Anyone who has ever spent any time in Kansas City knows that there is no shortage of amazing BBQ in the area. The competition is stiff and the importance of bragging rights should not be underestimated. Local newspaper The Kansas City Star conducted a March Madness BBQ burnt ends tournament and the winner is the family-owned smokehouse Zarda. Over 92,000 votes were cast over the four-week tournament, proving that Kansas Citians take their burnt ends very seriously. With locations on both side of the border in Lenexa, Kansas and Blue Springs, Missouri, Zarda has universal appeal. This popularity was evident as Zarda won more than 90 percent of the vote over runner-up Jack Stack.
Management at Zarda did its job getting the word out and encouraging customers to cast their vote. Not only did the restaurant embark on an aggressive social media campaign, both locations also offered a special tournament discount on its burnt ends sandwich in an effort to drum up support. With both locations adding new smoke pits last year, the chefs were able to change up their patented burnt ends recipe. If you weren’t able to try the award-winning sandwich during the special promotion, you are in luck. To thank its customers for their support, Zarda will continue to offer the now famous burnt ends sandwich at a discounted rate of only $4.99 through April 30.
Unlike recent NCAA men’s basketball champion Villanova, the road to Zarda’s championship was filled with close calls. Zarda squeaked by opponent Q39 in the first round before eliminating Overland Park’s Burnt End BBQ in the second round and B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ in round 3. This is the third “best of” food tournament organized by the Star, previously crowning winners in a french fry competition and a fried chicken face-off.