Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
Art Prints

Prairie Fire - Valencia, Kansas
Friday - April 1, 2023: With the exception of small animals in the attic above our room making noise through the night, we had a pleasant stay at the Hampton Inn in McPherson, Kansas. The breakfast at the hotel is better than average.

Our day began with an appointment to tour Geneseo City Museum in Geneseo, Kansas. The museum is normally open only one afternoon a month, but one of the board members had volunteered to show us around this morning. He said that he would be waiting in his car on Main Street when we pulled into town and he lead us to the museum selecting the streets which are in the best condition. 

The museum occupies the former home of the man who collected most of the exhibits, Dr. Elmer D. Janzen. The museum first opened in the 1960s, when Dr. Janzen was still living in the home. The home and collection were turned over to the community on his death and the museum was open for a number of years, but eventually sat closed for many years. A new board was established to reopen the museum in 2018 and the museum reopened in 2019.

When visiting a small town museum, one of my goals is to find the unique parts of the museum which may appeal to someone who doesn't have a connection to the town. Unique parts of this museum include a large collection of Boston Terrier figurines and half a room dedicated to flying saucer sightings and people who reported meeting aliens or traveling other planets. Geneseo now bills itself as the UFO Capital of Kansas and will host "Saucers & Aliens" - Kansas UFO Day in Dimension "G" on July 1, 2023.

For lunch we stopped at Made From Scratch in Wilson, which is currently open only a couple of days a week. I had heard great things about the fried chicken on their buffet, but today it was a German buffet centered around bierocks, sausage sauerkraut, and perogies. I thought the sausage and sauerkraut were good (particularly after asking for some mustard). I'm not a big berrock fan and this one did little for me. I would have preferred a lot less dough and more seasoning for the content.

Linda's bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich had a lot of great smoked bacon, nice sliced tomatoes, and was served on a good house baked wheat bread. The little bit of her bacon which I tried was my favorite part of the meal. The potato chips which came with the sandwich were decent as well.

Note: they were not accepting credit cards. It wasn't clear if that was today only or a longer term change.

The highlight of this trip was Fools-a-Palooza, the annual April 1 Lucas Art Day. Everything was within walking distance of each other, so we parked at the south end of Main Street and began at World's Largest Things, Inc. It had been a couple of years since we were last here and the interior has been completely redone. It appears well designed to allow Erika Nelson to leave it open with minimal supervision.

A little thing which really tickled me was the reproduction of a Google review from 6 months ago in the front window, "Very small. Mostly has pictures of large things. At least it was free."

We continued up the street to Switchgrass, an art co-op with the work of 22 largely self taught artists. Two demonstrations were in progress: stained glass by Janell Flores and palm leaf weaving by wheat weaver Doris Johnson. Art which I particularly liked included dioramas by Barbara McCreery, and stickers and notebooks by Jade Warden-Scott.

We crossed to the other side of the street, admired the art cars on display in front of the Grassroots Arts Center, and went inside for the open house and unveiling of the temporary exhibit "Wood and Wire: Ozark Folk Instruments." In addition to admiring the instruments, we met the musicians of Still on the Hill (who curated the exhibit) and one of the artists whose instruments are featured in the exhibit, Jim Lee. They explained some of the things which had been done to create the unique instruments.

Next door, Erika Nelson was giving a "Community Mural Process Peek" at Woodpecker Archives, sharing some of the research and planning which is going into a new mural which will be on the Lucas Library.

We stopped by the art show sale and concession stand at the Lucas Community Center and purchased some cinnamon pecans and iced tea.

The inaugural open house of of LeAnne Dalkac's Standing Dog Studio & Art Gallery was up the street. We look forward to returning when there are more works on display.

Across the street the DADA Muse’um and Old Blue Studio were open for the first time when we have been in Lucas. Alan Vopat's art is on display and offered for sale in the museum, which was open today for the first time since before Covid. Some of the pictures had fallen while the museum was closed and you had to be careful of broken glass on the floor.

Next door, Matt Farley was showing examples of some of his previous outdoor art exhibits at the Old Blue Studio. There wasn't a lot to see, but it was a chance to meet Matt and learn that he was creating an art environment in the lot next door, where two pieces have been set up already.

