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Atlanta, Shreveport, Tulsa, Abilene, KC, St Louis, Nashville
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    Post #1 - June 18th, 2004, 10:00 am
    Post #1 - June 18th, 2004, 10:00 am Post #1 - June 18th, 2004, 10:00 am
    I just discovered this site from a post on a few minutes ago. This is my first post here. I will explore the rest of the site soon.

    We are planning a trip in about ten days, and perhaps some of you can provide some suggestions for dining along the way. We will travel in casual clothing, so fine dining is not possible. We are interested in food quality primarily - regardless of ambiance - and need it to be convenient to the various interstates and highways that we will be on.

    We are traveling west from Atlanta on I-20 to Shreveport, then north through Texarkansa and Tulsa to Abilene, Kansas. From Abilene, we will travel east through Kansas City, Saint Louis, Paducah, Nashville, and Chattanooga on our way back to the Atlanta area.
  • Post #2 - June 18th, 2004, 10:19 am
    Post #2 - June 18th, 2004, 10:19 am Post #2 - June 18th, 2004, 10:19 am
    Kansas City has many places for great BBQ. I'm guessing that driving from Abilene, KC would make a good lunch stop. Arthur Bryant's is my favorite but in general most of the BBQ places are pretty good. Here's a good site that has reviews of BBQ in the KC area:

    If by chance you are coming thru Topeka, KS for lunch I would recommend:

    Boss Hawg's Barbeue & Catering Co.
    On the Terrace at Brookwood, 2833 S.W.
    29th, Topeka, Kansas 66614,

    I can't provide much info on your other stops.

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #3 - June 18th, 2004, 10:49 am
    Post #3 - June 18th, 2004, 10:49 am Post #3 - June 18th, 2004, 10:49 am
    Boss Hawg is mediocre, in my experience. Gummy ribs and dry brisket. I wouldn't recommend it.
  • Post #4 - June 18th, 2004, 10:50 am
    Post #4 - June 18th, 2004, 10:50 am Post #4 - June 18th, 2004, 10:50 am
    From Roadfood, you probably know about Ted Drewe's in St. Louis. Your route is obviously a good one for BBQ. If you need another meat place, I can recommend 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro IL, close to 57 just above the split to 24 and Paducah. Paducah, by the way, is supposed to have some good BBQ options, too, though I don't have the specifics.

    Below is a thing I wrote about 17th St.
  • Post #5 - June 18th, 2004, 1:47 pm
    Post #5 - June 18th, 2004, 1:47 pm Post #5 - June 18th, 2004, 1:47 pm
    My KS geography is fuzzy, but if your trip takes you thru Wichita, this recent lthforum thread "Signs, Omens and Ribs: Wichita trip (lotsa pics)" might prove helpful:
    Chicago is my spiritual chow home
  • Post #6 - June 18th, 2004, 2:06 pm
    Post #6 - June 18th, 2004, 2:06 pm Post #6 - June 18th, 2004, 2:06 pm
    If you stop in Topeka (my birthplace and home of the world-famous Topeka Zoo) there is a good Indian restaurant downtown although the name slips me. Just ask someone and they will know where it is (there is only one).

    If you go to Lawrence just cruise on Mass Street and there are a ton of casual restaurants in the college part of town.

    For KC, go with the Q.
  • Post #7 - June 18th, 2004, 4:46 pm
    Post #7 - June 18th, 2004, 4:46 pm Post #7 - June 18th, 2004, 4:46 pm
    Newton is a surprisingly interesting town on your way, Mennonite country and also a college town. There are artifacts from some branch of my family at the museum (I mean, old pioneer stuff, not a couple of Dead Sea Scrolls we had sitting around). My mom said there were interesting places to eat in Newton recently but I didn't get the specifics; I'll see if I can turn anything up. My Wichita report (linked above) is pretty comprehensive for a city that the Sterns have never reported on (I'd call Livingston's Stern-worthy, and that barbecue was pretty good).

