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By Jenny Vergara

Each of us has a dish that we gravitate toward to bring us comfort. 

Often these dishes are tied to childhood memories or people, or maybe all it takes for you is just a decadent splurge of cheese and calories to make what might be wrong in your world, right again.

So, the next time you find yourself craving a comforting dish, check out these places doing the best versions of some of our favorite food hugs.

Macaroni and Cheese


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The ultimate pasta and cheese comfort food treat, and favorite childhood staple, can be found in new and creative adult forms at The Westside Local. Made with house smoked gouda and parmesan cheese, the eatery’s take includes cavatapi pasta topped with bread crumbs and can beefed up with Brussels sprouts and red pepper, Korean pork belly, salmon or chicken.

McCoy’s Public House in Westport has had mac n’ cheese as a staple on their menu since 1997. Try the Mac Diablo, which has a south-of-the-border twist with hand-cranked chorizo sausage, jalapeño sofrito, caramelized onion and tomato, all with a tortilla-cornbread crust.  

Meatloaf


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Mom’s meatloaf can come in many delicious and meaty forms. At lunch, you have to try the Blackened Meatloaf sandwich at West Bottoms Kitchen, which comes with smoked tomato jam, arugula and remoulade sauce on brioche bread.

At dinner, try the Meatloaf Meal from Anna’s Oven located on 39th Street West. Their meatloaf is made with a savory blend of beef and Italian sausage mixed with herbs and spices, then served with vegetables and mashed potatoes with gravy.

Pizza


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To feed your teenage cravings for a rich, meaty and cheesy tomato sauce-topped pie, you have several options depending on the type of pizza you are craving. For true Neapolitan Italian pie, head to Pizza Bella or Il Lazzarone.

For New York-style foldable slices, try Providence Pizza or Johnny Jo’s. For traditional thin crust pizza, call Minsky’s or Old Shawnee Pizza

Burgers


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The hardcore craving for a juicy cheeseburger is hard to shake, especially when it comes with another comfort food favorite, a side of French fries. Town Topic has been serving excellent late night cheeseburgers on Broadway 24-hours a day for almost 80 years.

For thicker burgers with creative toppings and a solid beer menu, check out Burg & Barrel in Overland Park. In the Crossroads for lunch, don’t miss Howard’s Grocery, Café and Catering’s Griddled Burger made with house made American cheese, pea shoots, pickled veggies and burger sauce on a potato bun. 

Soup


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The merits of soup has been embedded in our collective psyches from a young age. It’s something we instinctively trust to heal us whole. The Matzo Ball soup from Todd Schulte and Tracy Zinn’s Westside deli, Speak Sandwiches, serves this traditional Jewish specialty with a whisper of dill that makes this bowl a worthy choice.

The Summit Grill & Bar in Waldo has a French Onion Soup that combines our love of bread and gooey cheese with the richness of onions. 

Fried Chicken

The desire for fried chicken that is hot and tender can take people on a nostalgic journey. Enjoy the crispy fried chicken from Westport Café & Bar on the brunch menu, featuring bird on brioche French toast and topped with sausage gravy and maple syrup.

Rye and Stroud’s both serve a delicious and more traditional version of a fried chicken dinner that keep people clamoring for more. 

Grilled Cheese

The best grilled cheese sandwiches have crispy, buttery bread and several gooey cheeses. Turn to Beer Kitchen's Triple Cheese for Tillamook-aged cheddar, chipotle white cheddar, provolone, avocado and oven-dried tomato on Romano-encrusted sourdough bread.

Barbecue


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You cannot talk about comfort food in Kansas City and not mention barbecue. The sandwich that you will bring you back to life is Joe’s of Kansas City Bar-B-Que‘s Z-Man sandwich made with smoked beef brisket, smoked provolone cheese, and an onion ring on a Kaiser bun from. Or, enjoy the beefy Kansas City classic, burnt ends, from Q39.

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