A lot of buzz around Kansas City, Kansas of late has been focused on Mason Jar Brews & Burgers, a newer restaurant located at 941 North 74th Drive. Located about 1/2 block south of State Avenue on 74th Drive, the restaurant is in what used to be an old water-slide park, which some of you may remember from years ago. The building has also served as a local watering hole, but now Mason Jar has taken the reins. This is quickly becoming one of our go-to spots when we don’t want to drive too far for a meal.
The inside of the restaurant is well lit, and the decorations take a backseat to the dining experience. The sleek interior design is pleasing to the eyes and leaves an impression of cleanliness. The seating selection is a mix of table-tops with bar stool height chairs, as well as a smattering of booths along the edges. On our first visit, we met CJ, the manager on duty, when he visited our table to welcome us. He explained the basics of the menu, as well as informing us that the restaurant featured a well-stocked bar with a good sampling of craft beers. We were pleased to hear that most of the sauces and dressings are made in-house, which is not always the case at other restaurants.
The menu at Mason Jar is very easy to read with clear explanations of the ingredients in each of the dishes. CJ pointed out a few of his favorites on the menu and shared with us that the burger patties are made fresh daily. After he left us, our server “T” stopped in to take our drink orders. This gave us a chance to find out her favorites, as well. After getting input from both of them, we set about trying to find a couple of items that would help us gauge the quality of ingredients, as well as the expertise of the cook staff.
After a lot of deliberation, we finally made our choices, and “T” set off to get them started for us. We were quite taken with our server, as she was more than willing to help us navigate the menu, and was delightful to visit with. Once again our choice of time to visit worked in our favor, as she was not so rushed by a crowd. She was able to deliver exceptional service without hovering. We have made numerous visits since they opened, and the wait staff has always been attentive. We have even had some great conversations with the bartenders when we chose to simply pick up a meal to go.
One of our favorites on the Mason Jar menu is the Bacon/Blue Burger. The juicy patty is topped with Swiss and Blue cheeses, as well as a Garlic aioli sauce. Some Applewood bacon, caramelized onions, and a sprinkling of greens help this burger pack a punch of flavor. Pony up the extra dollar for sweet potato fries, as they are very tasty. This meal also travels well, for those on the run. Another great handheld is the New York Stack. Tender pastrami and corned beef are piled high on marbled rye bread. The meats are topped with Swiss cheese and spicy mustard. Their fries are a great compliment, but so are the onion rings.
In Kansas City, it can be difficult to find good fish & chips. During our first visit, CJ had pointed out that they use a homemade beer batter, which features Fat Tire brand beer. This sounded so intriguing that I decided to give it a shot. When it comes to fried fish, most versions are greasy, oily, flavorless mess. They usually have to rely on the tartar sauce to impart any flavor. This was not the case with this dish. The batter was not too thick, which can allow for the collection of excess oil. The result was crispy on the outside with a delicious flaky fish on the inside. While I did share some with Crystal, at the end of the meal I made sure there was none left behind. The house-made tartar sauce was creamy but did not have any special flavoring that I could denote. This dish also included a small cup of coleslaw, which was a little more on the tart side than I prefer.
Our server, “T”, had also been quite helpful in describing the difference between the regular fries and the garlic version. In her words, the garlic version can become addicting. She was spot on with her description. The garlic fries certainly carry the garlic flavor without being overpowering. The sprinkling of some freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds another layer of flavor to the side dish. These were certainly a big hit with both of us.
Our overall experiences at Mason Jar have been positive. The menu, while decent in size, will hopefully expand in the future. Of course, as long as they focus on delivering delicious eats we will continue to frequent the restaurant. Perhaps we will make it to a Happy Hour event (they run from 3:00 to 6:00), where we can try a pizza with some homemade Lynchburg Lemonade. Will we see you there?