Three Stop Hop: Downtown Overland Park

October 3, 2017

Three Stop Hop is a series from Recommended Daily and Visit KC that lets you experience a neighborhood or corner of the city in three unique stops. For this outing, we head across the state line to visit Overland Park, KS.

Overland Park Farmers’ Market

Riffs from a Jazz guitar spill down the Clock Tower patio steps to mingle with the happy buzz of conversation in the open air Overland Park Farmers’ Market. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, more than 70 vendors line both edges of the long green hall with a kaleidoscope of sun-kissed fruits and vegetables that should have crayons named after them. If you catch the breeze right, downtown Overland Park smells like flowers and sounds like a Jazz band.

This is how to shop for dinner or even a snack. Correction: dinner and a snack. You can snag pickles and cheese and honey and fresh pasta from farms in Missouri and Kansas. Better yet, get recipe suggestions from farmers, who are as eager to tell you about their neighbor’s bounty as their own. There are bags of local walnuts or cookies – after all, you will be walking at least a city block – as you make your way toward Marty Street. As your bag fills, take a moment for an impromptu wine tasting or snag a hand-stuffed, seasonal sausage from The Weiner Wagon.

Overland Park Farmers Market Couple

Brew Lab

A shopper can work up an appetite after a few samples of vegan cheese or hot peppers and, thankfully, Brew Lab is directly across the street from the market. The beer dreamland, which debuted in its new space in the fall of 2017, has a ring of stainless steel equipment around the dining room. It’s where you can craft your own unique beer recipe from the ingredients stocked in the shop to the right of the front door.

The main space is open with light wood tables and an orange and blue mosaic tile behind the bar that will have asking about what’s on tap as soon as you walk in. Brew Lab not only lets you make beer, they house their own brewery. Dream big. Someday your recipe could get scaled up and appear on their taps.

Vegetarians and carnivores can unite under this beer tent because of modern comfort food like meatloaf sliders with a custom blend of McGonigle’s beef topped with crispy onion straws or lightly-fried cauliflower that has been liberally doused with Buffalo sauce. There’s also the Lab Burger: a half-pound juicy beauty that requires napkins at the ready and should be topped with the optional fried egg. Save a little room because dessert is worth a short walk.

Overland Park Brew Lab.

The Upper Crust Pie Bakery

Pop back through the market and pick up what you forgot to grab on the way over to The Upper Crust Pie Bakery, just steps away from the Clock Tower patio. Inside and outside the pretty little pie shop, everything is clean white and gingham, like a graphic designer got ahold of the County Fair. Mason jars on the wall and the door handle is a rolling pin.

Upper Crust actually began with sisters and co-owners Jan Knobel and Elaine VanBuskirk selling pies at the farmers’ market. And pie is still their calling card. There are cutie pies (individual, adorable circles), pocket pies (half-moons), egg pies (quiche), slices of pie, and whole pies. The apple pie features nutmeg instead of cinnamon thanks to their grandmother’s recipe and the chocolate chess pie is a brownie/pudding mash-up. Don’t miss the burnt sugar frosted banana cookie: a rich, buttery cousin to banana bread.

Upper Crust recently added champagne and wine by the glass for those who understand that pie and a bit of rosé are why we became adults. So, sip, dip your fork into a slice of meringue pie, and work up plans for the meal you’ll make with the bounty you’re taking home from the market.

Upper Crust couple

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender (@jonathanbender) is a food content editor at KCPT. Founder of Recommended Daily. Author of Cookies & Beer, Stock, Broth & Bowl, and LEGO: A Love Story.