We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Very Good BBQ”
Review of Gates Bar-B-Q

Gates Bar-B-Q
Ranked #63 of 1,421 Restaurants in Kansas City
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Barbecue
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Kitchener, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Very Good BBQ”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Visiting from Canada so I don't pretend to be a BBQ expert. However our lunch was very enjoyable. Shared a large mixed plate of ribs, brisket and ham, potatoes and bread. Three sauces available.
Meaty ribs and very tender brisket. Very friendly staff and excellent customer service.
Would certainly return if in KC.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank KMHonest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

288 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
North Port, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Best BBQ I've Ever Had, Returned a Second Time in the Same Trip”
Reviewed July 25, 2013

This is the way it should be done--a slow-smoked slab of ribs that tenderizes and imbues the meat with an unbelievably mouthwatering flavor.

I lived in KC for about 5 years in the early 1990s and never made it here at that time but always heard that it was the place to visit. We were in KC on vacation this year, and since we had a long talk about going to the restaurants we couldn't find anywhere else during our two weeks in the area (fyi, eating is one of the main past times in Kansas City), my husband said that we HAD to go to Gates & Sons on 12th & Brooklyn (especially pertinent since the one other excellent restaurant we had planned to visit, the Northland Pizza Factory, closed in September 2012--a real shame as that was the best pizza I ever had in my life).

You enter and stand in line cafeteria-style, ordering from the line instead of waiting until you get up to the register because by the time you get to the register to pay, your food is already done. We got a slab of ribs both times, plus drinks, and no sides or desserts because we didn't have room for anything else after splitting a slab of ribs between two of us.

Both times we went for lunch, the first time the restaurant was getting crowded with people coming from work for lunch, and the second time (a Monday at 11:00 am) the place had just opened and the work crowd hadn't arrived yet. Everyone there was very, very nice and polite--not only the staff but the other customers. People held the door open for you, they smiled and were friendly, said "please" and "thank you", and people were happy to be there. After my last two reviews about how rude the fellow guests were at the hotels we stayed at in Liberty, this seemed like an oasis of good manners and considerate behavior compared to all that other nastiness.

The ribs were out of this world. We ate them like we hadn't eaten in a week, just gnawing at every bite, scraping the bones clean with our teeth, stopping for a second or two for a sip of water before grabbing the next rib on the plate--no mealside chatter, no polite nibbling but taking hedonistic delight in eating real food made right. We had original sauce, which I've had before on other things since friends and family bought the sauce for use at home (available at local supermarkets), and although I'm not typically a fan of the spicy kind of BBQ sauce*, it complemented the ribs in a way I had never noticed when using it as a condiment on people's home cooking (*fyi, in Kansas City, the locals prefer spicy BBQ sauce, versus the sweet, sticky sauce that people from the east coast of the U.S. prefer--so KC Masterpiece down in Overland Park is NOT truly a Kansas City original compared to places like Gates or their main rival, Arthur Bryant).

The ribs come with sour pickle slices (the vinegar in the pickles helps with digestion of all that protein), and slices of white bread to mop up the rib juices and sauce left on the bottom of the plate. All we left on our plate was a pile of bones, nothing else survived.

The decor is cheerful but nothing fancy, booths and tables, and ceiling fans linked together running by pulleys. On our first trip one of the restaurant workers came by to make sure we had everything we needed and took the time to chat with us about our meal, how we couldn't find real BBQ like this where we live in Florida, and had a really easy, friendly, welcoming conversation with us. These were the nicest people we met on our trip and between that and the excellence of the food, decided to come back one more time right before catching our plane back home.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank FlaNat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Kansas
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2013

I had always heard about Gates BBQ and during a weekend trip to KC I put it down as a must do. Unfortunately we had went to Jack Stack and Oklahoma Joe's first and of the 3 Gates by far came in 3rd. The sauce they used on the meat was much to much like a spaghetti sauce (too tomatoey). The ribs were full of fat and grissle and I didn't enjoy it. It was very busy and I felt extremely rushed to order (you order at the counter and not your table). Also, of the three BBQ joints we visited Gates was the most over priced. I was hoping for better. Sorry.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank reppinJC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Keeps me coming back!”
Reviewed July 2, 2013

Everytime I visit Kansas City I have to stop at Gates FIRST! The staff is always friendly, the prices are reasonable and the atmostphere is great.
I haven't tried everything on the menu yet, but I'm approaching. Beef on Bun is my dish of choice :)

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank MrsKing2U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
106 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“First BBQ in KC”
Reviewed June 30, 2013

I really liked the atmosphere and the burnt end meat itself. I did not like the bun. The bun falls apart and is just not a good bread. I liked the pickles, they are different from Arthur Bryants. In my taste test between this place and Bryants I liked the burnt ends better here. The beans are expensive and average. The meal was more expensive than Bryants. I would eat here again but probably overall liked A.B. better.

Visited June 2013
Thank MichiganTrevor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Gates Bar-B-Q also viewed

Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, KS

Been to Gates Bar-B-Q? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing