Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Little Stranger Church and Cemetery
Saturday - June 8, 2019: Travel for our other web sites and life in general has kept me from exploring Kansas since early May. Today I had a nice block of 4 hours in the middle of the day and wanted to see some new things. After a little research last night and first thing this morning, I headed to Tonganoxie, Kansas about 10:30AM, arriving at Grandpa's Burger Box shortly after it opened. 

The little burger joint consists of two sheds, attached to each other. One is the kitchen and the other is a waiting area with a bench and a window to the other shed where you place your order. A menu and a US map with push pins are on the walls. I ordered a FatBoy (double) Burger with cheese ($6.09), pork tenderloin ($4.99), French fries ($2.19) and onion rings ($2.99). I would have really liked to try their chili dogs, but they did not have chili.

The food is made to order and took 14 minutes. There is no inside seating, so I took the bag of food to one of the 4 picnic tables outside. The pork tenderloin was good, particularly for one which I do not believe was hand breaded. The burger was fine. Better than fast food burgers, but not very juicy or flavorful.

The fries and onion rings appeared to have been frozen, which is understandable considering the tiny kitchen and fairly long menu. The onion rings were pretty good, with an interesting flavor from the batter.

My first stop after lunch was at the annual car show at the high school that takes place during Tonganoxie Days weekend. At least at this time of the day, it seemed to be the biggest thing going on for the event.

Downtown, I photographed three nice murals. Two of the murals are by Kelly Poling and are in the same pocket park. One of them has giant books on a shelf and each book is devoted to someone from Tonganoxie. When the park opened in 2016, there was a promise that there would be a kiosk which would explain the stories, but there is none at this time.

The third mural is a block away and is devoted to the Frank Henry Grocery Store and a drover who delivered for the store.

I searched town for several other pieces of public art which were mention in a 2016 Tonganoxie Mirror article, but they are apparently all gone.

The next stop was the Basehor Historical Museum in the nearby community of Basehor. Although I had called the museum this morning and the recorded message confirmed the hours, it was closed to allow set up for a tea party later in the day. I called again. This time there was an answer and I explained how far I had come and the allowed me to come in and take photographs.

Heading north from Basehor, I visited Little Stranger Church, out in the country, west of Leavenworth, Kansas. It is reported as being the oldest wooden church building remaining in Kansas. The first service was held on May 12, 1868. Although local volunteers have been working on the church and surrounding cemetery for several years, most have that work has been about stopping further deterioration and the building and graves look very rough.

In the evening, we revisited Hawg Jaw Que & Brew in North Kansas City, Missouri. It had been nearly 2 years since my last visit and the review needed updating. I took advantage of the visit to try some dishes I had not had before. I asked the person taking the order for a recommendation between spicy BBQ and Buffalo Smoked Wings (6 wing thirds for $6.99) and she strongly recommended the Buffalo. They were spicy and great, even the leftover ones the next day.

The Irish Hawg was a huge sandwich for $10.59 - Smoked corned beef, smoked sausage, Swiss cheese, spicy sauerkraut and thousand island on toast marble rye. It was more than I wanted to eat and I took 5 of wy wing thirds home with me.


Grandpa's Burger Box - Tonganoxie, Kansas
Grandpa's Burger Box

Car Show - Tonganoxie, Kansas
Tonganoxie Cae Show

Kelly Poling Mural - Tonganoxie, Kansas
Kelly Poling Mural 

Little Stranger Church - Leavenworth County
Little Stranger Church & Cemetery

Hawg Jaw Que and Brew i- North Kansas City, Missouri Irish Hawg

Sunday - June  9, 2019: We added a new page devoted to Little Stranger Church in Leavenworth County, Kansas.


Thursday - June  13, 2019: We were going to revisit Roscoe's BBQ in Edwardsville, Kansas for supper, but at 5:40PM, they were already sold out and closed for the day.

W revisited Jamz Bar & Grille in Bonner Springs, Kansas instead. Linda had the grilled chicken Philly sandwich with house made potato chips and I had the pork tenderloin with onion rings. All were good and reasonable priced, if not standout.

We went on into Bonner Springs, where Marci Penner & WenDee Rowe of the Kansas Sampler Foundation made a wonderful presentation about exploring Kansas and the Kansas Guide Book 2: For Explorers to the Bonner Springs Historic Preservation Society meeting.



Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe - Kansas Sampler Foundation Marci Penner & WenDee Rowe

Sunday - June 16, 2019: We added a new page devoted to Fritz's Meats in Leawood, Kansas.


Saturday - June 22 2019: In the morning, I made a stop by the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle in Lenexa's Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. There had been very heavy rains the evening before and the vehicles driving to the locations has really torn up the ground. It looked like it will be a long time healing.

The Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle started in 1982 with twelve contestants and twelve judges.  Nearly 200 teams compete today.

We drove to Topeka, Kansas to have lunch at The Wheel Barrel, A NOTO (North Topeka) restaurant which has been getting pretty good buzz. The menu was interesting with its focus on grilled cheese and the old store front is cool, along with the large patio in the back. Although the restaurant didn't seem terribly busy, the food took over 35 minutes, which seemed like a long time for sandwiches.