    The Sterns talk about the Brookville Hotel, which is now in Abilene, I've actually never been because I suspect it's simply too high capacity to be that good. But I could be wrong and hey, if you're in a place like Abilene your other choices may be Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut, at which point it could look a lot better. There was another famous chicken place in or near Abilene but I believe it's long gone; I'll double check. I think Trillin may even have written about it, or maybe a couple of them that had a rivalry (Chicken Annie and Chicken Mary, that ring a bell with anybody?) Of course, you may have just eaten chicken at Stroud's in KC at that point, in which case you don't need more fried chicken.

    P.S. As far as KC BBQ goes, fine if you want to try something besides Bryant's-- but don't miss your chance to go to Bryant's! You want a beef san with fries, original sauce on, and some extra bread.
  • Post #8 - June 18th, 2004, 6:07 pm
    Post #8 - June 18th, 2004, 6:07 pm Post #8 - June 18th, 2004, 6:07 pm
    Mike G wrote:. I think Trillin may even have written about it, or maybe a couple of them that had a rivalry (Chicken Annie and Chicken Mary, that ring a bell with anybody?) .

    Seems I recall that particular rivalry was in the southeast Kansas area around Pittsburg.

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #9 - June 18th, 2004, 6:47 pm
    Post #9 - June 18th, 2004, 6:47 pm Post #9 - June 18th, 2004, 6:47 pm
    You know, you go to Bryant's because it's Bryant's, and it really is quite delicious, but the burnt ends at LC's on Blue goodness, if you miss that, you're not doing KC BBQ justice. I plan to post more on the KC BBQ thread, but if I don't get a chance to elaborate before you leave, go to LC's.

    5800 Blue Parkway
    Kansas City, MO
    US, 64129
    816 923 4484
  • Post #10 - July 17th, 2004, 3:57 pm
    Post #10 - July 17th, 2004, 3:57 pm Post #10 - July 17th, 2004, 3:57 pm
    We left Georgia, heading for Kansas, early the morning of Tuesday, June 29th. Approaching Murfreesboro, TN on I-24 about 10am, I saw a sign for Corky's Ribs & BBQ. Suddenly it was time for a mid-morning snack - and I didn't need to choose between fast food and convenience stores. I bought a regular BBQ pork sandwich ($3.79) and headed back to I-24. I have heard on various message boards that Corky's franchises aren't nearly as good as the original in Memphis. It still beats the other options. My sandwich was moist, but could have used a bit more sauce. After I had finished my sandwich, I found a container of extra sauce in the bottom of the bag.

    Lunch was at Ferrell's Hamburgers in Cadiz, KY - thanks to a Chowhound contributor. Ferrell's is about three miles west of I-24 off of KY 80 - about a block toward downtown on the right in a small white cinder block building. Inside, the first thing I noticed was the large clock on the wall which stated "Ferrell's Since 1929", which suggests they are doing something right. We each ordered a cheeseburger ($1.20 each, $1.10 without cheese), two drinks ($.70 small, $.80 medium, $.90 large), and an order of chili cheese fries with two forks. This is a house specialty and is very good. The chili was primarily meat, with very few beans. On top of the chili were four half slices of American cheese. A large quantity of fries were underneath it all. We will probably order the same exact food on our next trip. The food was very tasty and the service was excellent.

    An afternoon snack seemed appropriate when we saw Debby's Route 66 Frozen Custard on IL 3 @ I-270 in north Granite City, IL. We ordered a Concrete (similar to a DQ Blizzard) with chocolate chips and pecans and two spoons. Janis chose well.

    Wednesday morning, we crossed the Illinois on a free ferry at Kampsville on IL 108. It was too early to eat at the Kampsville Inn, so we proceeded to cross the Mississippi from Batchtown, IL to Winfield, MO on a toll ferry ($5.00 for passenger cars). We stopped for lunch at the Hilltop Grill on MO 47 just west of US 61 in Troy, MO. We both opted for the buffet ($5.49) which consisted of roast beef, roast pork, chicken, baked potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, tossed salad, several salad dressing choices and bread. It was quite good - especially the two roasts - but we noticed that most of the noon crowd was ordering sandwiches - which were more expensive than the buffet. We may try the sandwiches next trip. They looked very good.

