barbecue, brisket, kansas city, missouri, mo

Rosedale Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas

Rosedale Barbecue brisket sandwich

Tonight I visited Rosedale Barbecue on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, MO.  Rosedale has been a barbecue staple in Kansas City since 1934.  From their website, “Founded by Anthony Rieke and wife Alda and brother- in-law Anthony “Tony” Sieleman on July 4, 1934, Rosedale Barbecue began as a neighborhood hot dog and beer stand known as “The Bucket Shop.” At The Bucket Shop you could buy a half-gallon bucket full of the coldest beer in town for a quarter. 

Beer had just been made legal for a short time and the Rieke’s and Sieleman believed they could make a few pennies selling beer…but it wasn’t hot dogs that the partners craved. It was barbecue. On the way home each night they could smell “Fatty” Sharp’s smoking meats a half-mile down the road. “…and Fatty and his wife would get to arguing, it was like going to a show,” Rieke said. So the following summer with $183 and some pocket change between them, the partners decided to start a new business about 100 feet from their beer stand. They paid their first months rent, bought a $20 occupation license, and their first 16 gallon keg of beer, nailed some tin siding on a 12 by 16 foot frame, moved in and fired up their first barbecue pit. During their first winter, they added sheets of plywood to the inside walls to help keep the customers warm at the nine-seat counter.

“It was 1935 and there was no refrigeration in those days. There was an icehouse down the street so we’d go over there and get a 300lb. block of ice for 75 cents and carry it back over. …that would make it sell, having it cold, real cold. And then people would get hungry while drinking beer. It worked together.” (Anthony Rieke)

The venture that was intended to help the partners survive the hardships of the Great Depression turned out to be an American Dream come true for them. As the years passed, business grew as well as the barbecue: initially with the 12’ x 16’ building and then with Rieke’s development of the first practical commercial rotisserie barbecue oven. “I had to make sure the meat would cook evenly so I did a test run personally. I crawled in and rode around in it kind of like a carousel, and it all worked out just fine.”

When asked what it takes to stay successful in the barbecue business for over 70 years, especially in a town known for barbecue, the family jokes ” We just have a different genetic composition …we have smoke running through our veins.” (Marisha Smith) The customers say that it is the value, service and continuous tradition over the years that keeps them returning for more.”

You can read more about their history by visiting their website at

I arrived around 4:30 on Monday.  This is a place where you order at the counter and they serve you right there and then seat yourself.  I ordered a brisket sandwich on a bun and fries and my order was ready within a minute.  It was about ten dollars for everything.  Very fast and friendly service.  I grabbed a water at the self serve station and had a seat.  They also have a self serve barbecue sauce station right next to the water station.

The brisket was served as thinly cut slices on a hoagie style bun.  You can order the sandwich on bread slices or on a bun.  The sandwich was served with a little bit of sauce on it.  It was warm and tender but didn’t have much flavor to it.  They have two sauces to choose from.  Their standard sauce was good.  Just the right amount of sweetness.  The second sauce is their spicy sauce and it had quite a kick to it.  It was hot!  Made my tongue and throat tingle.  I couldn’t handle too much of the spicy sauce, so I used the standard sauce to dip my fries in.  The fries were crinkle cut fries.

Rosedale seems to get good reviews overall and they’ve been around a very long time.  I thought it was a good sandwich, not great.  Kind of a neat place with very fast and friendly service.

This is stop number 32 on my quest.  I’m going to try to get another stop in this week since I’ve been lagging a bit.  Let me know about your experiences at Rosedale.  Till next time….

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