changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- August 6, 2018: This evening we revisited Fireside BBQ in Overland
Park. The four year old barbeque restaurant has limited hours, open for
lunch and dinner Monday - Friday, closing at 7:30PM each of those days.
sampled pork ribs, house made sausage, onion rings and fresh cut fries.
The ribs were our favorite item. The sausage reminds me of a sausage my
brother used to make in his oven.
10 UPDATE: Today Fireside BBQ announced that the restaurant is for sale
and that if it has not sold, it will close on September 28.
- August 7, 2018: I had lunch at Sierra Grill in Lenexa, Kansas. Sierra
Grill is a little over a year old and is one of our favorite places for
for supper, the four evenings a week they are open. I arrived a few minutes
before noon and the small restaurant was already crowded, but I was able
to get a stool at the small counter.
was my first look at the lunch menu, which like the evening menu is relatively
short. There are 7 sandwiches, 3 house specialties and 8 side dishes. The
menu may be limited in part by the compact kitchen. Space is a premium
in this small restaurant which was built as a chain sandwich shop.
been a big fan of the rib eye on the evening menu and decided to try the
wood fired steak sandwich with cheddar cheese, peppers/onion & chimichurri.
It included the choice of one side. I went with the braised cabbage. It
was OK, but I would have been happier with the roasted mushrooms.
thick slices of steak were good, though I think I would leave the chimichurri
off in the future, perhaps going with mayonnaise.
we added a new page devoted to Field
Station: Dinosaurs in Derby, which opened in May and we visited 2 weeks
Sierra Grill steak sandwich
- August 10, 2018: We drove to Paola in the evening to have supper
at Beethoven's 9th: The Restaurant.
We have enjoyed this German restaurant for many years, but this was only
our second visit since the moved to a new location about a year and a half
enjoyed both the grilled pork chop and the sauerbraten (marinated sirloin,
braised and topped with a tangy brown sauce). The sides of corn and fries
were OK, but we liked the bread and flavored whipped butter more. Before
leaving, we took a long look at the large selection of desserts. They looked
great, but we had already had a lot of food and we passed this time.
leaving town, we drove the nearby streets taking photos to post to our
Facebook Page. Among other interesting things, we found two old gas stations.
The Phillps 66 looked particularly interesting, but the Miami County Historical
Society has not responded to our request for information about it.
Beethoven's 9th desserts
- August 11, 2018: I made a second visit to Conroy's Public House in
Overland Park, continuing to work our way through the interesting menu.
The fisherman's pie was good, but not exactly what I expected, more of
a chowder with a puff pastry sitting in it, rather than what I think of
as a pie.
added a new page devoted to St. Mark
the Evangelist Catholic Church is a historic Romanesque church in Colwich,
which we toured three weeks ago.
St. Mark the Evangelist
- August 17, 2018: We got an early start on three days of exploring
Kansas, heading west on I-70 with our first stop at Berry
Hill UPick Farm, southeast of Topeka. Berry Hill added a sunflower
field in 2017 to bring more traffic and attention to the farm and repeated
this year. The first plants which were planted this year were just coming
to full bloom and WIBW News was also photographing the fields.
headed to downtown Topeka to St. Joseph Catholic Church. The twin clock
towers of the church are less than a block off I-70 and I have wanted to
photograph the interior for some time, but other than for mass, it is only
open by appointment on weekdays when the church office is open.
118 year old church is in the middle of a multi year repair and preservation
project and I had photographed the exterior during work two years ago.
Restoration has already been done to the brick, stone, glass, and decorative
trim work. The interior walls, ceilings, and furnishings are all about
to be redone and we will need to return in a couple of years for new interior
you to Teresa Ann Thomas, who showed us around!
had lunch at Mr. K's Farmhouse Lena's in Abilene, Kansas. The onion rings
were awesome and a huge serving. The fish and chips were also decent, though
I was less impressed with the chicken fried steak.
photographed the world's largest spur on the way out of town, but it doesn't
have quite the same impact since it was moved from the entrance to the
Abilene rodeo arena to Rittel's Western Wear on North Broadway.
returning to the freeway, we visited the Talmage Historical Society and
Museum in the small community of Talmage. The museum is in an former bank
building and probably has the most to offer to people with connections
to the community, particularly genealogy information. People who do not
have that connection will probably need less than 20 minutes to view the
last stop in the Abilene area was the Russell Stover Candies factory and
store. We were each offered a free candy as we entered, which took the
edge off, but we still made a few purchases while we were there. The best
thing about the stop was learning that the "I Love Chocolate Teddy Bear"
which was stolen a few years back, has been recovered, repaired and is
back in place.
