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. We're strolling down the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail, formerly the site of Kansas City's historic streetcar line and now a popular path for walking and biking through the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods.
Stop 1: Café Europa
Dessert beckons when you walk in to Café Europa. Cookies and cakes fill the pastry case that sits at the end of the bar where folks are sipping on coffee or rosé, depending on the time of day.
The adjacent dining room is a bright affair filled with light, warm wood and plenty of sunshine from the wall of windows that face 55th Street. The menu at the Crestwood restaurant is a seasonal fare, a rotating cast of vegetables that find their way into sandwiches, soups and salads. You’ll see plenty of cheeseburgers come out of the kitchen and with good reason. The juicy two-handers are started on the grill and finished in the wood oven, giving them a lovely crust on the outside and an interior that will have you briefly closing your eyes and savoring the moment. Vegetarians, and even carnivores, will gravitate toward the green salad – a nice mix of creamy avocado, crunchy broccoli and edamame, and a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
Since you’ve been patient, it’s on to dessert. And here is where you say, “I’ll have a lemon cake, please.” You’ll soon be served a deft mix of citrus and sweetness, a slice that’s best shared even if all you want to do is eat every forkful yourself.
Café Europa | 323 East 55th Street, KCMO | cafeeuropakc.com
Stop 2: Betty Rae's Ice Cream
Just a quick bike ride or walk up the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail is Betty Rae’s Ice Cream. You’ve burned a few calories, so it’s time for second dessert. The Waldo scoop shop opened in 2016 and the line has pretty much been out the door since.
The pull is the adventurous and rotating cast of ice cream flavors. Betty Rae’s has experimented with everything from barbecue to goat cheese and apricot. Co-owner David Friesen even modified his ice cream case to fit 27 flavors, instead of the standard 24, to allow for more room to dream up ideas.
Your first stop is the menu board where you can discover what’s new alongside the standard cast: plum and dark chocolate, s’mores, The King (banana and honey with peanut butter chips) and dairy-free chocolate. After that, it’s just a question of how far you want to push your taste buds.
Ice cream can be dropped inside a house waffle cone or cup (sundaes are a delightful mashup of syrups and toppings) or into a glass of San Pellegrino soda, Thou Mayest cold brew coffee or a beer. The shop also makes boozy shakes and ice cream sandwiches with house baked brownies or cookies (keep an eye peeled for the matcha green tea cookie with strawberry ice cream.)
So sit down with a coloring page – it’s an all ages coloring party at Betty Rae’s – and think of the next flavor they should make. Sweet, savory or even spicy, odds are they’re adventurous enough to try it.
Betty Rae's Ice Cream | 7140 Wornall Road, KCMO | bettyraes.com
Stop 3: Bier Station
Bier Station is only a few blocks on the other side of the trail, and there’s a cold beer waiting for you. Kansas City’s first bottle shop and craft beer bar debuted in 2012. Whether you’re new to the world of ales and lagers or a brew connoisseur, this is a beer playground. The décor takes its cue from European beer halls with dark wood communal tables and an homage to Marienplatz station, a train stop in Munich, Germany, behind the bar.
You can either order from more than 20 taps – Bier Station offers short and full pours, as well as flights of beer – or pick out a bottle or can from the refrigerated case that lines one wall. If it feels like too many choices, the beertenders are great guides and will let you sample a sip to find your happy place. For those who don’t drink alcohol, there’s Polly’s Pop and kombucha.
Take your drink out to the patio and snag a seat if one’s available in the sunshine. Still hungry? Bier Station has pretzels, hand-cut fries and wings with Stout barbecue sauce (see the beertenders for recommended beer pairings.)
At the end of the night is where Bier Station shines. As a bottle shop, you can purchase beer to go. That means you never have to leave a newfound love behind.
Bier Station | 120 East Gregory Boulevard, KCMO | bierstation.com