Tell me where to go

            A local paper included an insert of “The Best of the Flint Hills” this week.  I was so excited to see what establishments had received the most votes.  Where was the best ice cream sundae?  Who had the best coffee?  I was planning trips to visit the chosen places before I even opened the insert.

            But I was soon disappointed.  I couldn’t believe what I found once I did look through the paper.  Category after category listed chain stores and national franchises.  Best fries?  McDonalds.  Best burgers?  Burger King.  There was hardly a single locally-owned, mom and pop business listed anywhere!  This has to be the result of evil ballot box stuffing, the fact that people passing through the area on the interstate were the only ones voting, or the return of dangling chads.

            There are some great places in this area, and every area of Kansas.  The Whiting Café has some of the best pie anywhere.  You not only want to lick the plate it came on, but if you can stop yourself from doing so they should give you a prize.  The soda fountain in Parker’s Pharmacy, in Oskaloosa, makes homemade sundaes and hand-squeezed lemonades that will take you back to childhood in one sip.  Local Burger, in Lawrence, serves sweet potato fries that will make you want to get two orders, just so you’ll have one to eat while they’re making the second one. 

            Since something is seriously wrong with any list that doesn’t give rightful due to our home-grown, locally-owned establishments and businesses, I’ve decided to begin my own search for the best; not just the best of the Flint Hills, but the Best of Kansas.   But I need your help.  Send me your ideas for the best of….anything — from burgers to bourbon, from sushi to shakes.  Where do you go for the best slice of pizza or pie?  What’s your favorite coffee shop or bakery?  The best bar and grill? Where’s your favorite picnic spot?  Where’s the best place to grab those picnic supplies?  Where is your favorite spot to watch the sunset?  What is your choice of first date spots?  Places for the most romantic evening?  There is no limit to our categories, and the only stipulation is that the places need to be locally owned and within the borders of Kansas. 

             So go ahead, tell me where to go.  You can give me your “bests” here in the comment section of this blog, through my email, on Facebook, or however you choose.  I’ll compile a list of all of your favorites and if I haven’t been there, I’ll go.  Then I’ll write about the trip and my experiences, either here in my blog, in my newspaper column, or in a book. 

             Tell me.  Where IS the best of Kansas?

About louannthomas

Speaker & writer
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17 Responses to Tell me where to go

  1. Linda Snyder says:

    Best con queso is at LaSiesta, 201 NE Woodruff, in the Oakland neighborhood of Topeka. Have never tasted any that compare. Turn north at the firehouse off Seward to find this quaint little restaurant nestled in a residential neighborhood. Pan fried tacos are a great follow for the queso.


  2. Kelley says:

    There’s a wonderful chocolate shop in Emporia, the “Sweet Granada”. They rock! homemade chocolates, ice cream, fudge, you name it. Right next to the beautifully restored Granada Theatre on Commercial St. Yum!


  3. Jenny says:

    Best romantic spot for a date is the bench on the hill at Clinton Lake at sunset. Carry up your own bottle of wine and it’s unbeatable!


  4. I am so happy to know about the Whiting Cafe. Plate-licking good? That sort of behavior was never allowed in our household but after six months of pie deprivation, not even my mother could stop me…if it’s really that good.


  5. Linda says:

    Recently, we spent the night at Wilson Lake on our way home from Colorado. The clear water in this lake settles beautifully into the surrounding nearly treeless rolling hills. Maybe it’s because we just returned from the mountains or more likely we are born flatlanders, but it was difficult deciding which was more beautiful, the sun slipping down or raising up from the horizon. From our viewpoint, we had a clear view of both over water. And, yes Jenny, we had a bottle of Smoky Hill Wine.


  6. Leslie says:

    Great request! We were disapointed in the Flint Hill’s insert also. Last Mother’s day my family took us to a neat little family restaurant in Longford Ks. The food was great and service was the best we’ve ever had. It is called the Coachlight. Five of us ate for less then $ 40. Oh, and the city of Longford says it has the purest water in Kansas and we believe them. Please give it a try!


  7. Nancy Pickard says:

    What a great project! There are so many wonderful things to recommend! Where to begin? I’ll start with just one, because it’s in the Flint Hills. Imo, the Hays House has the world’s best steak salad and also the world’s best rhubarb pie. Of course, I’ve never been the the Whiting, so maybe they can prove me wrong on the pie. 🙂


  8. Yvonne Channel says:

    I can’t wait to try the pie! I will be looking forward to seeing and trying more of the Best of Kansas. Thanks LouAnn!


  9. Cindy Zumbrunn says:

    where do I start? Commercial Street Diner in Emporia has the best breakfasts – their omlettes are great – and the best wait staff & cooks in town! Bobby D’s, also in Emporia is a great BBQ joint – you surely don’t go away hungry. (and not just because my son works there). Although not in the Flint Hills, in Hutchinson, my favorite restaurant is Jillians. An Italian place right by the railroad tracks on Main street downtown, they make their own special kinds of pizza, and all their food is Wonderful. And you can see them make the pizzas in an open fire pizza oven. Its worth it to just watch that!


  10. Pam says:

    I have to say that the best ribs are at Guy & Mae’s Tavern in Williamsburg, KS. They bring them out wrapped in foil and newspaper and you get your sides separately. They make their own barbeque sauce and the ribs are definitely “finger lickin’ good”! We’ve tried ribs several different places and G & M’s still are at the top. The wings and ribs are darn good at the Applewood Grill too out by Lake Shawnee on 29th St.


  11. Pam says:

    I should also mention the chili and cold plates at Porubsky’s – along with their hot pickles. Don’t go on Friday though because that is the only day they do not sell chili.


  12. Kate says:

    Peanut Butter Twists at Tasty Pastry Bakery on the square in Clay Center.


  13. Peg Nichols says:

    Totos Tacoz, incredibly delicious Tex-Mex, on the main street of Wamego, almost next door to the restored Columbia Theatre.


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