People in Kansas City are particularly
passionate about their food and where they eat it. Perhaps its because
so many of us are overweight, we must take our food seriously. Perhaps
its because everyone eats out now (in 2001, 60 percent of Ingrams
subscribers ate out nine times a week) and talking about where you ate
and what you ate is an easy topic of mutual conversation. Perhaps its
because we can at least understand food.
No matter the reason, Ingrams Silver Ladle Awards continue to grow
in popularity. All year long, we act as tasters for our readers with "Word
of Mouth," but once an annum we let our readers tell us what they
like about Kansas City cuisine. Its not too complicatedwe
just count your votes and declare the winner (no dimples in our process,
no hanging chads).
The 14-year-old Silver Ladle Awards have become a tradition in Kansas
City, a tradition that has been often imitated but never matched. And
along the way, the awards have come to offer an interesting introspective
into dining, lunching, desserting, coffeeing, brunching, and wining in
Back in 1988, when the Silver Ladle Awards began, they started off gold.
In 1989, the Golden Spoon was awarded in eight categories, which are still
mostly alive today. So are the restaurants mentioned with four exceptionsCostellos
Greenhouse under Sunday Brunch, La Mediterranee and Top of the Alameda
under Intimate Dinner, and Michael Forbes under Bar& Grill, which
is coming back in October, hurrah! That was the year, too, that Chubbys
replaced Sidneys at 36th and Broadway, and two new restaurants made
the New and Noteworthy columnFeathers and Cahoots in Blue Springs.
Its a tough business, as even the perennial winners will attest.
The number of categories steadily, if slowly, increased, based primarily
on reader input. Ingrams readers are seldom shy and since it was
their contest, they wanted to vote on their own categories. In 1990, a
new category was addedfast food, which Winsteads won, but
the category was replaced the following year with B.B.Q., which has remained,
with different spellings, until today.
The Golden Spoon Awards turned to silver in 1993, with nary a word of
explanation. (It was something about the trademarked name of another publication.)
It didnt much matter. 1993 also saw the increase by three to 16
categories, including such favorites as Best Place to Take Out of Town
Guests (Plaza III), Best Service (Peppercorn), Most Unusual (Metropolis,
alas), Best Carryout (Bo Lings), and Best Value (Strouds)
while other categories disappeared.
In 1999, another change occurred when the Silver Ladle expanded into the
"Best of Business Kansas City," as one of the four groups youre
now familiar with. With 22 different dining categories, one can see the
progress of the sophisticated, I guess. Along came Best Martini Bar, Best
Caterer, Best Microbrewery, Best Dining after 10 p.m., and we dont
mean Sonic, Best Dining with a Group and a few others. By 2000, three
other indispensable categories had to be added, Most Eclectic, Best Wine
List, and Best Seafood. In 2001, we added the Best Cigar Bar, a deservedly
short-lived fad. And Best Overall Restaurant continued to seesaw among
Plaza III, The American, Grand Street lately, Peppercorn Duck Club, Café
Allegro, The Savoy, and the Bristol earlier. Whats your choice for
This year, another changeweve noticed that restaurants are
also location-driven so were including different parts of town:
JoCo, Eastern Jackson County, the Northland, and with a big reach, the
Lake area. Theres 25 categories and if you have favorites, youd
better write us and tell us. The form is in this issuealong with
the rulesso vote by June 28th. And remember, in choosing the deserving
award winners, stuff your bellies, not your ballots. Bon appetit!!