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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Snackle Box - Wyandotte County Lake Marina
Thursday - July 7, 2022: For lunch, I checked out Grill32, which opened in the 4th Street Cafe space in Edwardsville (4th Street and Highway 32) last month. I enjoyed the Flame 32 ($10.95 with fries) which is described as double meat patty, pepper jack cheese, American cheese, bacon, French onions, jalapenos & 32 sauce. The fries were less of a treat. The highlight of the meal was the peanut butter pie, which is made by a nearby neighbor.

 

Grill32 - Edwardsville, Kansas Grill32
 
Friday - July 8, 2022: For lunch, I revisited Wyandot BBQ #1 on State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. I wasn't hungry enough for my usual combination meal and had a brisket sandwich and fries, which were just as good as they have been at Wyandot BBQ #2 in Overland Park.

My main reason for being here is to check on the status of the restoration of Wyandot BBQ #2, which had a fire in December. I learned that everything they have had to order for the restaurant has been back ordered and they still have no idea when it will reopen.

 

 
Saturday - July 9, 2022: For most of the summer, I have been wanting to try out Snackle Box at the Wyandotte County Lake Marina in Kansas City, Kansas. This cool three year old restaurant has a nice view, a neat old (WPA?) building, and what may be the best burger I have had in the KC metro. 

They serve breakfast from 7-11AM.

The lunch menu is quite short (6 "meals" & 2 salads) and the only hamburger they offer is a single or double cheeseburger. We got a single with cheddar and a double with Swiss cheese. The patties are thick and while cooked well done are juicy and tender. The chef wouldn't tell us her secrets, but I could detect that Worcestershire sauce had been used in the preparation.

The onion rings and waffle fries were made from frozen, but were both quite good. The prices are reasonable.

I need to visit here a couple more times, but Snackle Box will probably be going on my Kansas Best Burgers list

 

Snackle Box - Wyandotte County Lake Marina Snackle Box

Snackle Box hamburgers Single & double burgers

Tuesday - July 13, 2022: We went to Sam's Express Sushi & Grill in Overland Park, Kansas for supper. The restaurant opened last fall in the location where Maui Express, a Hawaiian theme restaurant, closed a little over a year ago after 16 years in the business.

Sam's has an area for dining in, but really isn't set up for it. The tables are tiny, everything is served Styrofoam carry out containers, the only tableware is the flimsiest of plastic and the only napkins are the tiny square ones sometimes used as coasters. Only bottled drinks were available (including water). They could not provide a glass of ice.

We had crab Rangoon, spicy tuna boat, hot teriyaki chicken wings, French fries and chicken & shrimp hibachi combination. Every dish came out one at a time.

The prices were reasonable. The food was OK, but nothing to bring me back.

 

Sam's Express Sushi and Grill - Overland Park, Kansas Sam's Express Sushi & Grill

Chicken and shrimp hibachi - Sam's Express Sushi and Grill chicken & shrimp hibachi

Thursday - July 15, 2022: I drove to Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas, which it was announced last week, is for sale. Deborah Jones and Mary Jones Mosley want to retire. The restaurant is operated out of a tiny building, just large enough to prepare orders placed at the walk up walkup window. For years it was a barren spot in a parking lot, but it was made over by the TV show Queer Eye when it came to Kansas City to record shows in the fall of 2018. 

I arrived about noon and the temperature was in the mid 90s, but there was still a long line of people, perhaps because of the news that they are wanting to sell. 

After taking a few photos, I decided that I didn't enjoy their product to stand for a half hour in the hot sun, so I decided to try The Restaurant KC, in the strip center behind. This is just the latest restaurant in this location. It was Suzie Q's and had great pork tenderloins until closing in October 2017. Shortly thereafter it was Heather Beez.

The current restaurant looks unchanged and dated. The menu is much shorter and is mostly breakfast items. The lunch menu is limited to burger, cheese steak, BLTs. turkey & bacon melt, hot ham & cheese, grilled cheese sandwich, tenderloin and chicken strips. I didn't think to ask if the tenderloin is hand breaded.

I settled on the turkey & bacon melt plus fresh cut fries. The sandwich was large and served on good toasted bread. There was little cheese and it could use a dressing or mayonnaise. The fries tasted good, but were severely under cooked. 

I asked if their brownies were house made and was told yes. It was extremely chocolatey, though dry and mostly hard. It was so good that I ate it all anyway and even a small bite filled my mouth with a rich chocolate flavor.

