Road Trip West along I-70
We will be passing through both Indianapolis, IN and Topeka, KS around lunch time and St. Louis, MO around dinner time. We are looking for good places to eat at all three locations, here are the parameters:
1)Location should be convenient to Rt. 70
2)Lunch stops should be something that will require only around a one hour time commitment
3)No practical limit on cuisine since we are both adventurous eaters
4)Local unique specialties are preferred
5)Price for lunch can go as high as $20/person not including tip and dinner $50/person
6)Lunch is preferred casual, dinner can be white table cloth or casual
Thanks for your help.
Interesting restaurants near I-70 in the St. Louis vicinity:
1. Canoe - on Main Street in St. Charles, contemporary American, situated on a lovely late 18th-Century street.
2. Las Palmas - on Woodson near the Airport, I haven't been there but it is often mentioned on Chowhound for its Mexican food
3. Crown Candy Kitchen - on St. Louis Avenue, which is an exit off of I-70 travelling eastward. This is an untouched early 20th-Century soda fountain with killer egg salad sandwiches and all kinds of malts served in sweating silver cannisters.
In Topeka, try Fritz Co. Grille. It is at 17th and Wanamaker. From I-70 headed west you will go through most of the city, then take the Wanamaker Road exit off I-70 and head south (left). It is about a mile or so south on Wanamaker.
Great food (salads, sandwiches, soups, steaks, etc.) and they tend to put their own twist on things. This easily meets all your criteria. Lunch prices are in the $15 range. If you get there right at peak, you might be there an hour, but the service is good and they will get you in and out. There are also a lot of franchise restaurants (Outback, Chipotle, Applebee's, Red Robin, Old Chicago, etc,) along Wanamaker, unfortunately nothing else of local note.
Yes, it is chili time at Porubsky's, a little harder to get to off I-70 than the Wanamaker corridor. Plus, they have times (all Fridays, days around Christmas/New Years) that they do not serve chili. Porubsky's is defintely a Topeka tradition, and I like it occasionally, but it's not for everyone. A bit to intimate for me.
Porubsky's in Topeka for chili and pickles is a must for anyone looking for a family-run, non-chain experience. Highly recommended.
If going by Hays, KS (like we did two days ago going from KC to Boulder, CO) we were SHOCKED and AMAZED to find a wonderful place called Gella's Diner right off of the old downtown main street in Hays. It is a brand new and beautiful casual restaurant/brew pub/coffee house.
With food fresh from the farm to your table, they have an eclectic mix of old home cooking favorites with totally gourmet twists to them. For example, I had the Buffalo Sloppy Joe with buffalo meat in place of beef simmered slowly and served on a sesame seed bun, Gouda cheese and home-made sweet potato chips. You must also try their house-made Sauerkraut Soup and French Fried Spring Onions.
I also agree that if you can wait 20 more minutes Lawrence is a much better place to stop and eat for lunch than Topeka.