Over our lifetimes, we have watched our hometown morph into a diner’s paradise. Kansas City, Kansas has gone through an increase of tastes that cover nearly every possible cuisine. With barbecue being the core of so many restaurant’s menus, we are always on the lookout for variations. This is exactly what we were looking for during our first visit to Poio Mexican BBQ, at 800 S. 7th Street. It’s easy to spot the giant red rooster head, which decorates the outside of this unassuming eatery. On a cold winter day, we were anticipating a hearty dinner to warm us up.

Poio Mexican BBQ is enjoying their new digs in Kansas City, Kansas.

First Impressions

After posing for a few selfies, in the parking lot, we made our way inside. It was early enough that the dinner crowds hadn’t descended on this place. The space has dining for a about 15-20 diners, but it seemed that the drive-thru was most popular during our visit. When owner Carlo Mortera moved his restaurant from KCMO to KCK, it was like coming home. After all, part of his youth was spent right here in Wyandotte County, which has a significant Hispanic population.

A clean interior offers simplistic design that is pleasing to the eyes.

Streamlined Menu

Mortera had a simplistic plan for Poio Mexican BBQ. His goal was to deliver chef-inspired dishes at drive-thru prices. We are all-in for great food at affordable prices. The menu is smaller than many BBQ joints, but they had all of the bases covered. Our visit occurred during Restaurant Week but we prefer to choose meals that would be available most of the time. With an assortment of nachos, sandwiches, Pozole, and platters, we knew it would be easy to find something we’d enjoy.

The El Trio platter is a pleasing display of meaty goodness.

Pleasing Platter

We decided to pick a platter and ended up with El Trio. It consists of a combination of chicken, pork carnitas, and ribs. Unfortunately, they were sold out of ribs, but they asked if we would like the beef barbacoa as a substitute. Since we had never tasted any of their dishes, we were more than happy to accept this replacement. It ended up being a truly tasty decision. While we waited for our platter to be assembled, we explored their topping options. While most barbecue joints would offer a few sauce options, that is not the case at Poio Mexican BBQ. Here they serve up a selection of salsas that can be used to bring some heat to your meal.

We found some cheesy sides to compliment our smoked meats from Poio Mexican BBQ.

Cheesy Goodness

When our platter was delivered, we took a moment to admire the pleasing presentation. Our selection came with a couple of side dishes and we chose their Elotes and Poblano Mac & Cheese. Both of these had amazing flavor that kept us coming back for more. As for the main courses, this was a slightly different barbecue experience. The platter comes with a handful of corn tortillas, which we used to make our own version of street tacos. I noted the ever smaller piles of meat, as we went back for seconds and thirds. Before long, we chucked it in and called it quits. There was still plenty left for one of us to have lunch. Talk about stretching our dining dollars.

The authors pose outside of Poio Mexican BBQ.

Blurring the BBQ Lines in KCK

Our first visit to Poio Mexican BBQ was an eye-opening experience. Enjoying barbecue without sauce is easy for me, since we have always preferred to let the true smoked meat taste come through. Here we had a chance to experience a new version of a KC classic cuisine. We heard that this eatery may have a presence at the new airport, which will give travelers from around the world an opportunity to sample Mexican BBQ at its best.

the authors signatures.

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