    Wednesday night, we stayed with my son in Overland Park, KS and took him with us to Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbeque at 95th and Metcalf. My wife and son shared a Roundup, which is a two person serving of assorted meats along with a couple of sides and bread. It included ham, pork, pork ribs, chicken, beans and slaw - as I recall. I had a combo plate of lamb ribs and beef brisket. We shared a creme brulee for dessert. My son, who later admitted that he really doesn't like BBQ, said that this was the best BBQ he had ever eaten. Message boards suggest that this is the least impressive of their three locations - more of a corporate feel is how one member described it. Just the same, it was a winner. The place was packed on a weeknight, and the food was delicious. My lamb ribs didn't quite measure up to my expectations, but I may have been expecting too much. They do ship nationwide:

    My son doesn't eat breakfast - plus he started work at 7am. We walked two blocks to Mildred's Coffeehouse, 7921 Santa Fe, in downtown Overland Park. We had noticed it the night before. The food and coffee were quite good, but Janis has no desire to return soon. She ordered a breakfast sandwich and a water while I ordered a cranberry walnut muffin, a cinnamon roll and a coffee. I was handed a cup and directed to choose from the six pots at the end of the counter. It quickly became apparent that all six were empty and the young lady asked which variety I would like, so that she could make it first. After I got my coffee, she went back to the four or five people who had been in line behind us and took their orders. Then she went back to making the other coffees. As I finished my muffin and started on my cinnamon roll, Janis inquired about the status of her sandwich. Janis was told that it would be made just as soon as she finished making the coffee. Janis asked for a refund instead, and quickly asked me to stop eating the cinnamon roll. She ate the rest of it while I sipped my coffee. The food and the coffee were all fantastic. Perhaps by next year Janis will be willing to give them another chance. A two block walk for good food is a find.

    For lunch on Thursday, we picked my son up at work and went to his favorite place - Avelluto's Italian Delight, 6522 Martway, Mission, KS. He obviously eats there a lot because half of the staff greeted him by name. I had the daily special, which on Thursday is Chicken w/Spaghetti ($5.45). The four pieces of chicken on top of my plate of spaghetti was probably about a full breast. I had a lot of food. Janis had Stomboli ($4.25) and my son ordered two slices of cheese pizza ($1.85 each). For dessert we ordered Cannoli ($3.05) - and I wouldn't do it again. Very busy place at noon. Lots of room inside and lots of takeout orders being processed. Fast, clean, pleasant.

    Thursday evening we went to MelBee's on Johnson Drive just east of Metcalf. We each ordered their prix fixe dinner which is $38/$58 with wine pairings. The menu was divided into four sections - appetizers, something else, entrees and desserts - with individual prices ranging from $6 to $26. It was the highlight of the trip. I can't remember the exact twelve items we ordered, but I remember my son particularly enjoyed his rack of lamb. The evening we were there was also the opening night of a new art exhibit at the restaurant. It was explained that a new exhibit was brought in every six weeks - and it began with a reception for the artists, publicists, etc. who enjoyed wine, cheese and fruit from a table along one wall while we dined.

    Friday noon we tried to find a Chowhound recommended Mexican restaurant and gave up after three passes along the street where it should have been. Because of all the traffic we saw going in, we chose to eat at Sol Azteca, 542 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, KS. It was excellent. I ordered Pollo la Parrilla ($5.95) which is described as a 4 oz. chicken breast marinated in their own secret recipe, cooked with onions and served with beans, rice, guacamole and warm tortillas. Janis had the Lunch Chicken Chimichanga ($4.95) and my son ordered two tacos. Very fast and very good.

    Friday evening found us back at 95th and Metcalf at Red Lobster. What can I say? My son loves their popcorn shrimp platter and he had been a very good sport about where I wanted to eat. But I can eat at Red Lobster in Georgia.

