Arthur Bryant’s Locations
1702 Village West Parkway
Kansas City, KS 66111
Kansas City, MO 64161
Arthur Bryant’s History
In 1979, long before paparazzi stalked celebrities for a living, a picture was taken of President Jimmy Carter, his mouth smeared with barbecue sauce, at what some would consider “the most famous barbecue restaurant” in not only Kansas City, but the entire United States: Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue.
Known for it’s unique, vinegar based barbecue sauce, Bryant’s Barbecue was famous long before President Carter’s meal. The location in downtown Kansas City at 1727 Brooklyn Ave. was opened in 1958, soon after Arthur Bryant bought the restaurant from his brother Charlie. Arthur not only moved the location of the restaurant, but he also changed the recipe of the sauce as well (some say that this change was not by choice – Charlie never revealed the entire original recipe to Arthur). Regardless, the resulting sauce is known by anyone fortunate enough to visit one of the smokey Arthur Bryant’s locations.
Before the current location of Arthur Bryant’s, the restaurant was originally at 1400 Highland Ave. and was owned by Henry Perry, “the father of Kansas City barbecue.” When Henry first started selling ‘cue in 1908, he smoked the game of the day (according to Wikipedia this included opossum, raccoon and other animals in addition to twenty-five cent slabs of pork ribs) over an open fire, and before wrapping it in newspaper he doused the meat in a sauce made of vinegar, chili peppers and tomatoes. To this day, ordering take out from Arthur Bryant’s consists of barbecued meat, sauce, fries and pickles all wrapped haphazardly in a single sheet of butcher paper. On Henry’s death in 1940, Charlie Bryant took over the restaurant which had at that point become a fixture of the booming Kansas City Jazz District. After a few years, in 1946, Arthur purchased the restaurant from his brother, and transitioned the restaurant into the Kansas City icon that it is today. Reminiscent of that era are the glass, 5 gallon jars of barbecue sauce that decorate the windows of the Brooklyn Ave. location.