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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Soden's Grove Bridge - Emporia, Kansas
Wednesday - June 1, 2022: I drove to downtown Overland Park to take some photos at City Market Wednesdays and have lunch at The Table, a cafe across Santa Fe. The Pork & Mushroom Melt Sandwich (Roast pork butt, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic aioli, house blend cheeses grilled on sourdough. with jalapeño ranch for dipping) was large and good, but seemed expensive at $15. Even a small bag of chips would have made it seem more reasonable. The toasted sourdough bread was my favorite part of the sandwich. Jalapeño horseradish would be nice for dipping this sandwich.


The Table - Overland Park, Kansas Pork & Mushroom Melt
Friday - June 3, 2022: We traveled to Wichita where we had supper at Bite Me BBQ in Old Town. We arrived a little after 5 PM and were able to be seated at a booth near the back right away. As always the restaurant was crowded.

This was my second meal at Bite Me and the first since post Covid. The previous time I had a wonderful smoked prime rib. It has a strong smoky flavor that goes well with their horseradish sauce. This time we tried other meats, but they were less exciting. We had a turkey sandwich, hot link and brisket. There was nothing wrong with them, but there are other BBQ restaurants in Wichita whose meats I've enjoyed more. The corn on the cob was the best part of the meal.

Other stops in Wichita included photographing murals and another visit to the Keeper of the Plains on the Arkansas River.

We were going to get root beer floats at the original Nu-Way Cafe, but they were already closed when we arrived a little after 8 PM. Instead, we finished the day with ice cream from Papa's General Store in Wichita. Although we limited ourselves to single scoops of ice cream, we saw many people getting the extreme shakes Papa's is know for. "Unicorn Horn" is a sprinkle coated jar filed with vanilla ice cream blended with cotton candy sprinkles and topped with a chocolate tipped cone, a sparkling strawberry Unicorn treat, shipped cream and sprinkles. 

Other specialty shakes include "Death by Chocolate." "Dinosaur Rawr" and "Happy Birthday to me."

We spent the night at Hotel at Old Town. I like the repurposed  warehouse building, but the rooms are little small for comfort if there is more than one person. I accidentally left my computer charger in the room when we checked out. When we called latter in the day, the person on the phone said that nothing had been left in the room. I described exactly where it had been in the room and left my phone number, but never heard from them again.


Bite Me BBQ - Old Town, Wichita. Kansas  Bite Me BBQ

Papa's General Store - Wichita, Kansas Unicorn Horn

Saturday - June 4, 2022: It was a drizzly morning, but I didn't let that stop me from attending the Old Town Farm & Art Market across the street. The rain did apparently keep out any entertainment, but I did purchase hard cider from Meadowlark Farm Orchard and Cidery from Rose Hill, Kansas. We definitely plan to visit the Orchard the next time that we are in Rose Hill.

We attended a family event later in the day and that was the extent of our exploring for this trip.


Old Town Farm and Art Market - Wichita, Kansas Old Town Farm & Art Market
Monday - June 6, 2022: I've heard good things about Bamboo Penny's, a Thai Restaurant in Leawood, Kansas, and finally got by there for lunch today. They weren't that busy, so I had the choice of dining inside or out and went with outside. Unfortunately I was the only person sitting outside who was sitting in more or less full sunlight and it was a little too hot to be comfortable.

Penny's Combo looked good on the menu, a combination of Thai spicy sausage, crispy egg rolls, fresh spring rolls, and Penny's Rangoon for $19. The presentation was very nice! The appetizers were each pretty good, but the three sauces served on the side were not as interesting or tasty.

Service was slow in general and it took nearly a half hour to pay the check. The overall experience was less than I expected, but I really need to try Bamboo Penny's again.


Bamboo Penny's - Leawood, Kansas Bamboo Penny's

Penny's Combo - Bamboo Penny's. Leawood Penny's Combo

Tuesday - June 7, 2022: It has been about 3 years since I last dined at Cozy's Cafe in Overland Park and I returned there for lunch today. The lunch menu is shorter than I remembered and I struggled to find a dish that sounded attractive. I settled on the "Gourmet Burger,"  with melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and sautéed onion, served with French fries for $11.50.

