Parlor KC: A Food Hall Food Haul

The first food hall in Kansas City is a perfect communal gathering space with diverse and delicious food.


by Faith Andrews-O'Neal, Opinion Editor

Parlor KC is a perfect combination of paradise and a nightmare-scape for me. On one hand, it combined all of my favorite parts of Kansas city; camaraderie, great food, and a new experience, as it is the first “food hall” in Kansas City. On the other hand, for someone who is chronically indecisive, and a lover of all foods (excluding solid cheese of course), Parlor KC was like walking into a minefield. It is home to seven (seven!) restaurants, from Korean to Scandinavian, a bar, games like shuffleboard, and ample seating for any group looking for an entertaining and delicious stop on their night out in the Crossroads.

When I approached Parlor KC, it was stood out in its inconspicuous nature as compared to the vibrancy of the Crossroads. The outside of the building is deep red brick, save the logo on the side of the building. Next to the colorful graffiti walls of the crossroads, and the bronze and copper rustic Grinders next door, its minimalist exterior immediately caught my eye. As I went inside, Parlor KC maintained that same vibe. 

The ambiance of Parlor KC was very millennial-chic. The interior was minimalistic, with exposed brick matching the outside, with light wood flooring. Parlor KC was very aware of its young adult crowd, which was made abundantly clear by the indie-pop playing over the speakers, abstract art on the walls by the seating, and a framed portrait of Janelle Monae (unbiasedly Kansas City’s pride and joy) sitting on a shelf at the entrance.

As I discussed the food options with the woman who greeted me as I walked in, it was clear I would not be able to reach all of the restaurants, as I had hoped. Instead, she recommended two places, and I went from there.

My first stop was Providence Pizza. I grabbed a slice of New York Pepperoni. It was my favorite style of pizza: thin crust, a good amount of toppings, and very greasy (so much so that it went through the paper plate the slice arrived on. The wait time was only a couple of minutes, and the pizza was one of the best I’ve ever had. The slice was the size of a dinner plate, full of mini-pepperonis. The toppings worked together with the crust to create, in my humble opinion, the perfect slice of pizza. The cheese was not overwhelming, they weren’t stingy with the pepperonis, and the crust was amazingly crispy. Finishing the slice was no easy feat, but one I gladly took on.

My next stop was Yaki-Ya, which was traditional Japanese food. I ordered the Osaka-Style, which came highly recommended by the greeter in the front of the restaurant, and a Japanese soda called Ramune. The wait time was longer for the pancake than the pizza, but it was a much more intricate The Osaka Style was a savory pancake, filled with cabbage and onion, and topped with drizzled sauces, fish flakes, and pork belly (that I special ordered). It was more of an experience than the pizza, as I had never had anything like it before. I am incredibly picky, and I was unsure I would be able to eat the pancake upon viewing it, but I am glad I did. The different textures came together perfectly in a way that was so full of different textures and tastes, it could have been overwhelming if it weren’t so delicious. The fish flakes moved in the heat, and the smell that arose was very savory and strong. The single pancake was more filling than I expected. I would not recommend attempting to eat at every restaurant in one day, as I was ready to burst after eating from two.

What sets Parlor KC apart from any other eatery is more than its multitude of restaurants; it is an experience. From the community-based seating areas, to the shuffleboard on the upper floors, it is clear that this a space intended to foster community. One can come with friends, have a drink, and enjoy foods spanning the entire world. To reduce Parlor to just an eating space is to disregard the welcoming environment it is clear they have worked to create. Parlor KC is a space to converse, to commune, and to relax.