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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Otto's Mill Falls - Fredonia, Kansas
Friday - March 1, 2024: We added a new review to our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide, Lee's Summit, Missouri's Filling Station BBQ in a old Texaco station, a really cool looking building with about 9 tables inside. The smoked meats and Smoky beans are worth the trip.


Filling Station BBQ - Lee's Summit, Missouri Filling Station BBQ
Sunday - March 3, 2024: We had lunch at Blind Box BBQ in Shawnee, Kansas. After finding long waits for tables during their Sunday brunch, but their website now has a wait list and we clicked it as we were leaving church. Actually there was no wait anyway today.

Blind Box has a large lunch buffet, but we decided to order the dishes we wanted, at half the $32 brunch price and have leftovers to take home with us. It made a lot more sense, though we did covet the buffet dessert table. We had a half BBQ chicken dinner and a Podium Platter with beef burnt ends and brisket. The meats were all excellent.

Each meal came with choice of two sides from an excellent offering and we went with onion straws, hand cut fries and BBQ street corn (elote). The onion straws and corn were both rather salty, but I liked them a lot.


Blind Box BBQ - Shawnee, Kansas Blind Box BBQ brunch desserts
Tuesday - March 5, 2024: We supper at Cronan's Bar & Grill in Lenexa, Kansas as I prepare to add them to our Kansas Best Burgers list. Tonight we had soft tacos and beef fajitas. I had never had their fajitas before and was impressed. Dishes like this are more subjective than some others, but I loved the seasoning on these.

They also came with some things that I'm not used to, steamed rice, refried beans and pickled jalapeno peppers. I really enjoyed this meal (for only $14) and particularly appreciated the jalapenos.


Cronan's Bar and Grill - Lenexa, Kansas Beef fajitas
Thursday - March 7, 2024: Today was the first Thursday in March and I made my annual visit to Joe's Kansas City for the Corned Beef Burnt Ends Reuben which is available as the lunch special every Thursday through the month of March. They have become so popular that this year they will be available through April, and also Saturday, March 16th.

It was a good chance to update our review of Joe's original locaction in Kansas City, Kansas. The sandwich was still a treat, but I didn't care quite as much for it this time, there didn't seem to be as much meat and many bites included none. The onion rings, which I hadn't had for several years, were good for ones which appeared not to be hand made.

Lunch was followed by a trip to Bonner Springs, to revisit the Wyandotte County Historical Museum, which I last visited in 2007. Perhaps in deference to the county name, nearly half of the museum is devoted to Native Americans, both the indiginous Kanas nations and the emigrant ones.

A signifcant portion of the more recent history of the county is devoted to the Kansas City, Kansas fire department.


Joe's Kansas City - Kansas City, Kansas Corned beef burnt ends Reuben

Wyandotte County Historical Museum - Bonner, Springs, Kansas Wyandotte County Historical Museum

Friday - March 8, 2024: Much as we enjoy the food at Sierra Grill in Lenexa, we stopped going there because of the very high noise level at their new location. Today we decided to go there for lunch when they aren't very busy. There is still a a significant amount of background noise, but nothing like the noise and in the evening and we were happy with the experience.

We had a steak sandwich with fries and a fish bites appetizer with fingerling potatoes. The fish bites were the highlight of the meal. The deep fried mahi-mahi was a real treat.


Siera Grill - Lenexa, Kansas Mahi-mahi & fingerling potatoes
Sunday - March 10, 2024: We attended the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Shawnee, Kansas. It is always held on the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day. This entry was promoting the Annual Duck Race, a fund raising event that wad held later in the afternoon.

We added a new burger to our Kansas Best Burger list and a new page devoted to Cronin's Bar & Grill in Lenexa, Kansas.


St. Patrick's Day Parade - Shawnee, Kansas St. Patrick's Day Parade
Wednesday - March 13, 2024: Although I visited the new Meat Mitch BBQ in Leawood, Kansas several times, shortly after it opened in 2022, my life was complicated at the time and I never got around to adding it to our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide. I revisited the restaurant today so that I can add a new page about it.

I really liked the brisket smash burger "Royal Double" the first time I had it and was considering it for our Best Kansas Burger list, but was less impressed when I had it a second time, so I ordered one today. It wasn't bad, but the meat was cooked too much for me to really enjoy it. At least the price hadn't increased from the $12 it was a year and a half ago, although it still seems a little small for that price with no sides included.

The $5 French fries were a generous serving, though the thin fries didn't have much flavor.

I did thoroughly enjoy the caramel apple bread pudding, which was $9 including a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was large enough to share, but too good to want to share. I would be tempted to come here just for the dessert.