    Saturday brunch was at First Watch - a chain I had never heard of, but had seen while we were driving around. They have thirteen locations spread from the Saint Louis suburbs to Lawrence, KS. Check them out at: - they remind me of LePeep. I ordered a Key West Crepe ($6.25) and Janis had the Breakfast Scramble ($6.25). Both were very enjoyable.

    Saturday evening dinner was at Freestate Brewery in downtown Lawrence, KS. It seems to be the most consistently recommended place on the message boards, and my daughter and son-in-law had only been there twice in their eight years in Lawrence. We had a party of eight and arrived at 7pm on a Saturday evening. We were told it would be 30-45 minutes, so we decided to sample their brews while we waited (I tried their Wit Lightning). Seven minutes later out table was available. We were just walking back to the wait area from the bar. They were very accommodating. We had three children (10, 8 & 6), as well as natives of South Africa and Mauritius in our party. That could be a challenge - trying to find enjoyable food for all. Freestate had no trouble doing just that. My daughter felt that her soup wasn't as good as she remembered it being. I finished it and thought she was crazy. It was all very good. We had no leftovers, but I was the only one who thought he had room enough for dessert. It you are in Lawrence, Freestate Brewery is a must stop for food or beer.

    On Monday morning, we drove from Lawrence to Abilene, KS - a distance of about a hundred miles. We had told Janis' mother that we would be there in time for lunch. On the way to the Turnpike, from my daughter's home, I noticed a Runza Restaurant. I had heard about this Nebraska based chain on one or more of the message boards and was anxious to try them out. They are at: - and they offer a variety of burgers, salads, sandwiches and sides, along with Runzas - which are their take on bierocks. They offer three Runzas - Original OvenStuff'd Sandwich ($2.69), Cheese OvenStuff'd Sandwich ($2.99), and Swiss Mushroom OvenStuff'd Sandwich ($3.29). I ordered one of each and we headed for Abilene. They open at 10:30am and my receipt is marked 10:31am. I had to wait for them to be served. When we reached Abilene, they were still warm enough to eat without having to warm them up. I cut each into thirds, and we each sampled all three versions. As fast food goes, this is great stuff. We all liked the Cheese and Swiss Mushroom versions more than the Original.

    Tuesday evening was at the Abilene Pizza Hut with lifelong friends of Janis. What can I say? They comped one of our pizzas because it took so long to get to us. We tied up one of their tables for three hours. We enjoyed the pizza.

    Wednesday evening we ate at Mr. K's Farmhouse Restaurant in Abilene. For thirty-five years (1939-1974) this was the site of the well known Lena's Chicken House. After being closed for twenty years, new owners came in and reopened the place as Mr. K's Farmhouse. Their web address is: - if you are interested. As you might expect, Eisenhower memorabilia abounds. I ordered beef brisket ($7.99), Janis had Chicken-Fried Steak ($7.49) and her mother ordered Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry ($7.99). Mr. Ks is noted for pie and on this evening the choices were peach and coconut cream. We chose the coconut cream, and it was delicious. Typical of small towns, while we were raving about how tasty the pie was, Janis' mother offered to get us the recipe. She knows the lady who makes all of their pies and knew that it would be no problem at all.

    Tuesday lunch was planned for Newton, KS. Several message boards had mentioned a very good place in Newton, but no one could remember the name of it. We stopped at the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Goessel, and after touring their fascinating museum, I asked it they knew of a particularly good place to eat in Newton. After mentioning that there was a good place in Goessel, the cashier looked up The Breadbasket, 219 N Main in Newton and said that this is what I was looking for. Next, it was time for more cash, so I stopped at the Bank of America branch in Newton - where they also recommended The Breadbasket. Their website is: - but it hasn't been updated recently. The original owners operated The Breadbasket from 1984-1991 and the current owners have operated it since 1992. They have an interesting lunch concept. They offer Petite and Regular Soups (8 oz. & 16 oz.), Sandwiches (half & whole) and a Salad Bar (7" & 9" plates). Petite is $2.77 and Regular is $4.04, with two Petites for $5.41 or two Regulars for $7.90 - very efficient once you figure out the system. The table preceeding the salad and soup bar is filled with several fresh loaves of various breads. You slice off what you want and proceed to the bar. They are only open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday - when they offer a German Buffet for $9.69 for adults under 60 years of age. I had two bierocks (much better than Runza), which counted as a Regular Sandwich and Janis had a Regular Sandwich. We shared a dessert that was to die for - chocolate, caramel and nuts.