There were two open houses a block away on Fairview Street, so we walked over, first to the home of Barbara McCreery, whose dioramas I had admired earlier in the day at Switchgrass. She graciously showed us through her home, which is decorated in part with her art, as well as having some pieces which had just been completed and not moved to the gallery. There was a steady stream of visitors and one of the recent pieces sold while we were there.

Next door at Garden of Isis, it was a rare opportunity to meet the artist who created that work, Mri Pilar, whose art I have admired since 2005. It was the first time I returned to the Garden of Isis since 2011 and much of the work has changed over in the past 11 years. Although I've appreciated it from the beginning, I feel the changes may make it more accessible and may broaden the audience.

Mri told us about how she began doing this kind of recycled art and the perfect storm which came together to provide her with this space in Lucas. In the intervening years, she has moved from Lawrence to Lindsborg and she no longer drives, so her public appearances are limited.

We took a bit of a break and I stopped by Brant's Meat Market to purchase some frozen bratwurst to take home.

At 4:30, Still on the Hill performed a concert at the Lucas Area Community Theater, using string instruments created by the artists in the "Wood & Wire: Ozark Folk Instrument" exhibit. Kelly and Donna Mulhollan have devoted much of their life to preserving the instruments and the joy they displayed in the performance made it a lot of fun.  Jim Lee whose instruments are some of those featured in the exhibit, was also invited on stage to play one of his beautiful instruments.

Ready to get on the road and head toward home, we called Legacy Kansas in Abilene, which recently opened in the old Brookville Hotel space, and made a reservation for supper. 

Legacy Kansas serves only two dishes and you select which one you want when making your reservation. Their most popular item is the family style fried chicken which Brookville Hotel was famous for:  ½ chicken, relishes, sweet sour cole-slaw, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, cottage cheese, cream style corn, baking powder biscuits and home style ice cream. They do not taste identical today, but are close enough (particularly the sides) that I think most former customers will be pleased.

The second dish is the same sides served with ground beef raised on the owner's Munson Angus Farms. Two 7 ounce patties smothered with sautéed cremini mushrooms and onions. I enjoyed the beef but probably wouldn't get it again. It came with a nice white beef gravy which I liked. It isn't what I would normally choose as steak and they don't ask how you want it cooked.

The old Brookville Hotel was extremely fast at getting food on the table, which is good for a restaurant where many customers are passing though town on I-70, but at least tonight, the new kitchen was extremely slow. Our server worked hard to be attentive and maybe get us our food faster than others. The family at the next table were there ahead of us and their entrees didn't come out until we were halfway through ours. The relishes came out right away, but even though they knew our order before we arrived, it took over 30 minutes for the main dishes to come out. Even then, a leg was missing from the 1/2 chicken and the small replacement leg (from a plate of legs being taken around the restaurant) didn't come out until we were boxing leftovers to take with us. The mashed potatoes were particularly good and I am fond of the corn.

I remember liking the on-site cranked ice cream more before, but it is clearly still homemade and a treat.

Back on the highway, lots of controlled burning could be seen along I-70 between Wamego and Topeka. The fire in the picture at the right was about a half mile north of I-70 near Valencia. Controlled burns help manage weeds, reduce the risk of wildfires and restore nutrients to the soil.


Geneseo City Museum - Geneseo, Kansas Geneseo City Museum

UFO Collection - Geneseo City Museum UFO Collection

Made From Scratch - Wilson, Kansas BLT

World's Largest Things, Inc.- Lucas, Kansas World's Largest Things

Switchgrass - Lucas, Kansas Switchgrass

Grassroots Art Center - Lucas, Kansas  Wood and Wire

Woodpecker Archives - Lucas, Kansas Erika Nelson

DADA Muse’um - Lucas, Kansas DADA Muse’um

Barbara McCreery - Lucas, Kansas Barbara McCreery (right) showing recently completed dioramas