Meat Mitch BBQ - Leawood, Kansas Royal Double

Caramel apple bread pudding

Friday - March 15, 2024: We are off to spend the day exploring the area south of Topeka. On our way, our first stop was at Black Jack Battlefield, just east of Baldwin City. The park devoted to the pre Civil War battle has largely changed since I was last there. It has been expanded and the Robert Hall Pearson Farmhouse (from a later period) has been added. There are interpretive signs explaining the events of the Battle of Black Jack.

On our way through Baldwin City, we stopped at Oakwood Cemetery to visit the grave of Rev William Marion Runyan, who composed the music to at least 90 hymns, including "Great Is Thy Faithfulness!" We failed to locate that grave , but did photograph the grave of Methodist Bishop William Alfred Quayle, who graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City in 1885 and for whom the Quayle Bible Collection at Baker is named.

Continuing west, our next stop was about 4 miles west of Burlingame, Kansas, where we photographed the remains of the Havana Stage Coach Station which was built in 1858, and operated until 1869. Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts can be found nearby and we searched for the grave of an United States Army dragoon soldier, Samuel Hunt, who died in 1835. We found a space that appeared to be fenced off, but did not see the headstone and did not cross the fence to search farther.

Lunch was at (Hell) Razor Roadhouse a few miles farther in Harveyville. The menu is quite limited, primarily hamburgers. You choose the size (1/4 pound single, 1/2 pound single or 1 pound double) and then select from a number of cheeses, sauces and condiments. Although it wasn't listed, I requested mustard, but my burger came without it and the server did not return to the table until we were finished, so I couldn't ask again. My burger was cooked well done instead of the medium I ordered and was rather dry.

The burgers are a bargain, costing $10.05, $12.95 or $15.95 and coming with a generous serving of hand cut fries and no charge for accompaniments including cheese, bacon, grilled onions, mushrooms, grilled jalapenos and more.

The North Lyon County Museum in Admire, Kansas is normally closed this time of the year, but LeRoy Boline, the president of the North Lyon County Historical Society had agreed to meet us and give us a tour of the museum. The museum occupies the library and computer lab in the old Admire school building, which became the Admire Community Center after the school closed in 2010.

While the museum is fairly modest and contains primarily newspaper clippings and photographs, rather than artifacts. the exhibits are well designed and have effective, informational labels. I think it offers more to interest people who do not have a connection to the community, than many local historical museums. Displays which I found interesting included the Admire train wreck of 1948, the stone bridge, the Burlingame Trail, the accidental bombing of Reading, Kansas in 1943, and the Admire meteorite which was found in 1881 in Kansas by a farmer plowing a field.

LeRoy encouraged to visit the stone bridge, which carries Road 330 over Hill Creek a half mile west of Admire. The 13' wide one lane bridge was built using locally quarried stone in 1917 & 1918. The road was once known as the "pole highway, because it once had red, white and  blue land markers mounted on the adjacent telephone poles and was the main east west road prior to the construction of K-56 a mile north. It was named the Memorial Bridge because it was the oldest standing structure in Admire during the 1986 town centennial.

We drove back to Burlingame to revisit the Schuyler Museum, which I had last visited in 2006 when it was just 6 years old. The museum does not appear to have developed much in the intervening time and some exhibits which I enjoyed the first time are gone or smaller. In 2006 I particularly missed the previous large display of beautifully restored toy cars from the collection of Maynard Smith. 

Before leaving town, we stopped on Main Street to view the Burl Oak which is listed on the Travelks list of Things to do in Burlington. The 11' around burl was removed from the tree and for display, but it has rotted. The carving once done on the burl is no longer visible and there really is nothing remaining to see.

Our final museum to visit today was the Osage County Historical Society Museum in a nice old storefront across the street, south of the county courthouse in Lyndon, Kansas. The museum is closed November through March, but I was told there would be volunteers working in the Hawley Research Center and we could tour the museum.

Genealogy research seems to be the main focus of the Historical society. The museum is small and for the most part displays items without context, mainly with information about the donors.

We drove up to Topeka, and I made my fifth visit to the grave of Carrie Frances Kiene at Mount Hope Cemetery. Various sources have reported the statue of the little girl at the grave is dressed for the each season of the year and that no one knows who does it. The previous 4 times I've checked, it has never been decorated, but today the statue was wearing a sun bonnet.

where my father-in-law joined us for supper at North Star Steakhouse on the north side of Topeka, Kansas, which began as the North Star Supper Club in the 1940s. The restaurant is quite dark and I was afraid it would be hard to take photos of the food and menu, but we were taken through the front room to a larger dinning room where the booths all had lights over the tables.

There is a small menu of $13 "prohibition cocktails" and I tried their Old Fashioned, which is described as Ezra Brooks Rye, house blended bitters, house made demerara syrup, muddied fruit, and served over a large ice cube. Not bad, though the description was more exciting than the drink.

