To this day, we are amazed at the number of hidden gems that we find spread around the Kansas City metro. There are so many alcoves and pockets dotting the landscape. Thank goodness for Google Maps, since finding places in the pre-computer age was much more difficult. Of course, there are paths that many of us drive every day, which take us so close to some of these unheralded treasures. I’m not sure how many trips we have made up North Oak Trafficway, coming from downtown KCMO. Little did we realize the hidden flavor we passed on each drive. It took a keen eye to finally spot Queen Sweets Bakery, at 4107 N. Cherry Street.
We want to thank Queen Sweets Bakery for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Queen Sweets Bakery is not huge, so it is not surprising that we have overlooked it. Tucked into a small strip of shops, the husband and wife owners spend their days creating an assortment of Jordanian and Lebanese dishes. When we entered the restaurant, we found a small space to be well lit and inviting. One of the owners greeted us and showed us to our booth. The place was only about half full, but that quickly changed. We had arrived just before 6:00, which appears to be the best time to grab a seat. By 6:15, the place was packed with couples and families.
Middle East Decor
We took a few moments to soak up the atmosphere. Even though their space is limited, the owners of Queen Sweets Bakery have made it inviting. We loved the splash of bright colors and Mediterranean accent pieces. This helped create an environment that had us craving the tastes of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Tasting the Hidden Flavor
Whenever we visit a new restaurant, we scan the menu for anything resembling a sampler platter. We have found that this will allow us to savor a variety of tastes. Not all restaurants will carry this, and some spots have a menu that isn’t really set up for this style of dining. Fortunately, Queen Sweets bakery has a few dishes that work perfectly for getting an assortment of flavors. Our first choice was the Combination Appetizer plate. This dish is created with a collection of Falafel, hummus, Baba Ghanoush, and stuffed grape leaves. *Please note that it would usually have Mediterranean salad, but the owner substituted the stuffed grape leaves. A basket full of pita bread supplied the edible tool to enjoy all of the creamy goodness. A pair of dipping sauces added exotic flavors to the Falafel.
You are probably wondering why the owner made the substitution. We actually ordered both plates at the same time. This meant that he knew the Mediterranean salad would already be included in our second choice. We loved that he wanted to make sure we had a more complete sampling of the dishes they offer. Choice number two was the Mashawi Mix Plate. This comes in a regular or family size. Obviously, we decided to go with the smaller of the two, and that was a wise choice. The dish they served us had ample amounts of grilled lamb, chicken, and Kafta shish kabob. (Kafta is a ground lamb and beef mix.) Served with grilled veggies, it is laid out on a bed of delectable saffron rice. It was going to be difficult to finish all of this food.
What kind of food bloggers would we be, if we didn’t check out the dessert at a place called Queen Sweets Bakery? Their bakery case was filled with delicious looking treats. With choices like chocolate cake, pecan pie, cheesecake, apple pie, or even tiramisu, it would hard to go wrong. The old saying about when in Rome, reminded us that we should check out a dessert that represents the rest of the dishes we had savored. A pair of walnut Baklavas would work perfectly for this. The flaky layers of pastry captured the honey-sweet flavor, while the pistachio crumbles added some extra crunch. There was no room left in our bellies for any more food, once we finished this dish.
Explore the Hidden Gems
After paying our bill, and saying our goodbyes, it was time to head off to check on our grandcat. This had been another successful excursion to uncover a hidden gem in Kansas City. (You can read about a Mexican cuisine gem here.) Slowly, but surely, we are ticking off the places that have remained hidden from us for so long. Of course, we realize that with each one we investigate, there are at least a dozen others still waiting in the wings. What is your favorite hidden gem?