Whatever you’re hungry for—from quintessential KC-style barbecue to high-end culinary experiences—Independence restaurants will satisfy your craving. Morning, noon, and night, from hole-in-the-wall gems to top-tier dining rooms, don’t leave town without filling up at these restaurants. Locals love them, and you will, too.
Dixon’s Famous Chili
Dixon’s Famous Chili hasn’t always been famous. Founder Vergne Dixon made the change after a visit by former President Harry S. Truman in 1952 was covered in Life magazine. For more than 100 years, Dixon’s Famous Chili has been serving up totally customizable bowls of chili. The location in Independence is the last one remaining.
Mugs-Up Drive In
Mugs-Up Drive In is a total blast from the past. While craft beers and cocktails are all the rage today, this unmistakable orange-and-white drive-in is all about homemade root beer served in a frosty glass mug. For more than 50 years, this beloved root beer has been satisfying locals’ thirst. Add a scoop of ice cream, and you have a Black Cow—the best root beer float in Independence.
Ophelia’s opened in 1999 as an attempt to jump-start revitalization on the Historic Independence Square. It has since been celebrated with numerous honors and awards. Settle into the contemporary dining room and enjoy the fine cuisine created by Chef Bobby Stearns. We recommend Ophelia’s for dinner, but we also hear great things about their brunch, offered Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Vivilore is where elegant dining meets upscale shopping. Meaning “life story,” Vivilore offers a refined menu of modern American cuisine served in an atmosphere of fine art, antiques, and home decor. The restaurant is located inside a beautiful, ivy-covered brick building in the Englewood Station Arts District. Explore the art gallery upstairs, enjoy your meal surrounded by beautiful art and antiques, or sip a cocktail in the extravagant courtyard garden.
Paleteria El Chavo
In the summer, there is almost always a line at Paleteria El Chavo. What it lacks in frills, it makes up for in flavor. This is among the most popular restaurants in Independence. Since 2015, Paleteria El Chavo has been serving up delicious, authentic Mexican food, ice cream, and treats. Play it safe with a burrito, tacos, or a quesadilla, or go a little bonkers with their “crazy snacks.”
V's Italiano Ristorante
V’s Italiano Ristorante is a staple in Independence. Founded by Vita (“V”) and Jay Totta, V’s has brought delectable family recipes to life for more than 50 years. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night or a meal to leave the whole family satisfied, V’s is the place for you. Specialties range from spaghetti and baked lasagna to prime rib.
A Little BBQ Joint
Don’t miss out on the iconic flavor of barbecue when you’re in the Kansas City area. A Little BBQ Joint is Independence’s homegrown barbecue restaurant. This family-owned spot offers mouthwatering barbecue and a great selection of smoked meats, plus housemade sauces and sides. Grab a bite and a beer, and head to the back deck for some live music throughout the summer.