Part of a day in KC MO

I had the great pleasure of visiting the WWI Memorial and museum today.

Don’t miss this museum.

It is one of the best of it’s kind I have ever seen.

The some KC BBQ!

Then a quick stop at a cigar store.

And the Cathedral.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. robtbrown says:

    Which BarBQ?

  2. An American Mother says:

    I haven’t seen the KC WWI museum, but I think the Imperial War Museum in London would give it a run for its money.

    They have a mockup of a WWI trench that you can actually walk through. And of course it’s not limited to WWI. You can also sit in a Spitfire or a Matilda tank, view Chamberlain’s “piece of paper”, and so forth.

    My grandfather was a WWI vet. Barely. Never saw combat because the Armistice was signed while he was on the troopship on the way ‘over there’. They turned around and came back, much to everybody’s relief.

    My grandmother wound up being the combat vet. She was a bacteriologist at the Medical College of Georgia (Augusta) during the ’18 flu pandemic. They were dying faster there than at Bloody Belleau Wood. In later life, she was fanatic about sanitation and germs, and we kids almost washed the skin off our hands at their house. But now that I’m older I understand perfectly.

  3. ejcmartin says:

    Looks like a great museum. Why is it in KC?
    I lost two Great Uncles in the Great War, fortunately my Grandfather survived.

    Almost four years ago I, along with 150 other Canadians, was selected from over 6,000 applicants to take part in the filming of a documentary on the Great War. We lived in camp, filmed battle scenes and even spent a night in the trenches. An experience of a lifetime.

    I have always been fascinated the geopolitcs, strategy, tactics etc. with the Great War.

  4. Jack007 says:

    Don’t waste your time with Gate’s BBQ. All hype.

    For those visiting KC, the only BBQ worth your time are Arthur Bryant’s old location, and Rosedale. There are several smaller joints that are decent.

    I’ve never understood why they can’t make good BBQ in other parts of the country? Its not exactly rocket science…although the locals here treat it that way! :-)

    Jack in KC

  5. Mike Morrow says:

    I wonder how many visitors the World War I memorial gets. World War I hasn’t the glamor of World War II.

    What military battle in *all* US history caused the highest battlefield casualties? (Hint: It didn’t happen in WWII, or even during the so-called Civil War.)

    That battle was the Meuse-Argonne (September 26 to November 11, 1918). These six weeks produced 26,277 American deaths and wounded another 95,786. The Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery at Romagne, France, is the largest American cemetery in Europe with 14,246 graves. Sadly, it is said to receive relatively few American visitors.

    My Catholic grandfather fought in five major campaigns in France in 1918, including the Meuse-Argonne.

    Few take notice of these men today. It’s a dishonorable shame when the sacrifices of brave men are so completely forgotten by their countrymen.

  6. david andrew says:

    Oh, Father. The life you lead! BBQ, cigar stores, historical museums, important churches. . . I’ve tried on occasion to emulate your style of doing things. You are truly unique in creation and a blessing to all!

    You said in another thread you keep this going because of so many of us (I hope I can be counted among them, although I am a humble and lowly sacred musician) who do what we do. But know that you keep US going because of all YOU do!

  7. LarryPGH says:

    Yes, Father Z, which barbeque place did you visit?

    (Unlike Jack, Gates was my favorite while I was working in KC, a number of years back. Don’t know where Bryant’s “original location” is, but I wasn’t impressed by the one that I went to.)

    And, btw, there *is* good BBQ elsewhere in the country, but I think that it’s just that KC is well-known, historically, for having it — and having a particular style!

  8. Jack007 says:

    “And, btw, there is good BBQ elsewhere in the country”

    Do tell, where?

    Many people would love to know… :-)

    Well, there’s no accounting for taste. :-)

    Jack in KC
    BTW, Arthur Bryant’s is down at 18th & Brooklyn. Their newer, “suburban” locations leave much to be desired, much like the suburbs themselves.

  9. An American Mother says:

    Mike, ejc:

    My undergraduate major was history, with a specialty in military history, so of course I’m aware of the price that was paid in the Great War – or the War to End War – or the Prelude to World War II . . . .

    But what really brought it home to me was when we were in Scotland, and happened to pass through the little town (really more of a village) of Aberfeldy (as in Robert Burns’s song “The Birks of Aberfeldy”).