We sampled the Not Yo Mamma's BLT (sharp cheddar, goat cheese, bacon, mixed greens, tomato & sriracha aioli on sourdough), Monte Cristo (brie, swiss, black forest ham, turkey and a side of blackberry jelly on country white bread, dusted with powdered sugar) and Baja Turkey (sharp cheddar, turkey, bacon, tomato, guacamole cilantro & lime aioli on sourdough) sandwiches. The sandwiches were large (which we expected for $9 or $10 with chips and a pickle) and enjoyable. The kettle chips were very good. 

We finished the meal by splitting a Anne Boleyn (cinnamon caramelized apples & honey whipped cream cheese
served on powdered sugar dusted brioche), which was also good, but probably not something I would repeat.

Today's photography was largely about murals and after photographing a couple of them in NOTO, we drove to the Topeka Police Department, where work on a mural titled "The Common Ground" began a week ago on the outside of the parking garage. Work on the 330' long mural began in June and anyone may participate. People were enjoying music and coming and going from working on the project.

Our next stop was the Ted Ensley Gardens, next to Lake Shawnee on the southeast side of town. The 37.5 acre garden has nice view of the lake and a variety seating areas separated by plantings and connected by wandering walkways. Shawnee  Country Parks & Rec says there are 1,200 varieties of perennials and 300 varieties of annuals, roses, trees and shrubs.

We drove back through Topeka, photographing many murals, including the Brown v. Board of Education Mural (across from the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site), Rip-On Skate Park, Container Project, Avondale East, Blaisdell Pool in Gage Park and Meadows Elementary School. The Great Mural Wall of Topeka lived up to that grandiose name and it will require a video to convey just how big it is. 

We finished the tour photographing Constitution Hall as a storm approached.

In the evening, we had supper at The White Linen, which opened in December of 2017 on 6th Avenue near Kansas Avenue in Topeka. The fine dining restaurant says the menu is contemporary French and American cuisine. The menu is quite limited, 6 entrees and 4 starters. The wine menu has 36 listings at $35 - $650 a bottle.

We started with the $22 Charcuterie Board with meats, cheeses, fruits and olives. It was a nice display and had something to interest everyone in our party. Entrees sampled included the $26 Balsamic Glazed Duck and $20 Roasted Salmon. We didn't find the prices exorbitant for the level of service and food.

The White Linen also features fancy cocktails and I enjoyed the $12 White Linen Old Fashion, made with Old Forester, rosemary bitters and blood orange.

The nicest thing about the meal was the setting in the bank area of the  1888 Columbian Building.


Great Lenexa BBQ Battle - Lenexa, Kansas Great Lenexa BBQ Battle

The Wheel Barrel - Topeka, Kansas The Wheel Barrel

Painting The Common Ground - Topeka, Kansas The Common Ground

Ted Ensley Gardens - Topeka, Kansas Ted Ensley Gardens

Brown v. Board of Education Mural - Topeka, Kansas Brown v. Board of Education Mural

The White Linen - Topeka, Kansas The White Linen

The White Linen dining room - Topeka, Kansas dining room

Monday - June 24, 2019: We had supper at the recently relocated Hayward's BBQ in Shawnee, Kansas. It is the fourth location for this long running barbeque restaurant. It was opened in Overland Park many years ago and most of the intervening years it was in a purpose built location near Antioch and 95th. Hayward Spears sold the restaurant in 2014 and it moved to Lenexa a couple of years later. This most recent move was at the beginning of June.

Two items stand out for me, the onion rings and the chicken wings. I particularly like the wings with an upgrade which isn't listed on the menu on their web site. The wings can be ordered with a spicy mustard sauce from Helga Fine Foods in Lenexa. If Helga had a store, we would add them to our Kansas Specialty Food page.


Hayward's BBQ - Shawnee, Kansas Hayward's BBQ
Wednesday - June 26, 2019: I had lunch at Wild Frontier BBQ which opened on June 15, 2019 in Olathe, Kansas. It is the 7th barbecue restaurant currently in Olathe and the 2nd one to open in recent months. It had a "soft opening" and has only a limited menu at this time, though the menu is already larger than the other recent opening.

The baked beans and French fries were both very good. The beans were sweet and had a hint of flavor from the smoking of the meat. The fries were fresh cut and had great flavor. The pork ribs were very good and the sausage was good, though I didn't care as much for the brisket, which was a bit overdone.


Wild Frontier BBQ - Olathe, Kansas
Wild Frontier BBQ
Thursday - June 27, 2019: I lunch at the recently opened Yuva Eats. The restaurant bills itself as a progressive Nepalese Indian Kitchen and is shoehorned in between Five Guys and Papa Murphy's in the Olathe Pointe strip center in Olathe, Kansas.

There is a counter with an electronic menu, but people who are dinning in are invited to have a seat and given regular service. The lunch menu is quite limited. There are four combo meals, each available with two levels of additional items: vegetarian, chicken, goat and lamb. There are also vegetarian or chicken fried rice, vegetarian or chicken mein and vegetation or chicken dumplings.

I went with the more elaborate lamb combo, which I probably wouldn't try again. The lamb curry was bland and yadka daal were bland. The lentil soup was a little more interesting. 

The only items in the combo I would repeat were the (small partial serving) naan and riata.

Added a new First Look Review of Wild Frontier BBQ.


Yuva Eats - Olathe, Kansas Yuva Eats
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