Garden of Isis - Lucas, Kansas Garden of Isis

Kelly and Donna Mulhollan - Lucas Community Theater Still on the Hill

Legacy Kansas - Abilene, Kansas Chopped Steak & fried chicken 

Prairie Fire - Valencia, Kansas Prairie Fire

Wednesday - April 5, 2023: I finally had a chance to check out 2 year old Taco Naco KC Market & Taqueria in Overland Park. which started in a tent at the nearby Overland Park Farmers Market in 2020. Here is the (clockwise from upper left) Baja Shrimp & Chorizo, Brisket Barbacoa and Pork Al Pastor tacos. The Pork Al Pastor (Chicken marinated in achiote topped with cilantro aioli, pineapple onion relish, and fresh cilantro in a inch white corn tortilla) was my favorite by far. I've never had pineapple on a taco before and this is one of the best tacos I've ever had. 

I checked out some of the hot sauces in the market portion of the room and they looked interesting, but there were no prices on them and it wasn't convenient to find out.

I had supper at Broadmoor Bistro in Overland Park, which is a student run restaurant in the Shawnee Mission School District. It is only open on some Wednesday evenings during the school year. They serve a 3 course meal with a fine dining experience for $40.

My meal began with a butternut squash soup amuse-bouche and roll. My first course was coconut curry mussels & grilled naan. The mussels had just the right level of heat and I loved the sauce so much that I ate all of it. the grilled naan was excellent.

My second course of beef short rib, pomme puree, green beans, roasted shallot and bordelaise was almost as good. I'm not that big a mashed potato fan, but really liked this. A fork full of potato, beef, onion straw and sauce combined wonderfully.

I asked my server what dessert she like the beast and she recommended the ky lime. The key lime was a deconstructed pie, which didn't work quite as well for me. I think it was the main issue was the texture and flavor of the crumbly "crust." 

The check came with a nice chocolate chip cookie, full of dark chocolate.

The meal included an offer of a tour of the kitchen, but its hard for me to get away on Wednesday evenings and I couldn't take the extra time.


Taco Naco KC Marke and Taqueria - Overland Park, Kansas Tacos

Broadmoor Bistro - Overland Park, Kansas Curry Mussels

Broadmoor Bistro - Overland Park, Kansas Beef Short RIb

Broadmoor Bistro - Overland Park, Kansas Key Lime

Wednesday - April 12, 2023: Lunch today was at Four Corners Steakhouse & Lounge at Scranton, Kansas, about 12 miles south of Topeka. The car navigation system took me to the wrong location. There is a Topeka Avenue in Scranton, but the restaurant is on the long Topeka Ave. a couple of miles east, just off US-75.

Walking in, it was so dark after the bright sunshine, that I could hardly see. One of the servers said to sit wherever I wanted

Planning to take photos of food and the menu, I found a brighter table on the far side of the dining room. While waiting, I looked at some of the many John Wayne photos lining every wall. The photo at right was from the brightes part of the restaurant

It was a fairly long time before a server brought a menu to my table, saying she had lost track of where I had sat down. It took longer before she returned with my drink and took my order, but I wasn't on a schedule and had a book to read while waiting. 

My chicken fried steak sandwich was pretty good, crispy but tender and with a nice flavor. The thin French fries were a little too crispy. Their texture was about like canned shoestrings.

Four Corners does not take credit cards and if there are signs elsewhere saying that, I didn't see one until getting to the cash register. The menu doesn't mention it. They do have an ATM, for those who were not prepared to pay cash.

Driving into Topeka, I photographed the recent mural on the Olive Cafe and stopped to pick up a printed guide for the upcoming Big Kansas Road Trip at Leaping Llamas gift shop on Kansas Avenue. 

Finally I dropped a camera off for repairs at Phototronic on the north side of Topeka. 



Four Corners Steakhouse and Lounge- Scranton, Kansas John Wayne photos

chicken fried steak sandwich - Four Corners Steakhouse chicken fried steak 

Olive Cafe - Topeka, Kansas Olive Cafe mural


Friday - April 14, 2023: I stopped at Mr. G's Restaurant in Atchison, Kansas for a chili dog. Mr. G's is a drive through and carry out restaurant with a couple of picnic tables outside. There are also a couple of tables inside, but customers are asked to take their food outside. The restaurant is cash only.

