Thursday, August 28, 2008

Local Options - Down South Grill on Main

I forgot to bring a lunch to work yesterday, and so I headed out at noon to find some carry-out to bring back to the office. Since I work nearby the best dine in/carry out cheap lunch spot in the city (possibly the universe), my car automatically headed toward Pancho's.

On the way there, though, I chided myself for predictability and decided to try something new. A few blocks south of Pancho's, near the intersection of 39th and Main, are two places that begged to be tried. Island Spice Caribbean promises something out of the ordinary, and I had recently noticed the Down South Grill in the space that used to be Antonio's next door to the space that used to be the Grand Emporium. (Yes, I just double-dated myself . . .)

I wound up choosing the Down South Grill for the simple reason that a Johnson County Beemer was tailgaiting me in the right lane of southbound Main, and there was a sweet, legal, unmetered parking spot right out front. Few responses to a tailgaiter are as satisfying as parking in front of him.

So, Down South Grill it was. Like its pizza place predecessor, it consists of a counter and a small bench for waiting. Nothing fancy here at all. The menu is posted on the wall, and consists of a few sandwiches (including a pork chop sandwich), a few "Cajun Po-Boys", wings, a chili dog, and a few basic sides. The combos include fries and a drink, so why not?

I chose the Cajun Chicken Po-Boy combo. For $6.49, I walked out with a styrofoam container jam packed with food, with a little hot sauce and catchup for the fries.

Normally, I tend to gush when I write about food found at a dive location. I would like to do so here, because the people working there were friendly, and only one other person visited during the time I was there. Every dollar that gets spent at a chain restaurant instead of a local operation is a slap in the face for diversity of choice and local flavor.

While I can't honestly gush about my Cajun Chicken Po-Boy sandwich, it was a huge portion of moderately-spicy chicken. The chicken wasn't breaded, which was a nice touch, and the roll was jammed with fresh lettuce, good tomatoes (the likes of which you will never find at a shareholder-owned food outlet), and a tasty mayo-based sauce. The fries were good, not great, and there were plenty of them. For $6.49, I got a reasonably good meal that I could not even finish - and I supported a restaurant owned by local people.

Next time you're thinking of driving through Wendy's, or stopping by Subway, think for a second about whether there isn't a local option. Kitty's burgers are better than Wendy's, and a "Number 1, Spicy" at Bella Napoli may be the best sandwich in Kansas City.

Anybody want to meet me at Island Spice Caribbean Restaurant next Tuesday? Here's the menu - it isn't cheap, but, come on, they have curried goat, and who wants cheap goat?! They might have cow's feet, if we're lucky. They even have a side dish they call "festival" - can you get a side of "festival" at Burger King? Or calaloo?

If we want interesting local options on Kansas City's food scene, we need to vote with our dollars.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, you could have easily taken public transit to 39th and Main from your work place. Bad liberal, bad!

8/28/2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger DLC said...

Kudos on the psot. On my near-daily lunch forays I'm always shocked at the line of cars at the McDonald's & Arby's drive-thrus. I'd go further and urge people to try to eat exclusively at non-chains when they go out. It's not as hard as one would think. There are good options all over the metro.

The Island Spice menu looks pretty darn good to me, but Tuesdays are bad. I'd love to meet you for lunch at some other point.

8/28/2008 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

I'm eager to read your Island Spice restaurant review. I've driven by in hundreds of times and have always wanted to check it out. It's intriguing to say the least, but the location is very odd. It's also odd that I've never met anyone who's eaten there which is usually not the best sign. Let us know how it is...

8/28/2008 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Average Jane said...

I'm willing to meet you there for lunch next Tuesday. What time?

8/28/2008 11:49 AM  
Blogger m.v. said...

I may be able to join in. I had to look up some items, seems like some "pickled" fish is on the menu.

8/28/2008 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it have been more acceptable to tailgate had it been a Jackson County BMW?

8/28/2008 2:40 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

How about 11:45?

As for the JoCo tailgaiter, tailgating is bad, nobody who is doing it except for me, because I only do it when I have a good reason, like I'm crabby or in a hurry.

But the fact that it was being done by a JoCo person makes two strikes. And the fact it was a beemer, the only automobile to have been shown scientifically to be driven by a higher percentage of obnoxious asses than mid-70s Camaros, makes it strike 3.

8/28/2008 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, you could have easily taken public transit to 39th and Main from your work place. Bad liberal, bad!

Dan doesn't do public transportation unless it is a train. See his prior posts. Buses are for the little people.

Oh, Camaro's rock!

8/28/2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Eric - you're right that I could have taken the bus, but I really should have walked.

Anonymous 7:19 - When have I ever claimed that buses are for little people? Why would you say something so utterly wrong?

As for Camaros, the 1968 and 1969 models were fantastic looking cars. After that, they looked stupid. The new concept cars, though, are modeled after the 1969 model, and I'd love to have one.

8/28/2008 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I don't ride the bus
ok, so the "little people" part was added for dramatic effect.

8/28/2008 10:18 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

I'm totally in for next Tuesday. Though I might be a little late if it's at 11:45. Save some cheap goat for me.

Oh and as a rule I've learned cheap goat is good but goat that's too cheap. whoa boy, watch out!

8/28/2008 10:52 PM  
Blogger Venus in the Kitchen said...

Awesome post and I couldn't agree more. Now if you could just get your message out to Overland Park...

8/29/2008 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many good independents in Johnson County. Sorry to see MelBee's go, however.

8/29/2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger TheOtherOne said...

DownSouth Grill SUCKS! The food is nasty and is bland. The people who work there dont wash their hands and look like they were snatched off of 27th and Prospect and given a job. The place is a rip-off....$6.49...who cares, I could've had a v8!

9/23/2008 5:08 PM  
Blogger DLC said...

And that's different from McDonald's how?

9/23/2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/17/2009 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the Big Boy Burger combo at the Down South Grill and it to was great I subed the fries for potato salad and it was good nice spot.I'll go back need to try the philly steak seemed to be a hot sale. no 27th st worker for what I could see the guy washed his hands and hud on gloves was great service. I spent $6.56 for a home cooked burger...

6/04/2009 3:14 PM  

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