Emergency vehicles arrived at Jones BBQ in the parking lot during my meal and a child who went and checked, said that someone had passed out in the heat.

 

Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas Jones Bar-B-Q
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Restaurant KC - Kansas City, Kansas Turkey & bacon melt
 

Brownie at The Restaurant KC Brownie

Saturday - July 16, 2022: A friend joined us in Independence, Missouri for a revisit of A Little BBQ Joint. It is one of the BBQ restaurants covered in our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide and it had been 4 years since the last time I was there. A Little BBQ Joint. gets high marks for the food and higher marks for atmosphere. The owners created many of the furnishings of the restaurant from their auto body shop. The walls are covered with automotive memorabilia. The seats in the booths are bench seats from old Fords, Chevys and Cadillacs. A 1967 Cadillac front end is built into the carry out counter and a 1965 Chevy Impala is built into the bar.

We enjoyed pork ribs, smoked chicken, fries, baked beans, cheesy corn, mac & cheese and hot potato salad. The ribs are good and the chicken is good, as long as you don't want white meat. They only smoke leg quarters.

Neither the mac & cheese or cheesy corn are anything special, but the beans & fries were good. The hot potato salad was even better than I remembered, the standout of the meal. There are three sauces. I like the hottest (Mad Mother-in-Law) the best. It was not as hot as I remembered.

The service was great. I liked the server writing down a name to go with each dish and serving them without having to ask who gets what.

 


 
 
 
 
 

A Little BBQ Joint - Independence, Missouri Pork Ribs

Monday - July 18, 2022: It has taken a lot of years, but I finally visited Big T's Bar-B-Q on Blue Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri. Big T's Bar-B-Q has another location on Blue Ridge Boulevard and I have dined there several times in the past 7 years.

This location gets poorer reviews and I am sorry to say that I agree. The sausage and fresh cut fries were similar to the other location and fine, but the dining room felt dirty and the floor was sticky. Although there was an occasional stream of vehicles picking up at the drive through, I was the only person dining in. 

I will not be back.
 
 


 

Big T's Bar-B-Q - Kansas City, Missouri Sausage & fries

Tuesday - July 19, 2022: I made my second visit to Snackle Box at the Wyandotte County Lake Marina in Kansas City, Kansas. Today I dined at the counter inside and had it to myself. There were a a couple of people dining outside, but it was just the cook, me and the cook's infant. Today I had a grilled chicken sandwich and tater tots. 

The cook placed a frozen boneless chicken breast on the grill, covering it with a lid so it would good faster and I think just seasoning it with black pepper and garlic powder. However it was seasoned, it was cooked just right and was enjoyable. There isn't a lot to do with tater tots, but these were done right, crispy on the outside and somewhat tender on the inside.

Now I need to try the breakfasts.
  
 


 

Snackle Box - Wyandotte County Lake Marina Grilled chicken sandwich

Saturday - July 23, 2022: We got lunch to go at Herman's Meat & Smokehouse in Topeka, getting brisket, ribs, BBQ chopped meat, fries and beans. We also got sweet horseradish pickles, ham salad and chicken salad from the deli. With the recent closing of Porubsky's in North Topeka, Herman's has become the go to place for many of these kinds of items.

 

Herman's Meat & Smokehouse - Topeka. Kansas Deli counter
 
Tuesday - July 26, 2022: I'm off exploring eastern and central Kansas, starting with a visit to Grinter's Sunflower Farm, southwest ot Tonganoxie. This year's sunflower fields were planted on July 9 and I wanted to check how they are doing. The main field has been returned to where it was several years ago and there is corn in what was the main field last year. The plants in this field are only 3 or 4 inches tall and it looks like fewer plants have germinated. 

The field around Sunflower General, the Grinter gift shop. are about 4 times higher and look like they may be in bloom by Labor Day.

I drove on through Lawrence on my way toward Topeka, but while driving on Vermont Street, saw that Terrebonne Po' Boys appeared to be empty. I circled the block and learned that they have moved to a new, much larger facility at 845 Massachusetts Street.

While circling the block, a 4 foot tall monument at the corner of 8th and Kentucky caught my eye. It turns out that 807 Kentucky Street was the location of a skating rink, which on February 10, 1899 was the site of the University of Kansas Jayhawk's first home basketball game. The Hawks won 31 to 6. Only about 50 fans saw the game because the gas line had frozen and there was no heat.

