Q39 is the second most popular BBQ restaurant in all of Kansas City, as far as reviews and ratings are concerned. I decided that during my trip to judge the 38th American Royal World Series of BBQ, I'd have to check this place out. I made a reservation a couple days in advance as was recommended to me by a few locals. I arrived at the original location in Midtown and was very excited to see a huge crowd of people waiting. My golden rule for eating at a restaurant is: if it's empty run like hell, if it's full, get a spot in line. No high quality restaurant is going to be dead empty; you can't go wrong with this test, in addition to reading reviews, checking out photographs from customers as well as the restaurant's websites. When people ask me how to choose a restaurant, that's exactly what I tell them because it's the best process that's worked for me.
After waiting for 35 mins to get a table (WITH a reservation and after arriving 10 minutes early and also having to keep asking the host for a table, I finally sat down at 8:25 pm on Sunday night. I ordered ribs and the waitress immediately tells me they're out of ribs. How is that even possible?! I ended up ordering the burnt ends sandwich with a side of fries and apple coleslaw. Two minutes later the table next to me sits down, orders ribs and flips out on the waitress because "it's a rib restaurant" and they are out. The other table was furious, as was I. How utterly disappointing to start my meal off like that. There's zero signs up and the host I spoke with multiple times along with the manager who sat me never once mentioned there were no ribs being served. On top of that people showing up to get a table are being told that they need to wait at least an hour and a half to sit down, again, with zero mention that they are going to have to wait that long and oh, by the way, there won't be ribs. That's NOT good quality customer service at all. At this point I almost walked out of the restaurant.
As far as the food....I hate coleslaw and this stuff is amazing!! Wow! I'd easily eat plates of this again! Wish I was given more with my meal, but the side sizing is perfect.
The fries were also very good! Nice and crispy and very well seasoned. I dipped them in the side of "classic" sauce that I was given and WOW that sauce is exactly what you think of in regards to "Kansas City" BBQ sauce! Nice and smoked and sweet! I could drink down bottles of that stuff!
Now for the "burnt ends" sandwich. So it's not actually burnt ends that I got on this sandwich. It's just brisket with some bark on it, which is literally just normal brisket. Calling this burnt ends is not accurate and actually really disappointed me when it came to the table. It's a fancy name for a brisket sandwich. Interestingly enough, they also have a brisket sandwich. Not sure what the difference is, but I can't imagine it's a big difference at all; maybe just thicker slices or something of that sort? Moving forward, the toasted bun was great and kept the sandwich from falling apart. An untoasted bun would have been a complete disaster due to the sauce component. Good call on toasting this bread! The brisket was really, really good though! You probably weren't expecting that; just like I wasn't. I'd go back for that sandwich. It was delicious, especially with the sauce.
Overall, this was not the mind-blowing experience that I was promised by the locals. However, it was really good BBQ. In fact, the food is excellent! I definitely recommend it, but try to go in here with an open mind. Expect KC style BBQ, but don't over do it. You don't want to have exaggerated expectations like I did, and then be bummed out. That's my best advice.
This review was not requested by the restaurant. Daniel Lubin has not received any financial compensation for writing this review. All food was purchased by Daniel Lubin. Daniel Lubin paid for all travel expenses in order to eat at this restaurant.