The burger took about a half hour and several parties who came in after me had their food long before me. Part of the delay may be that the burger was cooked well done, rather than the medium I ordered. It was also topped with cheddar cheese, rather than Swiss. The fries were better, though I would have appreciated them being more crispy.

The prices were fair.



Cozy's Cafe - Overland Park Gourmet Burger

Wednesday - June 8, 2022: We had lunch at The Big Q Barbeque in Kansas City, Kansas, which is the only surviving restaurant which grew out of Quick's family Barbecue which began in 1953. We had sausage sandwiches, ribs and French fries. The sausages were very mildly seasoned. The lightly seasoned fries were quite good.


Tuesday - June 14, 2022: We hadn't been to Christy's Tasty Queen in Kansas City, Kansas for 2 years, so this was a  nice day to pay another visit. Christy's has served the Tuner neighborhood since 1983. Before that it was Carter's Tasty Queen since the 1960s. It has take out only, with several picnic tables on the shaded lawn behind the parking lot.

I got the $9 breaded pork tenderloin and $3.50 Suzy Qs and dined in my car. the tenderloin was nicely crunch on the outside, while the meat was tender and was well flavored. This was the first time that I noticed that it is also available grilled and I need to try that sometime. The Suzy Qs were good, but stand outs.


Christy's Tasty Queen in Kansas City, Kansas Christy's Tasty Queen Kitchen
Wednesday - June 15, 2022: It has been hard to get away to do overnight Kansas explorations, but I am off on a last minute visit to central Kansas today. With high temperatures in the upper 90s, I am trying to do the outdoor attractions as early as possible.

My first stop was David Traylor Zoo in Emporia, Kansas. It was about 85 degrees when I arrived here and the animals were still fairly active. This zoo has done some extensive updating in the past few years and the areas which they have worked on are looking quite nice. There is still work to do and at this time the zoo is actually smaller than it was when I last visited. The area for large mammals is closed and the only large animals I could see in the distance were American Bison. 

The only animal larger than a few pounds is a cougar, but it was not visible.

Before leaving Soden's Grove Park, I photographed the Sertoma Miniature Train. The miniature train is 64 years old.

After more photography at the nearby Soden's Mill Dam & Soden's Grove Bridge and the large Veteran's Memorial, I drove back across town to Emporia State University to tour the National Teacher Hall of Fame Museum in Visser Hall. I had tried to visit the museum a number of years earlier, but at the time it was hard to get details online and I had failed to locate it.

I found a brochure about a new National Memorial to Fallen Educators, which was erected in 2014, next to the one room schoolhouse at the edge of the Emporia State University.

Lunch was a revisit of the Chicken House. a second generation family restaurant in the small town of Olpe, Kansas. The dinning room had been updated a little in the seven years since I was last there, with pictures, new floor tile and some of the tables removed. It is more comfortable with more space between tables.

The prices have gone up significantly, but still seem quite fair. There are still some bargains like grilled cheese or fried egg sandwiches for $3.25 (up a dollar from 2015).

I was surprised that chicken fried steak sandwich was served on sliced bread, instead of a bun. The steak was tender and the light, soft breading tasted good. The fresh cut shoestring sized French fries were also good.

The only pies available today were cherry, peach and pecan. The pie crust was so-so, but the pecan pie filling was superior.

I drove on to Cassoday, Kansas, taking the back roads and passing Tetter Rock. A few miles east of Cassoday, I found wild horses near 150th Street a couple of miles east of town where I have found them a couple of times before. There is road construction at the railroad tracks on the edge of Cassoday, which added a several mile detour.

Continuing west to Burns, Kansas, I photographed a couple of locations which were used the movie, Mars Attacks. The Perkinsville. Kansas scenes where the mobile home park was and where Donut World was created. The donut shop was inspired by Randy's Donuts in Inglewood, California.