passing through Salina, we visited a couple of interesting buildings which
I had not been to in many years.
first was the school in Smolan, Kansas, which housed the Hickory
Tree Restaurant until 1911. The bushes along the side walk had grown
up so high that we almost missed the building entirely.
second building is the beautiful Salemsborg Lutheran Church, which is several
miles south and west, but also has a Smolan address. The twin towered church
was built in 1926. I've still not seen the interior of the church, but
I think we have enough page to now do a page about it.
took county roads west to Brookville, to photograph some of the many interesting
abandoned buildings. We were surprised in Brookville twice, first by the
goats running loose, feeding on the vegetation at Ell-Saline Middle/High
School. The second surprise was finding a phone booth with a working pay
phone outside the Wilson Communications building.
on to Ellsworth. Before dinner we photographed many of the old buildings
in town, including those at the Ellsworth County Museum and two old jails.
had supper at Pretty Boy Floyd's Steaks & Shine, a speakeasy themed
steak house in the basements of three old businesses. You enter the restaurant
through the back alley and go down a flight of stairs to a dark dinning
room and bar with prohibition era decorations.
booth was very private. We could see no other tables and the only person
we saw from our booth was our server. My rib eye was very good, as was
Linda's filet. We liked having the option of getting smaller portions than
many restaurants offer. The 10 ounce rib eye and 4 ounce filet were the
right size for us and a bargain at only $21/each with salad, potato, bread
went on to Great Bend, Kansas, where we stayed the night at Baltzell Lodge.
Berry Hill UPick Farm
St. Joseph Catholic Church
I Love Chocolate Teddy Bear
Salemsborg Lutheran Church
Pretty Boy Floyd's Steaks & Shine
- August 18, 2018: I was out in the early morning to photograph some
of the many murals in Great Bend before there was much traffic.
first stop of the day was the Brit Spaugh Zoo in Great Bend. They have
done a lot of work over recent years and one of the things we hadn't seen
before was the butterfly house.
have never been any raptors in the Raptor Center when we have visited the
zoo and today we confirmed that they only care for injured or young birds
took US-56 southwest out of town, making our next stop at Pawnee Rock,
for a few updated photos. Then on through Larned and west to Burdett, Kansas
to photograph the Discover of Pluto historic marker and to play miniature
golf at Rediscover Pluto Miniature Golf Course. Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered
Pluto in 1930, spent his teen years on a farm near Burdett and graduated
from Burdett High School.
hole at the Rediscover Pluto Miniature Golf Course has a metal sign with
a "fun fact" about our Solar System. A family party was being held at the
Golf Course in August 2018 and they graciously permitted us to include
them to make some of the photos more interesting.
had lunch at Moosette's Cafe in Burdett, The small restaurant is only open
for breakfast and lunch, plus a couple of hours on Thursday evening. Breakfast
is served until 11AM. The lunch menu is only sandwiches, with three dinners:
chicken fried steak, hamburger steak and chicken strips.
both had burgers. My selection was the signature Moose's Burger (double
patty, pepper jack cheese, house made BBQ sauce, jalapenos, mushrooms,
grilled onions, bacon) for $11.90 with choice of potatoes. It was good,
but not as good as it sounded. Grilling the jalapenos and cooking the home
fries longer would have helped a lot!
our way back through Larned, we checked on the new location of the Central
States Scout Museum. The museum's original location had a fire in 2016
and the collection was largely destroyed, but it has reopened in a former
gas station. Although we were there during their scheduled hours, the museum
was closed so we only photographed the exterior.
to Great Bend, we toured the Barton County Historical Society Museum &
Village, which was unexpectedly closed when we visited it last fall. The
main building of the large museum didn't take very long for us to tour,
but the many other buildings had more to offer.
am a big fan of old painted advertising theater drapes and the Barton County
Museum has the largest collection I have ever seen on display (6) and displays
them without having them blocked by all sorts of other items.
centerpiece of the Village portion of the museum is probably the "Lustron
houses," a prefabricated enameled steel houses developed following World
next stop was the Shafer Art Gallery, which is several miles northeast
of Great Bend at Barton Community College. The museum is housed in the
Fine Arts Building and displays works by Gus Shafer and a rotating series
of exhibitions from regional and national artists.
late Gus Shafer grew up near Hoisington, Kansas and is known for his western
theme bronze sculptures.
had started raining, but we thought we could still photograph City Cemetery
in Hoisington. At least twelve previously unmarked graves are marked with
hand crafted folk art concrete and wire gravestones which were created
by local grassroots artist, Phil Webb.
located eleven of Phil Webb's gravestones, all of them were in the north
half of the 15 acre cemetery and the unique painted figures on all but
one of them made them easy to find.
drove south and west to Ellinwood, Kansas for supper at Lone Wolf Restaurant.