Mr. G's is a breakfast and lunch only place owned by the same folks who have the great Cedar Ridge Catering & Banquet Hall a few miles northwest of Atchison. I requested a chili dog with mustard and onion, but it came without the onion. The chili and the bun were decent with a fair amount of ground meat. The dog itself was thick and had a good flavor, but the chili dog would have been better with onion and some hot sauce or crushed red pepper.

The Grand Opening of the new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum at the airport was scheduled for noon and kicked off with a fly over by two airplanes. It was a bright & windy  day and the speakers had a hard time seeing their notes and keeping the hair out of their faces.

There was a good sized crowd including groups of children who led both the Pledge of Allegiance and an acapela National Anthem. Many of the people involved in the creation of the museum were recognized and the program concluded with a ribbon cutting.

The museum was now open to public, but I avoided the immediate crowd and drove back into town to have lunch at JW's Boys BBQ. Brisket with two sides was $22 and an added rib was $3. It didn't seem like a lot of meat for the money, but when it came time to pay, I was surprised that they had given a 15% senior discount. The receipt actually said "if asked for," which I hadn't, but you should probably ask for it if you go.

The thin French fries were cooked just right and my favorite part of the meal. The rib and brisket both had good texture and a bit of a smoky flavor, but weren't seasoned as much as I would prefer. The BBQ sauce and baked beans were both fairly sweet.

Back at the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum, the crowd was gone and parking was available right in front. Adult admission is $15, which seems a little high for a museum of its size. The centerpiece of the museum is Muriel, the only remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E. The type of airplane flown by Amelia Earhart on her final flight. The plane is handsome, but doesn't take very long to see. Visitors are not allowed to go up to the plane or see inside. The edges of the hanger have various exhibits related to Amelia or interactive STEM related to aviation.

The lobby has a gift shop which appeared to be the most popular part of the museum this day. Also a life size video Amelia who welcomes visitors to the museum.

Unless you additionally purchase the Virtual Reality Flight Experience, the museum can be thoroughly visited in 45 minutes.

Before leaving town I did some photography downtown, including the other Amelia Earhart statue in Atchison.


Mr. G's Restaurant - Atchison, Kansas Ordering at Mr. G's

Chili dog at Mr. G's restaurant Chili dog

Atchison Mayor Abby Bartlett

JW's Boys BBQ - Atchison, Kansas brisket dinner & 1 rib

Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum - Atchison, Kansas Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum

Monday - April 17, 2023: I drove to south Overland Park to check out Shagan's, an Indian restaurant which opened in the old Smokey's on the Blvd. location on South Metcalf in 2018. The storefront is an Indian market and primarily takeout restaurant with 4 small tables.

You order at the counter from a list of 8 entrees on a white board. For $13.99 you choose two entrees, a bread and rice. or for $15.99 you get three entrees. This day there were 5 vegetarian items (Gajjar mattar, Kala Channa, Whole Mooghi dal, Veg korma, and Butter paneer) and 3 chicken dishes (Chicken curry, Butter chicken, and Chicken tikka masala). I asked which chicken dish was the spiciest and was told the chicken curry. I was told the bitter chicken was their most popular dish, so I chose them and garlic naan. There was no suggestion that any of the dishes could be adjusted to be more or less spicy.

The sauce of the butter chicken was very rich and my favorite dish. The naan did not taste at all like garlic, but was still good. The servings seemed a bit small.

Following lunch, I drove to the nearby Overland Park neighborhood of Morse to photograph the small 1884 wooden church which houses Morse Village Covenant Church. The church was originally a Methodist Episcopal Church and was a Methodist church until 1985 when it was given to the local historical society. It was sold to the current congregation in 1998.

There are several other nearby buildings which appear to also date to the old Morse Village Days, but they are surrounded by modern development.


Shagan's - Overland Park, Kansas Shagan's Indian restaurant

Shagan's Restaurant Chicken curry & butter chicken

Morse Village Covenant Church - Overlnad Park, Kansas Morse Village Covenant Church

Thursday - April 20, 2023: We had carry out from 7.8.5 Kitchen, an 8 month old restaurant on Gage Blvd. in Topeka, Kansas. The small restaurant has an open kitchen and several tables, but at least while I waited for the order to be prepared, every customer got their meals to go. Most called in their orders and owner LaVale Jackson was kept busy cooking, answering the phone and operating the cash register. Their was no one else in the restaurant but Chipp, a friendly, young emotional support dog behind a gate at the back of the restaurant.

