Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant
Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant in Kansas City is one of the most memorable family dining experiences. The restaurant was started by Fritz Kropf and his wife Virginia in the 1940s but Fritz’s experience dates back to the 1920s, as his father owned Kansas City burger restaurant, John’s Place. Today, there are three Fritz’s locations. Two are in Kansas and one in Missouri. My clan has only dined at the Crown Center location.
Crown Center, situated on the southern edge of downtown Kansas City, is owned by Hallmark Cards and is a destination in itself with restaurants, shops, hotels, and tops attractions including SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and Hallmark Visitors Center. During our latest trip to KC, the one and only place the kids wanted to revisit was Fritz’s.
You can’t miss the entrance to Fritz’s with a photo-op train (see above) and railroad crossing sign. If you veer to the left of the restaurant, on the way to the restroom, you will see the miniature train set (the header photo) with a 50s style restaurant behind the glass as well as peek into the restaurant.
The menu consists of classics like burgers, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and salads. The food is good and prices are incredibly reasonable ($4.00-$9.00) with add-on sides like fries and onion rings as well old fashion shakes still made the same way as in the 1950s. The kid’s menu is only $6 and has kid favorites, grilled cheese, burgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets. Once you decide, pick up the booth phone and place your order.
What makes this restaurant extra special are the train engines that carouse the restaurant and deliver meals to each table. Diners order their meals via their booth’s private phone. Next, all eyes look up towards the ceiling. Every few minutes a lit engine cruises the restaurant hauling a cart. The kids’ excitement will make you giggle. Every time an engine is on the move you will hear, “Look! Is that ours?” Parents have to explain the chef needs to prepare the food, “But it will be here soon!”
When it’s your table’s turn engine comes barreling overhead and the cart unlatches and is lowered and the fast-food-style meal is delivered. Don’t worry, spills can’t occur unless you bump a cup. Drinks and shakes are delivered by servers.
Finally, it’s time to dig in. Trust me, Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant is one place the kids won’t beg for technology for entertainment as they await their food. However, they will likely want to Snapchat or Instagram the experience. You know it’s a memorable restaurant when your teenagers send pictures to their friends and beg to return years later!