Most of the area's economic activity is located around downtown and close to the Kansas River. A few national chains populate Edwardsville, but most restaurants have local owners. Many bars, live music and nightlife exist to the west in Bonner Springs or to the north adjacent to the speedway.
Roscoe's Barbeque has been in the same family for three generations. The owners make everything from scratch, including sauces and rubs that complement the best cuts of meat. Order beef, pork, turkey, chicken or burnt ends by the pound or on a sandwich. Add two ribs to the deal to make your dinner complete. For a unique twist on a classic dish, try the pork pie with a bed of corn chips covered in pulled pork, barbecue sauce, smoked beans and cole slaw. The menu features simple choices, but you will come back to this place again and again for the savory barbecued meats.
Asia House has a full menu of Chinese favorites, ranging from fried rice and noodles to chicken and seafood. For appetizers, try the steamed dumplings, which pair nicely with cho cho beef on a stick. The notable special of the house, the Happy Family platter, contains beef, chicken, shrimp and scallops over Chinese vegetables and brown sauce. Large portions of chicken come glazed with various spices such as curry, black bean sauce and peppers. Try the same seasonings with shrimp instead of chicken for a different take. Chicken and seafood take up most of the menu, and each dish comes with a side of steamed rice. Combination plates have beef, pork, chicken and shrimp. Asia House's menu pleases everyone with more than 100 different selections, most of them under $10.
Papa Bob's Bar-B-Que sits just west of Edwardsville along Kaw Drive, but the huge portions of smoked meats make the short trip well worth it. The famous "Ultimate Destroyer Challenge" gained notoriety on the show "Man v. Food." The smaller, regular Destroyer sandwich comes with one pound of up to three different kinds of meat including beef, ham, pork, turkey and sausage. Choose one of those meats to fill the Destroyer's bun with your favorite smoked delight. Papa Bob's also has delectable racks of rib and smoked half chickens for huge meals and hearty appetites. The menu proclaims most customers need a to-go box for leftovers to eat for lunch the next day.
One gem along Kaw Drive near the Kansas River sticks out. Jamz Bar and Grill caters to Kansas Jayhawks fans with food and drink specials during games. Buckets of beer and discounted fried catfish platters reign supreme during KU basketball games. If college sports aren't your thing, play a couple of classic video game machines off to the side. Hours run from 7 a.m. for breakfast all the way to 2 a.m. for late-night patrons.
Edwardsville began as a settlement for the Delaware tribe of Native Americans. The land was surveyed in 1869 before the Union Pacific Railroad moved through the area along the Kansas River.
Junius Groves, a former slave who eventually became one of the most successful African-American businessmen of the post-Civil War era, grew potatoes on 80 acres he sharecropped in Edwardsville until his death in 1925 at the age of 66. Townsfolk, and Groves' descendants, celebrate his life as a leader in the African-American community every year on Junius Groves Day.
The population of Edwardsville remained below 1,000 until a explosion of people moving to suburbia in the 1970s. The 1970 U.S. Census noted only 619 people in Edwardsville, but that number had grown to 3,364 by 1980.
Expect to get around Edwardsville in a car. Not many streets have sidewalks for pedestrians, except near downtown, but traffic on thoroughfares is sparse enough that bicycling is safe. Public parking spaces near schools, downtown and parks do not cost a thing. Taxi and Uber services are available for those times when your car is in the shop or out of commission.
Access major highways by traveling north on 110th Street to U.S. 24-40, which in turn goes east to Interstate 435. Travel east along Kansas Avenue to meet I-435 east of town. Kaw Drive connects with I-435 in the southeast corner of Edwardsville.
The closest KCATA route to Edwardsville, Route 116, stops near Target just north of the speedway. This route comes through town from 6:13 a.m. to 7:46 p.m. along one of the Unified Government stops in the bus system.
Living costs in Edwardsville are lower than those of downtown Kansas City, a fact that draws many people to Wyandotte County. An average one-bedroom apartment runs $480 per month. Most of the housing options in Edwardsville revolve around single-family homes.
A day pass on KCATA runs you $3 to get to downtown Kansas City, and gas prices generally hover around 19 percent lower than the national average. A pint of beer averages $3.50 at local pubs.
Most local establishments sit on or south of Kaw Drive near the river. Nearby Bonner Springs also contains many local businesses. Big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart have stores north of Edwardsville near the speedway. The Walmart Supercenter serves as the closest supermarket. Two farmers markets in Wyandotte County, closer to the Kansas side of Kansas City, serve the local population from May until October. For handicap access, family-owned Accessibility Remodeling provides services specifically geared toward making homes safe and comfortable.
Bush Farm and Greenhouse, on the western edge of Edwardsville, sells produce, such as sweet potatoes, watermelons, squash, onions and green beans. Their ready-to-grow plants are already in pots -- just move them into your home garden to instantly beautify your property. Marigolds, bells, diamond frosts, herbs and flowering plants grow in warm greenhouses until you bring them home. Bush Farm and Greenhouse is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Edwardsville City Park forms the cornerstone of the city's parks and recreation department with two baseball diamonds and three soccer fields. Leashed pooches can enjoy the park, too. Kids can play on equipment in the south part of the park, while adults can walk on the small concrete trail.
Prominent local festivals in Edwardsville include Edwardsville Days in the city park in the spring. Gather for live music, food, fun and a parade as city residents celebrate everything Edwardsville. Junius Groves Day honors one of the town's founders in Shawnee Mission Park.