We were all in the mood for catfish today, so we all ordered catfish dinners, with the only variety being what we each chose for our two sides. Between us we had cornbread, gumbo, red beans & rice, fried okra, and French fries. There are only 9 entrees on the menu (fried catfish, wings, burgers, BLTs, chicken sandwich, chicken strip alfredo, cajun chicken alfredo, salmon alfredo, and shrimp alfredo), priced from $8-13.

The catfish is the only dish priced at $13. There is a little less catfish than I would have liked, but the serving was generous at the price and I will probably should have asked how much an extra piece of fish was. The catfish was good, but I will probably try another meat the next time.

All of the sides were good, with my favorite being the gumbo, which is best gumbo I have had in several years. The cornbread was sweet little loves and comes with gumbo or greens. The fries were surprisingly good, but had been cooked ahead of the fish and weren't hot.

LaVale says that everything is made from scratch. He recommends calling in orders about 15 minutes early.


7.8.5 Kitchen - Topeka, Kansas 7.8.5 Kitchen

Chipp the dog at 7.8.5 Kitchen Chipp

Catfish dinners from 7.8.5 Kitchen Catfish dinners

Friday - April 21, 2023: We had lunch at Sandwich Bowl in Lawrence. Kansas. It is a nine year old restaurant with one other location in Harlan, Iowa. They serve soup and an enormous selection of sandwiches, which are listed on black boards which reach about half the length of the restaurant.

About a third of the selection is hamburgers and we tried the $13 Bacon Bleu Burger and $12 Mo Joe Burger. The burgers were served on sub style buns and instead of patties, the meat is in chunks the size of tiny meatballs. Kind of a compromise between patties and loose meat.

The Bacon Bleu has 8 ounces of ground beef chopped with bacon, onion, blue cheese crumbles and topped with lettuce, tomato, and red onions. The Mo Joe is Sandwich Bowl's Sloppy Joe with ground beef, onions, green peppers, and American cheese tossed with the house made Mo'Joe sauce.

They are both really quite good and generous sized sandwiches. They come with the choice of several kinds of kettle chips and we went with Cape Cod Sweet Mesquite Barbeque and Deep River Sweet Maui Onion. 

Sandwich Bowl has Pepsi products in a self serve fountain, but also offers Coke and Diet Coke in cans.


Sandwich Bowl - Lawrence. Kansas Sandwich Bowl menu

Sandwich Bowl hambugers Mo Joe & Bacon Bleu


Sunday - April 23, 2023: We added a new page devoted to the Geneseo City Museum & UFO Museum in Geneseo, Kansas.
Thursday - April 27, 2023: I returned to Grill 32 in Edwardsville, Kansas for lunch. They are in an old stone building next to the Edwardsville Post Office, in the space which once held 4th Street Cafe. The menu is no longer on the blackboard (which has a couple of messages), but is on printed menus. You still order at the counter.

One side of the menu is breakfasts and the other side is almost all sandwiches (there are also chicken strips). I ordered The Bubba, which is a fried shrimp poboy with parmesan cheese, house slaw and 32 sauce on a hoagie buns. It comes with fries and chips, but I upgraded to onion rings. The sandwich was $12.95 plus $2 to upgrade.

I liked the sandwich and would have it again. I just wish there was a crispy element to the filling. The 32 sauce tastes mostly like dijon mustard, which I like, but may be a rude surprise to those who don't like mustard, since there is no hint that they have married mustard and shrimp.

The onion rings are not house made, but are fine for frozen rings.

They don't make it obvious, but Grill 32 has pie made by someone who lives nearby. Today the only kind they had was pecan. It was pretty good, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was room temperature instead of chilled. Serving the pie on a plate instead of in the plastic container used to store it would also improve the experience.


Grill 32 - Edwardsville, Kansas Grill 32

The Bubba - fried shrimp poboy The Bubba

Pecan Pie - Grill 32 Pecan Pie

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