeze at and the Dagwood sandwich is one of the best breakfast sandwiches in town.
The service is generally very good, but the servers can get harried when it’s busy because only one person handles each dining room. Just walk in and take a seat, it might take a minute for someone to greet you and deliver a menu. At the end of your meal, pay at the counter register. I think this used to be a cash-only establishment, but these days they do indeed take cards. Also, keep in mind that Dagwood’s is a breakfast and lunch place only, so they close around 2pm every day.
It’s not the most creative menu or prettiest dining room, but Dagwood’s is a solid option for American diner classics.