I drove the back roads to Berry Hill UPick Farm in Berryton, Kansas. They have done two sunflower plantings this year. It looks like they are 2-3 weeks apart and the first sunflowers are expected in mid August. 

While I was in Topeka, I revisited Topeka Cemetery to photograph the grave of Harold Rudolf Foster. As Hal Foster he created a weekly comic strip based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan of the Apes" which began running in 1929. He drew the strip for 6 years before leaving to start his own weekly strip, "Prince Valiant," which first appeared on February 13, 1937. He continued to work on the comic strip until 1979. Prince Valiant continues through this day and has told one continuous story in over 4,000 Sunday comic strips.

Foster married Helen Wells from Topeka in 1915 and the Fosters lived in Topeka from 1936-1941. Their bodies were returned to be buried in Topeka Cemetery.

Across town, I also stopped at the grave of Carrie Frances Kiene in Mount Hope Cemetery. The grave of 5 year old who died in 1995 has a child statue which is reported to be decorated for the various season of the year. Except for plastic flowers, there were no decorations today.

Lunch was at Korean Garden in Garden City. Kansas. They have limited hours and I hadn't been able to return to this restaurant in 3 years. The dining room is closed and it is carry out only. I had the #5 lunch special - seasoned & fried squid lunch box combo. It came with white rice, a fortune cookie and some banchan side dishes. The sides were less generous than they are when dining in-house, but I still liked the cucumber kim chee.

It wasn't much fun eating by myself in the car, so I just tasted each item and then put the lunch box in the cooler for another day.

I went on to Abilene to have the rest of lunch at Amanda's Bakery & Bistro, which had been recommended to me by a friend. Amanda's fills two storefronts and is a combination of home decor, antiques, old candy and bakery/lunch room. The lunch choices to day were traditional bierock, ham & cheese bierock, or take and bake pizza. The cashier explained that the baking is done at the end of the week and there wasn't much baked goods today.

I decided on one of each bierock and they came out fairly quick. They were almost all dough, with very little filling. I really wanted to like the food, but would have been happier if they were a third of the size with the same amount of filling. The traditional one tasted the better of the two, but it was just too much like eating bread. 

Before leaving town, I photographed several murals and the statue of Dwight Eisenhower as a boy in Little Ike Park.

Moving on to McPherson, Kansas, it has been time for a revisit to the McPherson Museum. 15 years ago, the McPherson Museum occupied an attractive 1920 Tudor Revival home, but in 2013 they built a large modern museum. The new structure had taken the available funds and it took several years for some of the new displays to be built. 

They have had time and the museum is very nice today. My favorite things include the Mid Kansas Model Railroaders layout. Mid Kansas Model Railroaders layout, G. O. Swanson's animated miniature carnival rides, the prehistoric animal fossils and the history of basketball in McPherson, including the 1936 the McPherson Globe Refiners Basketball Team, which formed the core of the US Olympic basketball team that represented the United States in Berlin and won the gold medal. 

Continuing to Hutchinson, I stopped at the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum. The museum closes at 5 PM these days and it was too late to have time to go through the museum, but I did confirm and photograph the portions of the Center which are free to visit, including Liberty Bell 7, replica Apollo lunar lander, a flown SR-71 Blackbird, a restored Mission Control console, exhibits about each of the planets, a cutaway Saturn H-1 engine, gift shop, and more. This free space alone is a major space museum!

With most Hutchinson attractions closed for the day, I spent the next hour photographing some of the murals in Hutchinson. While I was driving across town, I happened to see a small cemetery and a sign which said "Reformatory Cemetery." It took a little effort to find a place which wasn't marked no parking, but I found a spot and walked over to check out this interesting little cemetery.

There were 46 crosses and about 24 other markers. (I was interrupted before I could locate all of them) Many are badly eroded and it appears that less than 10 have names. A few others have just a number. Some of the ones with names are almost completely covered with soil and grass. While I was trying to make a record of every marker and determine if there were faded markings on other stones, a van pulled up and two uniform men told me that I had to leave. That this was state property which is not open to the public. I politely pointed out that although many places up the street said no admittance, there were no signs on the cemetery, but they demanded that I leave.

Too bad, this is a poignant little cemetery which could use some recognition.