    Thursday evening we were taken to The Spudder on E 50th St near S Sheridan in Tulsa, OK. This is an oilfield theme steak house that has been around for at least forty years. My Best Man and his wife each ordered Ribeye Steaks - which they always order at The Spudder. I ordered Beef Loin BBQ Ribs and Janis had fish. Dessert was Blackberry Cobbler w/Vanilla Ice Cream. Everything was top notch. The steak, ribs, fish, potatoes, salads and cobbler were all you could ask for.

    Friday lunch was supposed to be at Pete's Place in Krebs, OK - except they start serving at 4pm. Not a problem! We went a couple of blocks east to Isle of Capri and found that they were closed for vacation. July 4th is their standard shut down for vacation each year. It was already noon and we were getting hungry. We decided to stop at the next place that looked decent and hope for the best. You know - like we did before these message boards cropped up. My plan was to drive OK 1 through the Ouachita National Forest - which I had never done before. It is a beautiful but slow drive - 30-50 mph most of the way. The first place we saw, after leaving Krebs, was Gringo Cafe in Hayleyville - just a few miles east of Krebs. There were several cars in front - so we went in. I had the Daily Special - Pork Chops with Gravy, Mushrooms and Noodles. Janis had a Beef Burrito. We both drank Sweet Tea and shared a piece of Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cake (4" square for $1.00) for dessert. Our total bill came to $13.82 and the food was superb. While we were eating, the cook came out with a rag and erased the daily special from the board. We barely got there in time to sample it. Apparently, the practice is to offer one Daily Special (non-Mexican) until it is gone. Everything else on the menu is Mexican food or burgers. They are only open 11am-3pm Monday-Friday. The older woman who waited on us was the most impressive of all we encountered on this trip - and we encountered an amazing number of impressive servers.

    Janis' sister wanted to take us to George's for breakfast on Saturday in Shreveport, LA - but George's was closed for vacation. We then went to Strawn's Eat Shop, 125 Kings Hwy - which is open seven days per week from 6am-3pm. Strawn's pies have been featured in Southern Living a couple of times, as well as on Food Network. They have been in business since 1944. I ordered one of their Hot Plate Lunches ($5.50). There are three meat options available each day. Saturday's choices are Fried Chicken, Meatloaf or Chicken Fried Steak. The other four all chose breakfast items - Pancakes or Eggs. I wish I had had room to sample the pie.

    Saturday evening found us in Tuscaloosa, AL at mealtime, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try Dreamland. 5535 15th Avenue East sounded like an easy address to find, but it's not. We exited from I-20 onto McFarland Ave and should have gone right to McDonald's and taken the next left, which becomes Jug Factory Rd and taken that about a mile or so to 15th Avenue East. That is what we will do next time. This time we wandered around for fifty minutes - asking for directions three times - before finally finding it. The slab of ribs ($16.95) and the two glasses of Sweet Tea arrived almost as we were seated. We were out of Dreamland within ten minutes of having arrived. We didn't realize that the slab of ribs was the only option and that the only side offered is a bag of chips for $.75 - but ribs is what we came for - and now we know. They were good, but I prefer Swallow at the Hollow in Roswell, GA.

    Eleven states in twelve days - and not a bad meal. Thank you for all your help.
  • Post #11 - July 17th, 2004, 4:58 pm
    Post #11 - July 17th, 2004, 4:58 pm Post #11 - July 17th, 2004, 4:58 pm
    Great report. I just got done eating a grilled pork chop w/fried potatoes. Now I'm hungry.

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!