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?