We had fried catfish, bone in pork chop and ribeye. The meals were reasonably priced at $19.99, $21.99 and $39.99. They came with rolls, salad and family style sides. The sailed was fresh, chilled and came with a generous covering of dressing.

We had fresh cut fries, hash browns, gravy, baked potato and broccoli so we had every side they serve. They were all good and they would have brought more if we requested.

The large pork chop comes heavily breaded and seared in vinegar. Much more breaded than we would prefer. The 16 ounce ribeye was ordered with a $4.99 serving of onions, mushrooms and peppers and that was a nice addition. Although at first glance it looked like the outside was over cooked, my steak came medium as ordered, and I was quite happy with it. We had plenty of leftovers to take with us.


Robert Hall Pearson Farmhouse - Baldwin City, Kansas
Pearson Farmhouse

Havana Stage Coach Station - Burlingame, Kansas Havana Stage Coach Station

(Hell) Razor Roadhouse - Harveyville, Kansas 1/4 & 1/2 lb burgers

North Lyon County Museum - Admire, Kansas
North Lyon County Museum

Memorial Bridge - Admire, Kansas Memorial Bridge

Schuyler Museum - Burlingame, Kansas Schuyler Museum

Osage County Historical Society Museum - Lyndon, Kansas Osage County Historical Society Museum

Carrie Frances Kiene grave at Mount Hope Cemetery Carrie Frances Kiene grave

North Star Steakhouse - Topeka, Kansas North Star Steakhouse

Saturday - March 16, 2024: We had the breakfast buffet at the Kitchen Table in Fredonia, Kansas is a nice Mennonite owned restaurant which moved into the old Western Diner location in early 2018. The Saturday buffet is 7 AM - noon and includes: biscuits and gravy, homemade cinnamon rolls, French toast, pancakes, homemade syrups, bacon, sliced ham, homemade sausage links, fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits, cheesy scrambled eggs, bread pudding, fried potatoes and cheesy hash brown casserole.

It was all good, but I felt the baked good were standout. Particularly biscuit with their house made strawberry jam. cobbler and two kinds of cinnamon rolls. Linda preferred the frosted cinnamon rolls, but I thought the sticky ones were fabulous.

It had been over 10 years since we last visited Otto's Mill Falls on the Fall River, just below Fredonia. It is a beautiful location! We found, someone had set one of the snags on the shore on fire. It was just smoldering, but we called 911 so they could make sure it didn't spread. It looked like it had been smoldering for hours.

Supper was at Culinaria in Lawrence, Kansas. We had never visited the Mediterranean restaurant before. it is in a building which was originally constructed for the Kansas Cavalry after Quantrill's Lawrence raid in 1863.

We decided to share chicken shawarma and carne asada hummus. Both dishes were recommended by our server

The hummus was recently added to their ongoing specials. Apparently it had been on the menu before and had been requested by many customers. It was spicy and wonderful.

We didn't realize that the shawarma had chicken on one side on top and potatoes on the other. By accident we each took chicken in our first helping and liked, but then I got some of the crispy potato. Wow!

I wanted to try one of their sweets as well and went with the ricotta doughnuts with lemon curd. The serving had three large doughnut holes. It wasn't bad, but wasn't a treat either. The lemon just didn't do much for me. We didn't finish it.


Kitchen Table - Fredonia, Kansas Cinnamon rolls

Otto's Mill Falls - Fredonia, Kansas
Otto's Mill Falls

Culinaria restaurant - Lawrence, Kansas Chicken shawarma & Carne asada hummus

Wednesday - March 20, 2024: I added a new page devoted to the Marshall County Historical Society's museum in Marysville, Kansas. While you are there, check out the local mascots, the black squirrels.


Thursday - March 21, 2024: I added a new page devoted to the National Memorial to Fallen Educators which is located in Emporia, Kansas at Emporia State University as part of the National Teacher Hall of Fame.


Saturday - March 23, 2024: We have another new page. This one is devoted to the Koester House Museum and Garden in Marysville, Kansas.
Saturday - March 30, 2024: Our page devoted to Bill & Janet's Nature Museum in Hardtner, Kansas has been archived, Bill and Janet moved to Alaska and the collection was transferred to the Cherokee Strip Museum in Alva, Oklahoma.

Had lunch at Cronin's Bar & Grill in Lenexa and had a hand cut pork tenderloin and pizza. I got omiom rimgs with the tenderloin, but the serving was smaller than usual. The hand made personal pizza is a bargain at $8 including mozzarella and 4 toppings!



Cronin's Bar and Grill - Lenexa, Kansas Pizza

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