Before leaving Burns I also photographed the former 1921 high school and the 1882 former Catholic Church and later Catholic school.

Next up was a longer drive to Minneapolis, Kansas to revisit Rock City for the first time in many years. The five acre park which contains 200 huge Dakota sandstone concretions has little changed.

I returned to Salina, Kansas to have supper at Hickory Hut BBQ. I had the two meat combination of my favorite two meats from previous visits, sliced pork and the hot Polish sausage, plus two sides I have never had before, sweet potato fries or potato wedges. The waffle style sweet potato fries were OK, but the potato wedges were particularly good, heavily seasoned and wonderful when dipped in the honey mustard sauce that accompanied them.

Before calling it a night at the Super 8 by Wyndham Salina, I photographed some street art and revisited the famous, 100 year old Cozy Inn.



David Traylor Zoo - Emporia, Kansas Bald Eagles

Sertoma Miniature Train - Emporia, Kansas Sertoma Miniature Train

National Memorial to Fallen Educators - Emporia, Kansas National Memorial to Fallen Educators

Chicken House - Olpe, Kansas Chicken fried steak

Mars Attacks - Burns, Kansas Mars Attack Location

Hickory Hut BBQ - Salina, Kansas Two Meat Combination with potato wedges & sweet potato fries

Thursday - June 16, 2022: I started the day with a visit to Caldwell Plaza where this Saturday there will be a celebration, dedication, and installation of a historical marker in memory of a young black man who was lynched by a mob in Salina, Kansas in 1893. Only the pipe where the marker will go was present right now, but after investigating later in the morning, I visited Dana Adams grave in Gypsum Hill Cemetery.

The principle reason for visiting Salina, was to tour the new automobile museum, The Garage, which opened just this past year. The museum has perhaps 60 automobiles in three galleries. The two smaller galleries were devoted to custom cars.

The museum has self serve automated beer dispensers. After showing your ID and purchasing a card, you can select a favorite beer and are welcome to take you drink throughout the museum.

I had an early lunch at Bravo Sliders-N-Bites, which we first visited last July. The dinning room still has well spaced tables, but has been upgraded since last year. I had been wondering what was the status of the owners' 3 year old Gallyx, who was battling Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease last summer. I found a small memorial next to the spot where Gallyx was resting when we visited last year. At first I thought itwas for Gallyx, but I've since learned that his mother (co-owner of Bravo Sliders-N-Bites) Jazzmyne Lee passed away last August.

Having just a light meal, I sampled the sandwich which they messed up last year (Jalapeno Cheddar Brat), which was pretty good and needed no additional topping. I also had a small order of "frips" (fresh cut French fries shaped like thick ridged potato chips). This time I tried the salt and vinegar topping and it was quite good. In general, I have been happier with the frips and the sliders.

I drove to Junction City, where I intended to have a second light lunch at Korean Garden. Because of their limited hours, it has been three years since I have been there and I wanted to update their review. But as I was driving down Washington. I was surprised to see the Pusan Diner, which had closed in 2018, was open. I walked in to discover that Mrs. Kim , who ran the restaurant for 30 years, was behind the counter. Although she has always been friendly, communication has been difficult and she didn't answer my questions about what had happened. A couple of other customers told me that she had just reopened a few weeks earlier, after missing her customers. Other than a Plexiglas shield at the counter, the restaurant looks much the same.

I had the Pusan Special with generous portions of bulgogi, 2 mando, fried rice, and garlic chicken wings. In the past there were several different types of kimchi, but there was just one (cucumber) today. The food was every bit as good as I remember. I particularly liked the wings. As always, it is served a styrofoam container if you are dinning in or dinning out.

My last stops of the trip were in Lawrence, where I checked out the new additional location of Yoder Meats and photographed the 2022 NCAA National Basketball Championship trophy at the Booth Hall of Athletics.



The Garage - Salina, Kansas The Garage

Bravo Sliders-N-Bites - Slaina, Kansas Jazzmyne Lee memorial

Pusan Diner - Salina, Kansas Mrs. Kim

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