    On the path leading up to the famous birch wood stands the war memorial. The face is completely covered with the names of the men who gave their lives in the Great War . . . and down at the bottom in two little panels are the handful who gave their lives in World War II. There were not that many left to give.

    – from

    Or as I read somewhere, “I knew that all Mum’s boyfriends but Dad had been killed in the Great War, and all Auntie’s . . . but I didn’t really understand what that meant until I saw the graves at Passchendaele . . . . “

  10. chironomo says:

    When I was a little kid, my Mom and Dad used to take me to a BBQ place caled “The Levee” somewhere in KC (we lived in Prairie Village). There was an amazing old “One Man Band” performer named Virgil Hill who played there. This was in the early 70’s. I moved away when I was in 7th grade….

  11. Dr. Eric says:

    I love Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue! Was that what you ate?

  12. Craig says:

    Gates has the best burnt ends, hands down. Bryant’s original is one of the best (and the oldest). Rosedale is ok with their sausage, but lately the brisket has been pretty flat. Smokin’ Joe’s has a great sauce, and their beans, oh yeah. I have been addicted to Gates burnt ends for years, they are my special occasion treat (imagine eating them regularly, I am already round enough).

    Too bad we did not have a blognic, I had some bread dough ready for baking for the Squirrel and you.

  13. AMDG-IHS says:

    Fr. Z,

    What did you smoke at the Cigar shop?

  14. ejcmartin says:

    In Newfoundland where I live it is the “Great War” that has all the mystique not WWII. At the time of the war Newfoundland was a separate country. On July 1, 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme the Newfoundland Regiment went “over the top” in the third wave. Within 30 minutes 710 officers and ordinary ranks were either killed, wounded, or missing. For the Regimental rollcall the next morning only 68 men answered the call. Newfoundland was, and still is, a sparsely populated. The first day of the Somme, or Beaumont-Hamel touched almost every town and village in the country. July 1st is still Memorial Day in Newfoundland.

  15. Orthopraxy says:

    That is for sure a Jack Stack’s BBQ plate. I live in KC and this is one of the classiest and best tasting BBQ places in the area.

  16. MikeM says:

    Fr. Z,

    History museums, BBQ places, cigar shops and Cathedrals!!

    No wonder I read this blog!

  17. robtbrown says:

    IMHO, Fiorella’s rules. The Baked Beans are without equal, also their Poor Russ (Mixed) Burnt Ends. And had some ribs from Oklahoma Joe’s (now THE Johnson County Bar B Q) a few days after Christmas, and they were excellent.

    Agree about Gates, but the sauce is superb.

    I lived in KC from 81-86 and used to go to Bryant’s every month. After he died, however, I think the quality went down.

  18. An American Mother says:


    Canada contributed all out of proportion to her manpower, especially the Scots-Canadians in the Atlantic provinces. Kudos.

    By the way, I have three of the Lesser St. John’s Dogs — or at least their lineal descendants. Good dogs too.

  19. An American Mother says:

    And the pipe tune “The Battle of the Somme” is one of the prettiest and most plaintive airs ever composed.

    Always felt a little frivolous dancing the Scottish Lilt to it in competition, given its history.

  20. Dave N. says:

    Looks like a great museum. Why is it in KC?

    Because Kansas City already had one of the few significant existing WWI memorials in the US. (This is the obelisk-type thing in Fr. Z’s pics–aka the Liberty Memorial.) It was dedicated around the mid 1920s with the US President (Coolidge?), Gen. Pershing and Marshal Foch all in attendance. What was once know as the Great War is now probably the forgotten war for most Americans–living as we do in the shadow of events of WWII.

    Also of interest in Kansas City is the Arabia Steamboat Museum:

    I’ve never been to anything like it.

  21. Jack007 says:


    Virgil Hill was a childhood mentor of mine. He would allow me, then a ten year old trumpet player, to sit in with him. He was quite the character, with his collection of instruments. He played some better than others; his real instrument was the sax.

    He broke the color barrier in quite a few KC clubs; paving the way for many black musicians that followed.

    Thanks for the blast from the past!

    Jack in KC

  22. chironomo says:


    He was quite old by the time I met him…the last place I remember seeing him was at a pizza house called “Zeppy’s”….don’t know exactly where it was because I was a kid and didn’t drive yet. I liked that he used a pianola (player piano) to accompany himself, and would then play the drums with his feet and then solo on sax, trumpet or whatever. Kinda a “low tech” version of the guy that plays in the Mall with a midi-setup. It was extremely entertaining. He loved to talk to kids and show them the instruments, and yes, he had a lot of them!

