Kansas City has slowly, but surely become a haven for Mexican cuisine. From the small Mom & Pop street taco shops of KCK to the larger chain restaurants scattered throughout the metro. It seems that finding a taco vendor is just about as easy as locating a barbecue. When Guy Fieri decided to jump into the market, many wondered what new twist he could bring to this saturated market. With all of his success featuring Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, we found his new venture to be blurring the line between corporate and authentic. On a beautiful Fall day, we dropped by Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint at 1333 Grand Boulevard, in the Power & Light District.
A chance to check out the newest fall festival, Cornucopia, drew us to the P&L District. Our plan had been to park in the Crossroads and catch the streetcar. We actually found a parking spot that made walking to our destination easy. The streets were blocked off, and we found the area overflowing with family-friendly activities. While the area was certainly begging to be explored, hunger was blurring the line between seeing the sights and grabbing some lunch. We spotted Guy’s new spot and decided that we’d give it a shot. After all, we seem to find ourselves crossing paths a lot. (Here’s a diner that Guy liked as much as we did.)
Blurring the Line
After passing the mural that included his recognizable red Camaro, we made our way into the taco bar. The place is designed to replicate a local dive, with a huge bar sitting at the center. The place had a good crowd, but we were still able to find a table. When Guy’s first opened, they didn’t offer table service, which caused some confusion for patrons. This has since been resolved, so things run a little more smoothly. The decor is a mix of corporate icons and eclectic garage sale items. It would be a great place to play “Eye Spy” with your kids since there are hundreds of unique pieces scattered throughout the space.
We were taking it all in when our server dropped by to check on us. Since we were eager to return to the festival, we hurriedly ordered. The menu is fairly straightforward, with a few appetizers and about a half-dozen taco choices. There are also some odds and ends, like sliders, salads, empanadas, and such. They have a larger selection of drink options, which show that they concentrate heavier on that side of the business. Since the place is designed as a taco bar, it was obvious that we were choosing tacos. These come four to an order, and no mixing allowed. A side of beans and rice is extra. Crystal decided to check out the Fajita Rajas Tacos, which are basically a chicken fajita taco. She quickly discovered that there is a good amount of heat included in their dishes, but not too much to keep her from coming back for more.
After a quick scan of the menu, I found the Al Pastor Tacos calling my name. The description hinted of a flavor-packed meal that included beer-soaked pork as the base. Toss in some chipotle, sweet onions, Cotija cheese, avocado & tomatillo salsa, and grilled pineapple salsa for a punch of taste. The mix of sweet and heat kept me coming back for more. Since Crystal had ordered a side dish, I decided to include one of the house margaritas with my order. It has a nice tart accent and helped cut back the heat from the dishes. While our meal wasn’t the best street tacos we’ve had in Kansas City, they were an acceptable alternative when visiting this entertainment area. Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint is blurring the line between corporate restaurant and local hangout.
New Fall Festival
Now that our hunger was satisfied, we could focus our attention on Cornucopia. The first year of a festival is always a test. Since there is no history to work from, the organizers are having to hope for the best. This year they got that. Perfect weather, an interactive crowd, and tons of vendors. We found two stages featuring live bands. A small carnival was operating in front of the Sprint Center. Street vendors were serving up a mix of food and drinks. The biggest component was a large number of activities geared toward families. We loved seeing all of the kids engaged in various Fall activities. There were even a handful of spots designed for selfies. It’s a fad that does not seem to be going away, so we happily embrace it. We are hoping this new festival returns next year even bigger and better. There is always room for another great Kansas City event. What are your favorite Fall activities?