Living in Kansas City means there is no lack of barbecue. In fact, many of us believe it to be home to the best of the best. Traditional BBQ restaurants offer a range of smoked meat sandwiches, slabs of delicious ribs, and Midwestern sides. The Junction decided to put a twist on their menu and we couldn’t be happier. One look at the cover of the menu elicited promises of unique eats. We couldn’t wait to see how their modern flair would bring an intersection of flavors.
Newcomer to the Biz
The Junction is located at 12804 Santa Fe Trail Drive, in Lenexa, Kansas. If the location seems familiar, it was previously home to Haywards Pit BBQ. Their departure opened up the space for something new. On our first visit, we had the opportunity to meet owner Eric Brull. He told us that his background is in landscaping. Being a savvy businessman, he saw the open space as a great spot to continue the barbecue tradition. Eric, along with his wife Tammy and their three daughters, have created a space that offers a relaxed atmosphere for dining and socializing.
For us, the number one goal for any restaurant has to revolve around the food. The Junction has a menu that is filled with dishes that present barbecue with a new approach. There’s something fun about finding fusion-style mixtures of cuisines. Some of the items are similar to ones we have tasted at other eateries, but they still have their own unique flavor. We wanted to start with an appetizer, but what to choose? Should we sample the Fried Portabella Mushroom Fries, Caboose BBQ Nachos, or perhaps the Junction Sliders? Realizing that we would be ordering full meals, we settled on the Q Rangoon. These crispy wonton bites are stuffed with smoky goodness and served up with a sweet chili sauce. Just like that, they disappeared.
Stuffed with Taste
On our previous visit, I had stuck with a sandwich, so this time I was looking to depart from the norm. My eyes were drawn to the Mac & Cheese with Burnt Ends, but further scanning landed me on the Holy Grail. The Freight Train has a name that tempts the taste buds with promises of excess. The dish is basically a HUGE barbecue burrito. The outside is adorned with three sauces: Alabama White, Carolina Gold, and the house standard BBQ sauce. Nestled on a bed of crispy onion straws, it was begging to be opened. Once inside, I discovered a hearty stuffing of burnt ends, smoked sausage, pulled pork, Mac & Cheese, Gouda Cheese, and Hanson beans. It was a task for me to finish half of it, which left me with an envy-worthy lunch the next day.
Crystal had witnessed my choice during our first visit and obviously was a little jealous. On this trip, she decided to replicate my previous order and chose the Junction Grilled Cheese. What could pass as a standard sandwich, at first glance, is actually a brilliant fusion of flavors. Taking some of their tender beef briskets, they combine it with caramelized onions, smoked gouda, provolone, and bourbon bacon jam. What occurs between the slices of toasted bread is a melding of flavors that just make everything right. Toss in a serving of housemade chips and a couple of onion rings for good measure and you have an amazing plate. I have to admit that I was a little jealous of her choice until I dove into mine.
Time to Relax at The Junction
Our visits to The Junction have shown us that even in the midst of the BBQ Capital of the World, there are still new creations being thought up. While they are still getting their legs under them, we are eager to see how they progress as a business. The idea that they are creating a family legacy makes their story that much more endearing. We hope they inspire others to break out of their old life and seek out the adventure that they have longed for all of these years. It is worth the effort, as we have learned when we launched our travel blog. By the way, if you want to see what was inside of my burrito, we have added a video to our Instagram feed that showcases The Junction. Check it out and then make your own visit to this new KC barbecue stop.
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