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.


Big Ed's
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Teller Room
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Western Kansas

OAKLEY: Don’s Drive-In

Carhops still deliver meals to customers parked under the red-and-white striped awning at Don’s Drive-In Cafe. Established in 1961, the burger joint is a couple miles south of I-70 (50 miles east of Goodland). Owner Don Shull has been flipping burgers for almost as long. Regulars are apt to order curly fries and the super cheeseburger, a whopping sandwich of two beef patties and dual slices of American cheese nestled in a 5-inch sesame seed bun. The hamburger comes with pickle, onion and a blend of ketchup and mustard. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the pickle-o, a pickle dredged in onion ring batter and then deep fried (785) 672-3965

ATWOOD: Aberdeen Steakhouse and Pub

Freshly cut Angus steaks, including a 20-ounce porterhouse, buffalo burgers, bread made from organic wheat flour and homegrown vegetables (in season) star at this eatery in the historic 1907 Shirley Opera House (66 miles northeast of Goodland). The Aberdeen Pub frequently features live music. Diners who happen in on open-mic nights can sign up for Perform for Your Supper contests. (785) 626-3740

BIRD CITY: Big Ed’s Steakhouse

Hundreds of regulars and a steady stream of first-timers flock to this restaurant and tavern in tiny Bird City, in the far corner of northwestern Kansas (40 miles northeast of Goodland). They come for one reason—steaks! All are hand-cut and flavored with a secret seasoning; the meat choices range from 16-ounce filets to the sidesplitting 24-ounce Big Ed T-bone and a 30-ounce prime rib. Big Ed’s doesn’t bother serving dessert, because no one ever has room. (785) 734-2556

CIMARRON: The Kansas Wheat House

Once upon a time, say a decade or two ago, home economics teacher Shirley Voran got the wild notion to take the bounty of Kansas—sunflower seeds, wheat nubs, soy nuts—blend in caramel and then dip the whole works in chocolate. The cow patti was born, and it’s the hottest item on the shelves of this little storefront (20 miles west of Dodge City) and online. Shirley and her husband, David, also transform some of the harvest from their 1,200 acres into bread, pancake mixes and snacks. (800) 261-6251; Kansas Wheat House

LIBERAL: Bob’s Diner

Try to be really hungry when you grab one of the 10 counter stools at Bob’s Diner in Liberal (85 miles southwest of Dodge City). Opened in 1957, this eatery on North Kansas Avenue is known for its nap-inducing three-patty Big Jack Burgers, soul-satisfying chili and old-fashioned milk shakes and malts. Bob’s occupies one of the venerable prefab Valentine Diner buildings built in Wichita and shipped across America after World War II. (620) 624-6466

NORTON: Destination Kitchen and Pure Prairie Natural Foods

This small farm town (about 60 miles north of WaKeeney) offers foodies two choice stops. Destination Kitchen stocks cookware, countertop appliances, gadgets and ingredients. In other words, owners Georgia Mann and Cindy Boller stocked the shelves with stuff they’d want in their kitchens. They also serve from-scratch lunches Tuesday through Saturday at the former hardware store (785) 877-2911; Destination Kitchen A couple blocks away, Pure Prairie Natural Foods sells organic produce and meat, homemade breads, and daily lunch. (785) 877-3610; Pure Prairie Natural Foods

OBERLIN: Teller Room LandMark Inn

Steaks, seafood and German chocolate hot fudge à la mode are among the menu favorites dished in the Teller Room Restaurant. Guests dine in the splendidly restored lobby of the 1886 Bank of Oberlin, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (90 miles northeast of Goodland). The downtown restaurant is the centerpiece of the seven-suite LandMark Inn Bed and Breakfast. (888) 639-0003; LandMark Inn

WAKEENEY: Western Kansas Saloon and Grill

Steaks star at this eatery and tavern in a vintage downtown hardware building with a pressed-tin ceiling (95 miles north of Dodge City). Authentic Old West touches include a freight elevator, skylight and creaky wood floor with a small hole. Back in the day, the hardware proprietor would drop a coin to warn gamblers in the basement that the law had just walked through the front door. (785) 743-2050; Western Kansas Saloon and Grill



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