Panhead Billy’s, Kingdom City, MO – KA-CHOW, Did I Find a Real Life Radiator Springs?

I’m not known for being someone who loves poetry.  However, as a child I memorized “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. It’s something that continues to pop into my mind from time to time.  Recently I was wondering if I was going to find a hidden gem on that “road less traveled” on a recent road trip back from Kansas City.

Along old Highway 40 in Kingdom City, I stopped by Panhead Billy’s Smokehouse BBQ and Tavern.  Taking the right turn onto highway 40 I was quickly reminded of the animated movie “Cars”.  Here was small stretch of highway that had an out of business gas station, abandoned motel, Nostalgiaville, and Panhead Billy’s.  Clearly all affected by the “progress” brought in by I-70.

Abandoned motel on old Highway 40.

As I pulled in the gravel parking lot and up to the metal building I was pretty sure I had found myself a sure 1 on the Dive 2 Five Scale.  However when I entered I was surprised by the time and effort was put into this place.

After settling in at the bar, I asked for recommendations.  The bartender first mentioned brisket that just finished in the smoker the previous night.  I ordered it with a side of fries.

The brisket was tender enough to cut with a fork.  Thank goodness, since I wasn’t given a knife. :D  Maybe I looked like a shady character and couldn’t be trusted with one.  The fries were fresh cut on site.  As I have found with other fresh cut fries, they were on the soft side.  I prefer a crispy outside but these weren’t bad.  They were seasoned well.  There was only BBQ sauce so that kept things simple.  It was on the thin side, but with a nice subtle after-burn.

Panhead Billy’s is a typical small town BBQ restaurant.  It would likely get lost in the mix with Pappy’s and some of the other great BBQ in St. Louis.  However this is a good stop when you have that craving and are traveling along I-70.  It’s also a nice place to stop and support a local business.  This was the road less traveled that I will be traveling again.  After doing some research, I think on my next trip I will try their BBQ chips.  They sound tasty!

Dive 2 Five Scale:  2.  As I said, from the outside I expected to score it a one.  It was just simple.  Inside the wooden tables and chairs were a nice touch.  The chairs were over-sized and heavy.  I was really surprised how nice (and clean) the men’s bathroom was.  It’s more of a bar, but I would not hesitate to take my son there.  It wasn’t really a sports bar, but had two TV’s for those of us interested in the college football games.

Panhead Billys on Urbanspoon

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4 thoughts on “Panhead Billy’s, Kingdom City, MO – KA-CHOW, Did I Find a Real Life Radiator Springs?

  1. Dive to Five, nice write-up. my wife and I live in Columbia, and wanted something different then the normal columbia joints, so we checked out Panhead’s. we loved it. everyone was very friendly, and Panhead was there, and talked with us. my wife gets the brisket every time, and i get the pulled pork and we share. add the home-made chips, a few cold beers, and makes for a great meal. the chicken strips are the best i have had ANYWHERE, fresh cooked right out of the pan, and we get that for our child although i nibble about half his order, i cant help myself). after dinner, he runs up and down the ramp to the pool table room laughing, and the waitresses all smile and don’t mind at all. very kid friendly. we have been there several times now, and look forward to driving our harley there this summer when it warms up, and Panhead plans to have live bands and bonfires around back, which should bring more people. it is a shame the word about this place has not gotten around columbia and getting some more business, because Panhead put alot into that place, and it is always fun. Great food, good drinks. i really hope he gets the business he deserves.

    • Thanks Mick! I’m glad you liked the write-up and happy you also had a good experience at Panhead’s. I agree the place seemed very kid friendly. I’m looking forward to another trip by there in the next month or so if things go well. Thanks for the comment. Sam

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