Three Stop Hop: Lee's Summit
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. Today we're taking a trip through Downtown Lee's Summit, where dinner, dessert and drinks await your arrival just a few scenic blocks from each other. Feel free to linger before you stroll onto the next stop.
Stop 1: Third Street Social
The classics get a little twist at Third Street Social. Case in point: a gleaming copper bar is where you might be handed a cilantro jalapeno margarita and smoked, charred Buffalo wings that will make you understand why Kansas Citians love barbecue.
In 2016, owner Andy Lock and chef Domhnall Molloy transformed Arnold Hall, a storied Lee's Summit structure built in 1946, into a smartly appointed dining room. Here, diners can still wear jeans and look over a menu with Asian (Korean hot wings marinated in gojuchang,) Southern (fried chicken and cheddar-bacon waffles,) and Mexican (tacos al pastor) influences.
Long grey banquets sit beneath circular pendant lights. A soaring barrel ceiling with exposed metal girders and latticed woodwork makes the space feel welcoming. You’ll want to linger here. Since you’ve got time, you can try and tackle the Animal Burger, a many-napkin, double cheeseburger. If you don’t need meat Everest, the Korean Steak and Noodle Salad has a lovely blend of texture and spice thanks to ramen, daikon slaw and a roasted sesame dressing.
President Harry Truman figures prominently into the past and current space. The building is where he announced his first run for public office as a county judge. Pictures and stories of Truman hang on the exposed brick walls. Toast to his legacy with the Truman Old Fashioned, a bourbon cocktail with house brandied cherries.
Third Street Social | 123 S.E. 3rd St., Lee's Summit | thirdstreetsocial.com
Stop 2: Poppy's Ice Cream & Coffee House
Just a short stroll down 3rd Street is an ice cream spot that hearkens back to when a scoop shop downtown wasn’t a novelty. But Poppy’s Ice Cream & Coffee House, which dates back to 1997, is no novelty. They scoop what they make in house, everything from cassis lime sorbet to cinnamon whiskey to bubble gum ice cream. Keep an eye out for burnt sugar and toasted marshmallow, popular flavors that pop up now and again on the chalk menu. There’s joy to be found in the inventive ways that owner Teresa Poppinga and her staff find to serve you Mexican chocolate and Vegan golden milk (made with turmeric and a coconut base) ice cream.
You can top salted butter popcorn with butter toffee peanuts or sneak a chocolate from Chip’s Chocolate Factory inside a cup of Cornflake crunch. For a pick-me-up, opt for an affogato made with Broadway Cafe’s espresso and a scoop of Gianduja—Poppy’s signature chocolate hazelnut flavor. You can also get an overstuffed cookie sandwich (or one made with a classic, thin chocolate wafer.) Stuff Grapenuts with Honey or S’mores ice cream into a chocolate-dipped, sprinkle covered house waffle cone. If you’re celebrating (or simply ambitious,) a banana split with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream is an unintentional food challenge. Or you can snag a seat inside or on the patio chairs and try to crack the mystery flavor of Blue Moon, which some think tastes like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Fruit Loops.
Poppy's Ice Cream & Coffee House | 307 S.E. Douglas St., Lee's Summit | poppysicecream.com
Stop 3: The W
A hop away over the railroad tracks is a door that you might miss if you’re not looking. Keep your eyes peeled for a 6½, and then head up a narrow staircase and into a cocktail haven. The dark wood, exposed brick arches, and an Edison bulb chandelier over the hand-hammered, copper-topped bar will draw you forward. This is the W—an upstairs speakeasy—where they love when you go off menu.
Most cocktails start with a conversation and end in smoke. The Smoked Vanilla is a showstopper made with house burnt sugar, bitters and two-and-a-half ounces of bourbon. When the W opened in 2015, they added smoke to cocktails with barbecue wood and an iron skillet. Today, they use an invention of their own creation. “The Smoker,” is four bell jars on top of a neat wooden rectangle, which allows them to cold smoke brandied cherries and infuse cocktails.
If you’re in a gin mood, The Burning Bush is a take on the Bee’s Knee’s with chartreuse, gin and rosemary that is ignited bar-side. Cocktails come with a show from the scratch bar stocked with house syrups, herbs, and an array of bitters. The drinks are served in hand-blown glasses with clear ice squares made by Liquid Minded Commissary in Kansas City. They do sweat the details here. Sip and sit at the bar, sink into low-slung black couches or head out to the intimate patio with your nightcap.
The W | 6½ S.W. 3rd St., Lee's Summit | thew.bar