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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.

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Sabor's Paella
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Apron Strings
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Central Kansas

COURTLAND: Depot Market and Cider Mill

Courtland’s century-old Santa Fe Depot serves as the farm store for a bountiful patchwork of orchards and gardens along US-36 in north-central Kansas (80 miles northwest of Salina). In season, Depot Market bins overflow with Kansas bounty: apples, pumpkins, gourds, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, sweet corn, watermelon, onions and more. (785) 374-4255

HAYS: Gutierrez Mexican

In addition to quesadillas, fajitas and other South of the border favorites, Gutierrez serves up Starbucks coffee and espresso in its Bravo Coffee Bar. (785) 625-4402; Gutierrez

 HUTCHINSON: Apron Strings Kitchen Store

Anne Dowell’s shop supplies cooking gear ranging from Le Creuset pans to Viking appliances and ingredients that include gourmet mixes, dipping sauces, olive oil and vinegar. Apron Strings will teach patrons to use all this gear. Expert instructors lead regular in-shop classes on topics that include the art of the salad and rolling fine piecrusts. Apron Strings also offers men-only classes. Customers can share favorite recipes in an online cookbook. (620) 259-7339; Apron Springs Kitchen Store

SALINA: Cozy Inn

In 1922, Salina’s aptly named Cozy Inn began serving sliders, burgers nicknamed because cooked sandwiches on waxed paper are whisked down the tiny downtown restaurant’s counter. Nearly 90 years later, the red neon sign and the pungent aroma of ground chuck and onions frying on the original grill still greet customers. Toppings include a pickle, a squirt of ketchup and mustard, no cheese. According to owner, Steve Howard, the Cozy Burger doesn’t need it. Inside, a lucky few get the six stools at the counter, the only seating. A walk-up window allows patrons to take Cozies home or sit outside at one of the picnic tables. (785) 825-2699; Cozy Inn

WICHITA: Barbecue Hot Spots

Wichita is a hotbed of barbecue, with nearly a dozen great restaurants. Delano’s, in a historic shopping area just west of downtown, qualifies as a meat-eater’s paradise. The spicy coleslaw and seasoned fries are pure bliss. (316) 260-4950; Delano Barbeque Company  At Jet Bar-B-Q, lunch customers drive through a converted downtown firehouse. Try the brisket, hot links or turkey (316) 262-7299; Jet Bar-B-Q Pig In! Pig Out! is among the most celebrated of the eateries. Owner Derek Cochran has won numerous awards for his brisket, ribs, turkey, pulled pork and hot links served in his modest restaurant that has a view of a grain elevator. (316) 263-7474; Pig In! Pig Out!  Bite Me BBQ specializes in pork ribs, seasoned with 14 spices. Like most pit masters, smoking ribs began as a hobby for Coleman Lockett.  (316) 729-2904; Bite Me BBQ

WICHITA: Sabor Latin Bar and Grille

South America embraces Old Town Wichita at this casually upscale restaurant. Sabor has gained raves for a menu that has introduced many to Paella (saffron and rice dish), tostones (double-fried plantains) and parrilla plates (fire- roasted chicken, churasco steak, chorizo and roasted adobo pork). The sancocho soup harmonizes chicken with yucca, corn, chilies, garlic and avocado. (316) 201-4880

YODER: Carriage Crossing

Known for its hearty homemade fare, Carriage Crossing Restaurant in Yoder (40 miles northwest of Wichita) confounds indecisive diners with its vast menu. Choose from fried chicken, lasagna and meatballs. The plain metal exterior doesn’t do justice to the warm and charming atmosphere inside, where breakfast patrons feast on cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates, and lunch and dinner guests struggle to save room for homemade pie. (620) 465-3612

SMOLAN: Hickory Tree Restaurant

School lunches were never as delicious as the hickory-smoked meats and fixin’s you’ll find in this 85-year-old, three-story brick former schoolhouse (seven miles southwest of Salina). Owners Lee and Kathy Holzwarth rescued the building when the school closed in 1987. Diners sit at tables and booths dotting the former gym’s basketball court. (785) 668-2164

 

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