KC-based restaurants ready to step up to plate for another season at Kauffman Stadium

Chef J barbecue
Posted at 2:30 AM, Mar 28, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the Kansas City Royals get ready for another baseball season, KC businesses who were new to the stadium’s concession line last year are also ready.

Chef J BBQ launched in 2020 and is located in the heart of the historic West Bottoms district in Kansas City, giving clients a taste of hickory smoked BBQ using real wood fire.

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Justin Easterwood owns Chef J BBQ. He says his brick and mortar has seen an increase in business and sales after launching a partnership with the Kansas City Royals last year.

"It's everything you love about being in a big prominent stadium," Easterwood said. "It's up to us to bring them down here and then hit it out of the park with the food when they come in and actually try it."

Chef J says some of their best days at Kauffman are when they fire up the grill for Texas baseball fans.

"I grabbed a lot of the Texas series because they may like to compare barbecue, but they like eating barbecue," Easterwood said with a laugh.

To help offset the heat, Palacana, a KC-based, Latino-owned franchise, is bringing back its homemade Mexican-style ice cream, paletas, carne asada tacos, aguas frescas, elotes and ball park nachos. Just like Chef J, Palacana has seen an increase in sales and foot traffic across its stores.

"The families really enjoy our food, our culture," said Jose Luis Valdez, owner of Palacana. "The Royals don't want to be left behind; they want to engage with the Hispanic market because they know we love and are passionate about baseball."

Palacana has been in business since 2020. Valdez says the collaboration is helping keep their culture alive while celebrating legendary Royals players for years to come.

"As you know, Salvador Perez is an icon for us for being Latin-American, and supporting him and his team means the world," Valdez said.

Palacana can be found in section 239 inside Kauffman.

Chef J and two other KC barbecue joints operate on a rotational split schedule that allows baseball fans to get a taste of craft barbecue.