Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Freshman burger phenom.

The very day we were trying to figure out a spot for Guys’ Night in April, I found a menu for Baylee’s in my mailbox. Printed on lime green paper with extensive use of a scripty pixilated mystery font, how could we resist its charms? Plus, the menu promised Cincinnati Chili. Sold.

We put Guys’ Night on the calendar for the evening of the NCAA 2009 Men’s Tournament championship game, so we could mourn our busted brackets over some cheap beers. Even though domestics were on special for $2, pitchers turned out to be a better deal -- and they had the kind of pitcher that has the built-in icy core, too. Pitcher technology has come a long way since I had a fake ID.

Baylee’s is so new, the sign says "Est. 2009." When we walked through the door, the waitress seemed genuinely surprised to see us -- in fact, we were the only paying customers all night. I’m guessing that’s mostly because the place just opened. The waitress told us Baylee’s gets pretty busy on the weekends.

The Monday food special is 50 cent wings, and we ordered a bunch of those. McHugh made a clutch call and also ordered some pepper jack fried cheese sticks, which were spicy, melty fantastic. Alas, the wings were fine, but indistinguishable from those elsewhere.

Dorsett hadn’t read the description of the fried cheese on the menu, so we were all impressed when he took a bite of the crunchy breadcrumb coating and asked, “Is that Panko?” For his keen observation, Dorsett is hereby nominated for Iron Chef Bar Food.

For the Cincinnati Chili, we ordered it 5 Way, which is chili, angel hair, grated cheese, onion and pinto beans. When we got it, we saw that Baylee’s actually uses spaghetti -- only after some online sleuthing did I learn this is the traditional way to make Cincinnati Chili.

While it had a good cinnamon-nony taste, and even though I really wanted to be a fan of the Cincinnati Chili, ultimately I can’t say that I am. What it comes down to is that there isn’t enough thickness and meat to the chili portion. And yes, I understand that Cincinnati Chili is supposed to have a thin consistency, but this was more like spaghetti soup.

I will concede that the problem may not be Baylee’s take on Cincinnati Chili -- it is completely within the realm of possibility that I have fundamental issues with Cincinnati Chili overall. Maybe I’m just a rookie. Maybe a true connoisseur would dig the Cincinnati Chili at Baylee’s. Maybe to try Cincinnati Chili proper I actually need to go to Cincinnati.

The Baylee Burger, however, was a slam dunk. According to the menu, it’s hand pattied thin and cooked on a flat top. The burger came on a grilled bun with super-fresh toppings, and when we put it all together it was total burger harmony. Probably the closest I’ve come to Whataburger around here, which I mean as a compliment. Really good fries, too. Kind of a combination of the fries at Oklahoma Joe’s and Long John Silvers. Yes, that is a compliment as well.

For the burger alone, I’ll cut Baylee’s some slack and plan on checking it out again in a couple of months to see what the bar is like after it’s been lived in a little. I mean, compared to some other places, there are barely even any neon beer signs or other paraphernalia cluttering up the walls here yet, which kind of gives Baylee’s a strange vibe that’s more like a showroom where you can go and pick out fixtures for your bar rather than a bar itself.

As for the game, due to being mathematically eliminated from all my March Madness pools, I was pulling for Michigan State since they beat KU and if we’re going to get knocked out of the tournament, we might as well get knocked out by the best, right? I like the way Wendy Molyneux sums up that line of thinking -- “Like getting punched in the face and being like, ‘But that guy punches everyone in the face! It's okay!’”

March Madness 2009 has been over for a week. Only 333 days until Selection Sunday for March Madness 2010.
13023 Holmes Road | Kansas City, MO 64145


  1. I was born in Cincinnati and still don't get the chili. Apparently there is a specific way that locals order it, but I have yet to be convinced.

  2. In california we called in spaghetti red... I've also seen a small restaurant in Joplin (Fred & Reds) that is dedicated to spaghetti red. I will occasionally make a batch myself, but haven't tried Baylee's (or Fred & Reds for that matter). I recommend Baylee's for great live music... I've been going in for the last few Saturday's and been treated to some great acoustic sets from local artist Christian Franklin and Mama Ray brought in Shannon and the Rhythm King Band last Saturday for some great blues featuring mostly original music. Baylee's has a website now and before too long they'll be posting upcoming bands (