Is Lion’s Choice Really Missouri’s Best Fast Food? Here’s What I Think
I recently wrote an article about the best regional fast-food joints in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas as named by Food and Wine. While I had tried the best place in Kansas and Illinois, I hadn't tried the fast-food joint named best in Missouri, Lion's Choice. I happened to be in Lee's Summit on Friday, so I stopped in and tried it. Here's what I think.
I stopped at Lion's Choice in Lee's Summit on Chipman Road off of Highway 50. I got their large Famous Roast Beef Meal which comes with 45% more slow-roasted roast beef on a steak bun with an order of their large natural-cut fries and a large Diet Dr. Pepper.
Now, I wasn't sure whether to believe Food & Wine when they said the au jus was net to napkin dispenser. They certainly were not lying as this picture proves.
They have plenty of ways for you to dress your food as well. There's the au jus, as well as a variety of sauces. Sauces include ketchup, honey mustard, tangy barbecue, and sweet and smoky barbecue. I was looking for something similar to Arby sauce, but couldn't figure it out so I went with the au jus.
I was quite pleased with the portions. The sandwich was piled with meat, although at first I was confused that the large roast beef came on the steak bun. I think I would have preferred it if they just put it on their toasted signature bun. The fries were plentiful and the drink was large enough that I didn't need to top it off for the ride back to Warrensburg.
I was surprised by how rare the roast beef looked. I'll admit, it was a tad pinker than I'm used to, but I didn't let that bother me. I'd rather not have my beef overcooked, although, if I go back I might go for the beef that's been roasted a little longer, as that is an option.
I started with the natural-cut fries. Lion's Choice says their fries "Are ridiculously good because of our signature three-step process: brined, blanched and flash-fried." They do live up to their claim. I thought they tasted fresh, were served hot, and were really tasty. I didn't need, or really want a large fry, but I wanted the extra beef and large drink which is why I wound up with the large combo. I ate all the fries, they were that good.
The beef sandwich wasn't as good as the fries. The fries sort of whet my appetite for the sandwich and ramped up the expectations of a really good roast beef sandwich. First, the sandwich didn't really look like it did on the menu. I mean look at the picture, it looks a little sad.
I put some au jus on it and took a bite, then another, then another. I thought the sandwich lacked flavor. The beef was good, you could tell it was better than Arby's. I was just eating it expecting a really good beef flavor and I got nothing. Even the au jus didn't help it very much.
It wasn't a bad sandwich, it just lacked flavor. Maybe this is comparing apples and oranges but the steak sandwiches at the beef house during the state fair have more flavor. So does the open-faced roast beef at Little Big Horn. Honestly, the cold roast beef sandwich served to patients at Western Missouri Medical Center had more of a kick.
Truthfully, maybe the au jus just didn't work as a sauce for it. Like I said when I dress my Arby's roast beef sandwiches I use the Arby sauce which a quick web search revealed is more or less a perfectly balanced bbq sauce with perfect balance and zing. That surprised me since I'm not a big bbq sauce guy. Perhaps, when I go back to Lion's choice, I'll have to dress it with one of their bbq sauces.
Would I go back to Lion's Choice? Absolutely. The fries were an absolute winner. The roast beef sandwich was ok, and the large size filled me up. I would go for the beef that was cooked a little longer, and I might dress the beef with one of their bbq sauces. Or I might try their french dip.
Like Food & Wine says, is it Missouri's best regional fast food joint? That I'm skeptical of.