My first thought when taking a bite of my burger — juicy, flavorful and heaped with mozzarella cheese, pineapple and caramelized onions — was, “Oh my god this is amazing.” Each bite was a struggle to keep everything contained in the pretzel roll and not have it end up in my lap, and it was totally worth it.
This delectable burger can be found at FooDoo on Broadway Blvd, right down the street from the Uptown Theatre. While FooDoo has big taste, it’s not a big place. There are about seven tables pressed against the walls. The restaurant is maybe the size of my living room, but every available wall, countertop and window sill is filled with cajun and voodoo style art and trinkets. If that doesn’t create enough of an atmosphere, the music helps even more to set the mood somewhere in New Orleans. A small bar with a few stools is squished into the back corner of the already cozy space. When I visited, there were only a few other diners, yet it did not feel empty.
Started by Bryan Merker and Carlos Mortera, who also own Beignet and The Bite in City Market, FooDoo opened five months ago. It takes familiar comfort foods such as pizza, hamburgers, pasta, sandwiches and apple pie, and puts its own special twist on them: local, organic, made from scratch and vegan. Yes, there is nothing on the menu that contains meat, dairy or any other animal product.
Now, don’t stop reading just because vegan food has a reputation of being bland, obnoxious and overall just weird. At FooDoo you don’t need an explanation of what food they are trying to mimic. It serves dishes you would expect to see at any other restaurant just with substituted, sustainable ingredients. They don’t try too hard to be healthy or use never heard of before ingredients and taste combinations.
You don’t have to only eat plants or have dreads to enjoy the selection at FooDoo. It’s not hard to savor a pizza even if the cheese is made out of soy. FooDoo takes well-known dishes and tweaks them to make them vegan without trying too hard to make it healthy or change it completely.
While my main course was the Big Kahuna burger, I also ordered a smoothie, the Black Tambourine. Normally I don’t enjoy drinking my food, so I don’t jump at the chance to order a smoothie. However, the lure of chocolate, raspberries, cherries, chia seeds and almond milk was something I couldn’t resist. My impulsive decision was worth it.
All of my food was delivered quickly by the waitress who was accommodating and friendly, and. I left full and satisfied with everything I had ordered.
While the food and atmosphere are worth a visit, FooDoo is not cheap. It’s not exorbitantly expensive, but it’s not the dollar menu either. However, FooDoo’s prices are cheaper than the other vegan restaurants in Kansas City, like Cafe Gratitdude and Fud. My whole meal cost about $17 and for the quality of the food, ingredients and amount of food, I was willing to pay that much. I know how hard it is to make tofu taste that good.
Another downfall is the limited hours that FooDoo has, as well as its location. On weekdays and even weekends Foodoo opens late and closes early, making it hard to find a time to go. And its understated sign and small size makes it easy to miss when zipping down Broadway. If you want to eat at Foodoo, it would require a certain amount of planning.
While Foodoo is the stereotypical, pretentious, over-the-top vegan restaurant, its flavorful food has me asking for a second restaurant not a 20 minute drive away.