Tastes of Kansas | Midwest Living

Tastes of Kansas

From barbecue and pizza to burritos and deep-fried mountain oysters, Kansas restaurants serve a smorgasbord of savory and sweet flavors sure to entice the pickiest eater.


American Soda Fountain & Sandwich Shoppe
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Rosedale Bar-B-Q
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Eastern Kansas

INDEPENDENCE: The American Soda Fountain & Sandwich Shoppe

Grab a stool at the counter, and order up one of the from-scratch soups or sandwiches (try the chicken salad) at The American Soda Fountain & Sandwich Shoppe in Independence. Double dip a cone for a sweet ending. (620) 331-0604

BALDWIN CITY: Wheat State Pizza

Top a sweet wheat hand-tossed crust with chicken, barbecue sauce, bacon, mushrooms, red onion and a three-cheese blend for The Wrangler, one of this casual spot’s signature pies. Or choose from a variety of sauces (teriyaki anyone?), toppings and crusts to create your own gourmet masterpiece. (785) 594-2121; Wheat State Pizza

KANSAS CITY: Rosedale Bar-B-Q

Since 1934, patrons have been lining up at this no-frills eatery in the business district for smoked beef, pork or ham sandwiches with Rosedale’s signature spicy sauce. Try the barbecued kielbasa sandwich, a Rosedale specialty, or choose ribs, burnt ends, chicken or turkey. Sides include slaw,potato salad, jalapeño poppers, fries and baked beans. (913) 262-0343; Rosedale Bar-B-Q


No need to go south of the Kansas border for authentic Mexican fare. El Charro Manager Noe Loza and his accommodating staff greet you with bottomless bowls of homemade tortilla chips and chunky salsa. Choose from tantalizing main course options such as the Durango combo  with grilled chicken and shrimp served with rice and salad. Save room for cheesecake chimichanga or piping-hot sopapillas served with honey. (620) 223-9944

ALTOONA: Prairie Nut Hut

“It’s just a hole in the wall,” declares owner Rhonda Rohr. Maybe, but to diners who come from practically every state in the U.S. and as far away as China, the 70-year old Prairie Nut Hut in Altoona seems more like a mecca. The allure—and the novelty—has long been the signature deep-fried mountain oysters, once a staple in cattle country. Since Rhonda and her husband, Bobby, bought the modest 40-seat bar and grill, generous servings of chicken-fried steak, frog legs, pork tenders and hamburgers have shared the spotlight. No visit is complete without honoring a Prairie Nut Hut tradition: tossing shucked peanut shells on the floor. (620) 568-2900

PITTSBURG: Pichler’s Chicken Annie’s

Since 1970, Pichler’s Chicken Annie’s, grandchild of long-time chicken rivals Chicken Mary’s and Chicken Annie’s, has served succulent chicken dinners that taste a whole lot like grandma’s—both grandmas, that is. Dating to the 1930s and 40s, the legacy of the dueling chicken eateries is alive and well in southeast Kansas. Regardless of loyalty to Pichler’s, Chicken Mary’s or Chicken Annie’s, on most weekends, thousands of diners flock to the restaurants to get their fill of the deep-fried, bronzed-to-perfection bird
with sides of German potato salad, slaw and spaghetti. (620) 232-9260

BAXTER SPRINGS: Cafe on the Route

Give your taste buds some kicks at this eclectic diner on old Route 66 in Baxter Springs. Housed in the 1870 Crowell Bank building, the cafe has garnered attention for inventive fine-dining choices such as smoked salmon stuffed with apples, bacon and chives served with a mandarin orange glaze. Diners’ favorites include the fried potato salad and 14-ounce cowboy steak. (620) 856-5646; Cafe on the Route

LOUISBURG: Louisburg Cider Mill

At Louisburg Cider Mill, apples are still pressed in the red century-old renovated hay barn on 80 picturesque acres in Louisburg (about 30 miles south of Overland Park). Browse the Country Store and enjoy family-friendly activities throughout the year. At the annual Ciderfest craft fair in late September/early October, families watch cidermaking, climb aboard wagon rides, dine on barbecue, wind through the corn maze and pick out the perfect pumpkin. (800) 748-7765; Louisburg Cider Mill



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