By coincidence, this was the second night in a row that we ate in a restaurant
which is in a basement. Lone Wolf has a large, rather plain dinning room
and a limited diner menu with just 12 items and a salad bar.
had a grilled shrimp kabobs with baked potato for $18.99 and I had a 16
ounce rib eye with fresh cut fries for $25.99. At least that is how the
steak was described on the menu. I think it was more like 20 ounces. It
was served on a huge platter and still filled half the platter, along with
an enormous serving of fries. I ate less than half of it.
meals came with very garlicky toast which was very good.
to tell you about our experience at Baltzell Lodge in Great Bend. It is
an older family owned motel and we had made a point of reserving one of
the renovated rooms.
we checked in, the clerk warned me that the wifi was running slow, but
when we connected to it, we could connect to the wifi, but it did not have
internet access. That was the same later in the evening and again the next
morning. When I checked at the office, asking when it would be available,
they said they would call the owner. A little later we were told that we
could use the office wifi which WAS working and we were given that password.
also told the office that the room was not very clean when we checked in.
There were open food containers in the kitchen area and refrigerator, we
found a power cord between the sheets, suggesting that the sheets had not
been changed, and there were things on the floor. I left the power cord
with them as evidence.
was never a follow up from the motel or apology. The sheets still were
not changed when the room was cleaned that day.
Rediscover Pluto Miniature Golf Course
Central States Scout Museum
Advertising theater drape
Shafer Memorial Art Gallery
Folk art gravestone
rib eye steak
Baltzell Lodge room
- August 19, 2018: Rain came through in the night anc continued through
the day, cutting short our explorations.
did drive through nearby Quivira National Wildlife Refuge while the rain
was light enough that we could get some good photos from the car. We saw
a wide variety of water birds, but focused on the wading birds and the
beautiful large, white pelicans.
rain picked up as we headed west on the highway. We photographed some interesting
old buildings as we passed through Roxbury, Kansas, but made no stops until
we got to Hope, the town where the sign says "There will always be Kansas."
had lunch at the Gridiron Cafe, which
I visited 2 years ago and is on our list of Unique
Kansas Restaurants. It was getting past lunch time and as things slowed
down, the owner, Fred French, stopped by our table to chat for a while
and to tell us that the town was in a bit of shock, as a couple of local
men were killed in an accident the night before.
had the chicken fried steak and a Lion Burger (named for the school mascot),
which has grilled onions & mushrooms, bacon, and swiss cheese. We split
a house made peach cobbler, which isn't a traditional cobbler, but a crumble
with peach filling on top, rather than baked.
had planned the trip to be Hope when the Hope Community Museum was scheduled
to be open, but found it all locked up. We might have tried calling one
of the numbers on the door, but the rain was not a steady downpour and
w decided to cut our loses and head home.
- August 21, 2018: In the early evening, I drove to Scranton, Kansas,
where the Lyndon Leaders 4H Club from Lyndon, Kansas has had public sunflower
fields since at least 2016. The first couple of years they were afraid
of getting too big a response from the public and at their request we held
off promoting their sunflower fields until this year. The sunflowers are
now at their peak! We added a new page about the sunflower
fields when we got home.
the return drive, I stopped for supper at Green Acres Family Restaurant
in Vassar, Kansas. I had broasted chicken and raisin cream pie. This restaurant
might make it onto our list of Unique
Kansas Restaurants., but I haven't had enough of their food to make
a review. They are a little out of the way for most of our travel, so that
may take some time.
took quite a few photos in the restaurant, which seemed to make the owner
nervous. I explained that I blog about my meals, which satisfied my server,
but the owner still was uncomfortable. If I go again, I will limit photos
to one taken with my phone, rather than with a camera.
Lyndon Leaders 4H Sunflowers
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