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Chowing down in the middle of Kansas

I've recently relocated to Salina, Kansas and am looking for new places to chowdown in the central Kansas area. I've already hit (in Salina) The Scheme, Coop's Pizzeria (formerly Greek's) Martinelli's, Cozy Inn and Bogey's. The one thing I really miss is a small independent breakfast diner. I guess Russell's is the closest I can find other than driving to Bennington to Westside Ventures. I have still to explore dining options in Abilene and Ellsworth. Any suggestions?

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  1. Firegoat, I followed you here (no, I'm not a stalker) from that other thread where you mentioned you're in flyover country.

    Imagine my surprise when I found out you're in Salina. My best friend from childhood moved away from our small Minnesota town to Salina. I've been there a few times, but the only restaurant I remember going to is The Cozy Inn.

    6 Replies
    1. re: John E.

      And that's how much work it takes to get someone to post in gigantic flyover state food land!

      1. re: Firegoat

        I would think a Kansas City board could also include western MO and eastern KS.

        The powers that be on Chowhound don't really understand US geography. If someone in Minnesota posts anything about a restaurant outside of the Twin Cities it gets moved to the Great Lakes board with MI, OH, IN, and WI. I used to live in Duluth, on Lake Superior, and I know people in Duluth would first look at the MSP/ Twin Cities board before thinking about checking out the Great Lakes board, not to mention the rest of Minnesota.

        1. re: John E.

          amen to that, and I did have a vocal opinion but they had to draw the lines somewhere.

          1. re: hill food

            Many, if not most, states have a metropolitan area that is the 'draw' of the state. That means it is a large part of the self-identity of the state. I don't think of Minnesota in terms of the Great Lakes. I suppose I would if I were in Michigan, or on the shore of Lake Michigan (my first job out of college was in Green Bay) but not in Minnesota. If someone posts about a restaurant in central Illinois, does it get moved to the Great Lakes board? (It should be on the Chicago board.)

            1. re: John E.

              well this is a few years late and more suited for Site Talk but I woulda done things more along rivers, mountain ranges and interstates...

              we can only work with what we have. and Salina isn't THAT far a drive up into Nebraska or over to MO or IA.

              to the OP go past JC into Manhattan if you have the time. it's not a bad town. granted I couldn't wait to get the hell out, but that was for different reasons. the folks and food are cool. Rock a Belly Deli was always good. don't know if Julie S. still owns it.

              1. re: hill food

                oh if they're still around in Manhattan the spicy basil duck at Hu-Nam (ignore the Chinese on the menu and go for the VN)

    2. Drive to Junction City, just a few miles farther than Abilene, where there are a couple pretty good Korean restaurants. Not sure if they're open for dinner ... better do it at lunch time.

      8 Replies
      1. re: emu48

        I'll look into that! Thanks! I have to drive to Sterling tomorrow and have been tipped off that Lyons has a good Mexican restaurant. Will be checking it out for lunch.

          1. re: Firegoat

            Okay I have to report that the Lyons experience was not a good time. My BF who went with me insisted on this old Mexican restaurant that he fondly remembered from his childhood. While in Sterling (which I hear has a great steak house restaurant only open certain days/evenings) I mentioned it to the Sterling local. She called it El Barfy Del Grande. But.... he was gamely going along with me so we ate at his place and not where the local recommended. Holy crap. First there were four kids between maybe 2 and 8 running around unattended apparently trying to molest the jukebox. When I stepped out to wash my hands at least one came over and crawled in the booth with my BF (serves him right) and babbled at him. I had to literally (using the term correctly) through these milling about kids to return. Mom was sitting in the dining room on her phone. Apparently she got a to go order so eventually they did depart. I ordered the enchiladas (chicken and beef) without beans. What I got was enchiladas (I think) covered in refried beans and enchilada sauce and cheese and then kidney beans I think? I ate about two bites. Had a couple bites of rice (covered in enchilada sauce and cheese) and some of the "salad" taco iceburg lettuce with a sprinkle of cheese and "french" dressing. Glad I tried something new. Won't be trying that again. To be fair, the bf said that "this food has really changed since last time I was here" and did offer to buy me dinner at the other recommended Mexican restaurant. I opted to pass. He can take me out for steak this weekend!

              1. re: hill food

                ha ha .... never!
                Went back to Martinelli's in Salina last night. Food and service always tasty. Had an excellent server.

                Was sad to hear Hibachi Hut in Manhattan closed. That was one of my favorite places to eat back in the day. I may drive over to visit the ol' alma mater and have a Vista burger this week.

                1. re: Firegoat

                  no not Hibachi! the most "Twin Peaks" place around.

