Los Tules: 1656 Broadway

 Posted by at 5:35 pm
Nov 082007
 

This place gets some serious traffic in every sense of the word. This is an extremely high-profile location near 17th and Broadway and anyone cruising toward or away from downtown, the westside or the crossroads is likely to notice it. I’ve been wanting to check it out ever since I moved here. I’ve noticed that they do a good business on First Fridays, which is what you would expect. It’s not too easy to park around there, mostly because Broadway is a little wacky thereabouts. Southbound drivers are so relieved to take advantage of a little post-construction homestretch that a parking car in front of los tules is a prime target. And a northbound auto will have to make a left turn across aforementioned nut jobs to get to the place.

But enough about parking, which is a seriously overrated, oft-discussed and less than interesting topic in this town. I mean the first time I parked on westport road I spent 5 minutes looking for a no parking sign because there was no parking meter. I assumed the spot was illegal. We got it lucky here, people. Hell, at Lawrence public library you get 4 hours for quarter. Oops I’m talking about parking again.

Los Tules pretty much kicks ass. It has a bar and a dining room. The service is decent, and much of the food appears pretty authentic. The tacos are very cute–tiny little doubled up corn tortillas with finely chopped meat, cilantro and onions. This is good stuff. It took a little longer than I would have expected for the food to arrive after ordering, but compared to other places, it was just fine. I have a habit of ordering tamales everywhere I go. Sadly the offering at Los Tules was not among the best I’ve had, owing to a truly odd, meaty sauce and less than creamy texture. But I haven;t eaten very many good tamales anywhere. Best I’ve had was sold by a guy in Chicago who walks around from bar to bar at night with an insulated bag full of them. but maybe that was a beer-induced infatuation.

The atmosphere at Los Tules is pretty nice too. They have a nice collection of potted plants in the front window, including one of the largest aloe plants I’ve ever seen. The staff should take a hint from the Succostash folks and start using leftover water from people’s glasses to water the plants. I love that about Succotash, it makes me fall in love with the waitress every time, whoever it is.

Anyhow, this place is solid–thanks to condoChiefs/muzak and a couple others for recommending it.

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Grinders: 417 E. 18th Street

 Posted by at 8:12 pm
Sep 102007
 

Now I like Grinders well enough, but it has a really stupid name. It almost sounds like a chain restaurant in a mall food court, only it should have an exclamation point:

“Come join us at Grinders!”

or maybe “Grynders!”

This place definitely deserves a more interesting moniker.

And Kansas City definitely needs more places like this–most cities are full of them: Casual, cheap, young-ish, inventive, locally-focused, open late. You can smoke, you can have some beers, they have good and fairly interesting food, albeit a little on the lowbrow side.

It’s also easy to pick on Grinders (idiotic name aside) and it usually has to do with Stretch. Yes, that Stretch dude has apparently burned a couple bridges, whatever, I don’t know him at all. Certainly his art is not my cup of tea. Not because it’s too wacky for me, but because he clearly thinks it’s too wacky for someone like me. It’s actually a lot like the stuff my cousin was making in the 60s and 70s, and it’s just not that challenging. And that sculpture park is just plain bad. Anyway, there’s some of that crap in Grinders, including a huge, twisting metal arch near the front door. Whatever, it’s fine really.

Cheesesteak

But the place is locally owned and operated, and the employees seem happy to be there. They certainly are friendly. I wouldn’t call it the most efficient operation, but these kinds of joints rarely are. Anyway, go there, get the Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz (!) and be glad you did.

Grinders on Urbanspoon

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