I had supper at the Airport Steakhouse & Bar in the small terminal at the Hutchinson Airport. The long running steak house changed hands in February, but appears much the same so far. I was seated by the window but saw only one plane take off and no landings during my meal.

The didn't appear to be short staffed, but my server was quiet slow. I had the 14 ounce rib eye, which came with the choice of two sides for $31. The steak, house cut fires and onion rings all tasted great. They were also very salty. The rib eye was seasoned with black pepper, garlic and a lot of salt. The onion rings were cold, but still tasted well enough that I finished them.

My last stop of the day was the prairie dog colony in the field at the south side of Home Depot. I've known that there was a prairie dog colony in Hutchinson for several years, but the directions I had previously were not correct. This is actually easy to find. It is a great place to sit in your vehicle and watch the black-tailed prairie dogs play. It is the most prairie dogs which I have found in one place and they were not very concerned about people.

I spent the night at Comfort Suites, nearby. Not terrible, but the room was musty and the carpet was not very clean. Breakfast was adequate the next morning.

 

Grinter's Sunflower Farm Main sunflower field
 
 
 
 
 
 

Site of Kansas Jayhawk's first home backetball game 807 Kentucky St.
 
 

Hal Foster grave - Topeka Cemetery Hal Foster grave
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Korean Garden - Garden City. Kansas squid lunch box
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

. O. Swanson's miniature carnival rides - McPherson Museum Swanson's carnival rides
 

Liberty Bell 7 - Hutchinson, Kansas Cosmosphere Liberty Bell 7
 
 
 
 
 

Reformatory Cemetery - Hutchinson, Kansas Reformatory Cemetery
 
 
 

Airport Steakhouse - Hutchinson, Kansas Airport Steakhouse
 
 
 

Home Depot Prairie Dog Town - Hutchinson, Kansas Prairie Dogs

Wednesday - July 27, 2022: The day started with a second visit to the nearby prairie dog colony, starting with a drive around the edges of the parking lots around Hutchinson Mall. There is another prairie dog town at the north end, next to Walmart. The part of the dog town closest to Walmart is apparently no longer used, but there is a small active colony next to 17th Avenue.

I drove to the State Fair Grounds to photograph the grand stands, some monuments and a mural. The sign on the Lair White House said it houses a State Fair Museum and the sign on the door said it opens at 10 AM, so I returned about 10:15. It was still locked up, so I called the State Fair Office and was told that the museum is only open during the fair.

There was still time to kill before R-B Drive In opened at 10:45 and I visited Toy Depot, which had an ad in the Hutchinson Travel Guide, which said they open at 10. It was closed as well.

There were already customers inside when I pulled up at R-B a little after 10:30. R-B is Kansas' oldest drive-in and opened in 1948. A quarter pound cheeseburger, hand cut fries and chili cheese dog were $10 including tax. I had ordered the chili dog without cheese, but it was still good.

The owner, Kirk Johnson, saw me taking photos of the food and chatted for a while. He said that they added DoorDash last year and it has been a big success for them. There are 300 DoorDash drivers in the community and the drivers are waiting for the food to take it as soon as it is ready.

In Newton, I toured the Carriage Factory Art Gallery. Between construction on the front of the building and a large delivery taking place during my visit, it was still nice. I was impressed by the work of Albert H. Krehbiel, an American impressionist who grew up working in the family carriage factory. I would love to see more of his art. I also liked the small amount of information about the factory and it would be nice if that could be expanded. The gallery is operated as a nonprofit and features the art of nearly 50 regional artists.

Before leaving Newton, I photographed a railroad bridge over Sand Creek, then followed the river upstream though town. It is quite beautiful.

With extra time on my hands, I stopped to take some new photos of the Clements Stone Arch Bridge. Although I have returned 2 or 3 times over the years, the photos currently on my page devoted to the 1888 double arch stone bridge were all taken in 2006. After walking a ways downstream to get different angles, I saw two white-tailed deer near the south end of the bridge.

A second stop was made at the Cottonwood River Dam and Bridge at Cottonwood Falls. An enormous log jam has built up next to the old bridge below the dam. 

The Millstream Motel next to the dam has never reopen after closing "temporarily: during Covid in 2020.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

R-B Drive In - Hutchinson, Kansas double & chili cheese dog

Albert H. Krehbiel - Carriage Factory Art Gallery "Edge of the Woods" by Albert H. Krehbiel
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cottonwood River Dam and Bridge - Cottonwood Falls Log jam

 
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