                  1. re: hill food

                    Okay I need to requalify that statement since I went online to see when it closed. (May 28). Apparently the Aggieville location will now become a Fuzzy Taco. However, the owners plan to reopen the Hibachi Hut in downtown Manhattan. I can't imagine the Hibachi Hut in any other place than that dark, gloomy location. Guess I'll have to check it out.

                    Also it's nice to see a reference to one of my favorite shows of all times, "Twin Peaks." Now if i mention it most people assume I'm talking about the Hooters-like restaurant.
                    http://1350kman.com/hibachi-hut-movin...

          2. Salina , KS...well, you haven't lived till you been to Tucson's...that's what my SIL says!
            ;^)

            What about the Prairie Band Casino or Martinelli's?
            How far is Salina to Lawrence?
            The Oread is a lovely hotel with great food and drink..
            Free State Brewery and Quentin's are some of my fave's.
            Brunch at the Country Club is a winner chicken dinner too.
            Love Lawrence!

            1. In Abilene, the Brookville Hotel has great fried chicken.
              The restaurant in the bowling alley (have no idea the name) is good for a diner type breakfast, but my experiences there may have more to do with the company than the food. :-)
              The Kirby House was pretty good, but it burned recently. I don't know if they plan to rebuild or reopen in another location.
              There's a place in a farm house, out kinda near the NGA compound that's pretty good. I can't find it via Google, so maybe it has closed or changed names. (It's been a few years since I've been there.)
              Be sure to stop for a visit at the Greyhound Hall of Fame!

              2 Replies
              1. re: onrushpam

                I used to go to the Brookville Hotel when I was a kid back when it was still in Brookville. My grandparents farmed out in that area and we'd go there for Sunday chicken sometimes. I have been to it since the relocation but I should. They keep having really good 1/2 off coupons in the paper as well. I've been to Tossed and Sauced (I THINK that is the name) in Abilene for a quick bite of pizza inbetween two shows by the Cleverlys at the Theater. And to a restaurant that had paddles on the wall. Can't for the life of me remember the name of that one.

                1. re: onrushpam

                  I have been visiting Abilene regularly for nearly forty years now. My time is spent checking out the dining options and seeing if the answers have changed since the last visit. Joe Snuffy's on First was formerly at the owning alley. Mr. K's Farmhouse has the paddles on the wall. Both are good places to eat.

                2. Mr. K's Farmhouse is my favorite Abilene restaurant. Renaissance Restaurant in Assaria is worth a visit. Main Street Cafe in downtown Durham is very good -homemade sausages and pies are especially noteworthy. Pusan Diner, 1634 N Washington, Junction City is an excellent lunch stop. Tomorrow morning, I will try Abilene's Amanda's Bakery & Bistro for the first time. They serve both breakfast and lunch

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Milt

                    We've been talking about going to Renaissance but haven't gone yet. I've heard good things about it. Durham wasn't even on my map. I love diners! Salina seriously lacks the small, independent diners!

                    1. re: Milt

                      I stopped for breakfast at Amanda's Bakery & Bistro this morning. My breakfast wrap (with sausage) was enjoyable. I will be checking out their other offerings in the future.

                    2. Hey Firegoat,

                      I'm going to be driving from Kansas City to Denver next week and am looking for a good place to stop for lunch in between. Salina looks like it's right about at the halfway point. Which lunch spot would you recommend in or around Salina? Anything uniquely Kansas would be awesome.

                      Appreciate the help!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: fishsox

                        Hi Fishsox!
                        A few that come immediately to mind that are:
                        a) The Cozy Inn. Like White Castle this was the birth of the slider. It's a tiny little joint in downtown with a six barstool area to sit in and watch your food be made. If you don't like onions on your burgers, not the place for you. They do have seating outside if you don't want to smell like onions the entire trip. It's a neat piece of history.
                        b) Bogey's is a cafe/burger place with good burgers, great drinks and shakes. Kind of eclectic looking. Mostly burger joint cafe type food.
                        c) Coop's is a little hole in the wall pizzeria off of downtown with some good lunch specials.
                        d) Ad Astra is a really neat used/new book store/cafe in downtown that has started serving lunch. Usually sandwiches/wraps. Has great coffee!
                        e) If you like BBQ, Hickory Hut is a locally owned, family business.
                        f) If you want to venture to the South End of town, Daimaru Japanese Steakhouse is a local venture in a new location. Very entertaining. Might be more than you are looking for for lunch, however.
                        g) If Italian is your preference, Martinelli's in downtown across from the history Steiffel Theater is a great choice. I've always had great service there and a large menu to choose from. In addition to the usual pasta selections, they offer some delicious pizza.

                        Hope this helps.