105 E. Lafayette Ave.
Abilene Kansas 67410United States
Midwest Living Recommends
No visit to Abilene would be complete without digging into a fried chicken platter at Brookville Hotel, a Kansas dining tradition.
After more than 140 years of serving family-style fried chicken dinners, Brookville Hotel owners can rightfully say they know what they're doing. The secret to four generations of Martin family success is keeping it simple. There's no menu, so ordering is easy. Sit down in one of six dining rooms, and dinner on Blue Willow-patterned Buffalo china appears instantly. Attentive waitstaff wearing vintage striped uniforms refill the relish plate and platters of crispy dark and white meat chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet-sour coleslaw, cream corn, biscuits and gravy. The meal, including pie, costs $14.59 for adults; reservations are recommended. Brookville Hotel has stuck to many of its century-plus family recipes, including the simple batter mix of canned milk, water, flour, salt and pepper. Coated chicken is skillet fried in lard (turned once during 30 minutes). But unfortunately, there's no secret tip to share for the buttery mashed potatoes. They're box "potato pearls." The fruit pies aren't made in-house, but they are baked on-site, and they're delicious. Kansans consider the Brookville Hotel a Sunflower State finger-lickin' tradition. Some pine for the original location in the tiny town of Brookville west of Abilene. This 10-year-old restaurant off of Interstate-70 has more rooms and sits behind a hotel. But you get the same country vibe -- the Wild West-style, white clapboard exterior and blue toile wallpaper dining room replicate the well-loved 1870s Brookville Hotel restaurant -- and the same tasty chicken!