From left: Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness, inside a RideKC bus. Christopher Smith/Netflix | Christopher Smith/Netflix

Slay, Kansas City, slay: 7 ways the new ‘Queer Eye’ perfectly showed off our town

Deborah Jones, co-owner of Jones Bar-B-Q, and her sister, Mary, are among the makeover subjects on the third season of Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” The tiny establishment in Kansas City, Kansas, also got a makeover from the Fab Five. Rich Sugg | rsugg@kcstar.com
The Fab Five of “Queer Eye” visiting with sisters Deborah Jones and Mary Jones Mosley, female barbecue pitmasters. Christopher Smith | Christopher Smith/Netflix

The Day of Slay is finally upon us.

“Queer Eye’s” Kansas City-based third season is now officially streaming on Netflix. It features the Fab Five giving some “amaze” area men and women life-changing doses of self-care and self-confidence.

The third season boasts the usual fabulous suspects — Antoni Porowski (food), Bobby Berk (interior design), Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Karamo Brown (culture) and Tan France (fashion) — but the help of a special sixth member of the team can’t be overstated.

I’m not talking about Bruley, the French bulldog that became the Fab Five’s beloved sidekick (and food thief!), but about Kansas City itself.

From Kansas to Missouri, the West Bottoms to the Crossroads, Kansas City shows itself to be a rich resource for the Fab Five’s brand of accessible luxury, a consummate French-tuck of a city.

The Fab Five lived like locals, looking beyond the city’s more popular institutions to the prized neighborhood favorites that make Kansas City what it is.

Here are seven times “Queer Eye” was soooo Kansas City.

Getting emotional over barbecue

The Fab Five couldn’t very well come to Kansas City without partaking of the sauce.

For one episode, Antoni worked out of EJ’s Urban Eatery, a meat-and-three-style restaurant in the West Bottoms that serves up contemporary twists on traditional Southern staples.

But when Antoni got downright emotional over the barbecue sauce at Jones Bar-B-Q, he earned his stripes as an honorary Kansas Citian.

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Throughout the episode, he did everything he could to get sisters and owners Deborah “Little” Jones and Mary “Shorty” Jones Mosley to spill the beans on their secret recipe. Not even when he and Karamo took the sisters to get their sauce bottled would they crack.

Lucky for us, the sauce that launched a thousand bottles is now available for fans to purchase online at jonesbbqkc.com.

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Nightlife shenanigans

Because every Kansas City neighborhood has its own personality, nightlife looks different across the city. The Fab Five got a taste of how two neighborhoods like to party.

In the Crossroads, the Fab Five experienced the uber cool Up-Down, the ’80s-inspired arcade bar on Southwest Boulevard with two floors of Skeeball, PAC-MAN and everything in between. It was there that their youngest subject to date took his newfound self-assurance out for a spin at his 21st birthday party.

The Fab Five also left their mark in the Power & Light District at No Other Pub.

Though best known for its Sporting Kansas City ownership, No Other Pub has a new claim to fame as the bar where Karamo served up a playful striptease for a soon-to-be married man and Jonathan did the most Jonathan thing: jump out of a cake.

Soaking in history at 18th and Vine

One of Kansas City’s greatest strengths is the way it marries modern with historic and “Queer Eye” knows it.

Karamo gave voice to the city’s rich history as a hotbed for African-American advancement in music, sports and business with a trip to 18th and Vine for a woman struggling with her identity as a black woman.

After brief introductions to the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, they spent the afternoon at Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, an outpost of the New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, to meet with other young black women to discuss black heritage in Kansas City, pride and self-acceptance.

Alternative activity

If it exists, Kansas City has put a twist on it, and exercise is no different.

Karamo took advantage of some of the city’s more creative fitness facilities to help subjects push past their mental barriers.

RoKC, the North Kansas City climbing gym, provided a rather poetic set-up for one man to scale two walls — the one he’d built for himself and his fear of heights.

The ever-trendy Westwood staple Woodside Health and Fitness Club played host to “fatherhood bootcamp” for a panicked dad-to-be and Crossroad’s Dance Fit Flow reflected a man’s new self image.

Shopping at the Plaza

Who could appreciate a little local luxury more than the Fab Five?

Nearly every episode, Tan ushered a participant arm-around-shoulder into the wonders of retail at the Country Club Plaza.

From J. Crew to West Elm to H&M, the Fab Five took advantage of the city’s traditional cosmopolitan offerings among the iconic fountains and sprawling brick shopping center we know and love.

Getting suave at men’s stores

The Plaza got its fair share of attention, as it should, but so did two of Kansas City’s chicest local men’s retailers. Kansas City has more than made its mark on men’s fashion, and Tan took advantage of the Midwestern flair.

The Crossroad’s playful and modern East + West exemplified Kansas City’s more cosmopolitan sensibilities while Westwood’s Ulah embodied our more rustic and natural facets.

Elegant staycations

Ever present in the show’s sweeping overhead drone shots was Kansas City’s wealth of beautiful architecture and historic hotels.

The staycation is alive and well in Kansas City and “Queer Eye” utilized classic Kansas City staples like the Art Deco gem Hotel President, which had the honor of hosting the show’s first wedding and the Plaza’s Raphael Hotel, the setting for a camo-queen’s anniversary celebration with her husband — complete with Venetian-style gondola ride along Brush Creek, swoon!


Slay, Kansas City, slay: 7 ways the new ‘Queer Eye’ perfectly showed off our town