KC Crave
Photo courtesy of Max Yavel

There’s only one thing I know for sure about KC Crave - the food is fantastic. Other than that, this place is a bit of a mystery to me. After all, it’s not often that you see a two-story barbecue restaurant, complete with a live band, glowing neon lights and lounge area.

The first floor is devoted to the bar and dining service, but the second floor is what really makes KC Crave one of the most exciting and original restaurants in Gainesville. Here you’ll find their Tap Room, where you and up to nine of your guests will get a VIP-like setup, with a touch-screen beer tap at your table.

You don’t just get to order your beer from the screen; you then fill the beer up yourself from a tap attached to your table. There’s a huge selection of craft beers to choose from, and if you don’t like what you’re drinking, just pour out your beer and try another one from the tap. You pre-pay for a certain amount of beer and 90 minutes of use, so it’s not like normal pay-per-drink establishments.

KC Crave presents a genuinely satisfying and unique lounge experience, but you would really be missing out if you didn’t try some of their fantastic food. My meal consisted of Crab Stuffed Wontons, Bourbon Sliders and Fried Turkey.

I’m somewhat of a crab wonton connoisseur. Whenever I order Chinese food, I’m always most excited to eat the crab rangoon, which is a fried wonton stuffed with bits of crab and cream cheese.

Usually it’s 90 percent wonton, and 10 percent tasty fillings. At KC Crave, they do it right; their wonton is practically spilling over with goat cheese and crab meat. The goat cheese is ultra creamy, and you get just enough crab to taste it, but no so much that it over powers the dish.

Another big highlight here was the fried turkey served with wasabi mashed potatoes and stuffed zucchini, which was a delightfully weird spin on thanksgiving.  Instead of traditional cranberry sauce, it comes with a berry dipping sauce that is completely ridiculous in the best of ways. 

My favorite dish of the evening was the bourbon sliders - pulled beef on a brioche bun, topped with smoked gouda fondue and fried onions. This is what barbecue food is supposed to taste like. It’s smoky, sweet and tastes like it just came off the grill from your backyard.

KC Crave is whatever you want to it to be. It’s a nightclub, it’s a barbecue restaurant, it’s got huge selections of craft beer that you can fill up yourself at your table, and live bands perform throughout the weekend. Whichever experience you choose, you definitely shouldn’t wait to try KC Crave.