  23. An American Mother says:

    Dave, Smithsonian magazine had an article about the recovery of the Arabia when they were first taking the artifacts out of the ground. It looks like they’ve done a great job putting the museum together.

    We do have a false idea of the sights of that era because of the old black and white photography. The actual colors of the time seem garish to us (mostly because coal tar dyes had just been discovered, but also because we haven’t seen them, or only see them faded and yellowed in Gramma’s breakfront drawer).

  24. irishgirl says:

    Speaking of Canada and World War I: when I visited a priest friend in Quebec City in 1994, he told me that one of his grandfathers participated in anti-British riots because the French-Canadians thought it was none of their business to get involved in “England’s War’.

    But then, if the French-Canadians didn’t fight in France, we wouldn’t have heard of Georges Vanier, the first French-speaking Governor-General of Canada and now a candidate for Sainthood! He was a decorated hero of World War I-he lost a leg in the process!

    I didn’t even know there was a major World War I memorial in the US, Fr. Z-you get to visit such fascinating places!

  25. Dave N. says:

    American Mother,

    The museum is outstanding, as is the story of those intrepid and persistent enough to think there was a actually steamship buried in what eventually became a corn field. As I recall there is an interesting video about it on the website.

  26. irishgirl: My host while I was there really knows the city well. That is a great advantage!

  27. An American Mother says:


    I had exactly two archaeology courses in college, but the whole idea of digging up the past is fascinating to me. It’s wonderful to see things that lay untouched and perfectly preserved for years.

  28. robtbrown says:

    More Bryant stories:

    When AB was alive, he used to buy a new Cadillac every year and give the old one to Richard, who cooked during the night. One night Richard got into the beer, fell asleep, and his boots caught on fire. Someone else got the Caddy that year.

    The key to Bryant’s fries was that after the brisket had been smoked, the fat would be trimmed and thrown into the fryer, giving the fries their unique smoky flavor.

    When the one of the Presidents (I think it was Carter) was in town, his staff called up Bryant’s to ask that some of his Bar B Q be delivered. AB replied that he didn’t cater–bring him down. They did.

    Once there was a very Waspish couple in front of me in line. Their son (probably a student) had enthusiastically brought them there. Bryant’s is anything but fancy, and I could tell that the mother did not share her son’s enthusiasm. Between them and me was a drunk guy. Anyway, the couple approached the windows, where each customer takes a plastic plate, all of which looked as if they had long outlived their use. The mother picked up one, then another, than another. Finally, the drunk guy said, “Ain’t no use lookin’ ’cause ain’t none of ’em clean.”

    It was necessary to step carefully at the cash register because the floor there always seemed slick from the grease.

    AB, who died in 82 at the age of 80, was a college grad. He intentionally kept the prices down as a tribute to his clientele. I once saw an interview with him where it was mentioned that he was a very successful businessman. His answer had nothing to do with money. He said, “You see all those people out there eating. They’re my friends–that’s why I’m a successful businessman.

    When Arthur Bryant died, there was an article of him in the London Times (reprinted in the KC Star).

  29. robtbrown says:

    Another Bar B Q story, though not from Bryant’s.

    During college a group of us decided to drive home after midnight to get a BBQ sandwich or chili mac at a place in our hometown. It was about 2:00 am when we arrived. There was a big black guy making sandwiches, and he told us that white people can’t make good BBQ sauce because they don’t sweat enough.

  30. irishgirl says:

    Father Z-yes, it does help to know someone who knows where all the good spots are!

  31. An American Mother says:


    When you’re talking about a BBQ joint, you just can’t be finicky. As my grandmother used to say, “Honey, everybody’s got to eat their peck of dirt before they die.”

    Our local joint is Harold’s – always crammed full at lunchtime with cops, truckdrivers and government types. Harold was a local character (maybe that’s a job qualification for running a BBQ joint?) and his family has continued to run the place in the same old way (probably including the shotgun under the counter, but nobody knows for sure).

  32. John 6:54 says:

    I’ll take Gates over Bryants any day of the week. Way better sause at Gates IMHO, but Bryants probably does have better meat. Bryant’s sause way to vinigary. But Oklahoma Joe’s or LC’s over both Gates & Bryants.

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