For those traversing Kansas Highway 36, an assortment of dining options awaits travelers. Whether you desire a quick bite or a leisurely meal, you can find numerous establishments in each county throughout the state. This curated list, arranged from east to west, commencing with Cheyenne County and culminating with Doniphan, presents a range of culinary choices for where to eat on Kansas Highway 36. Enjoy your journey and savor the culinary delights along the way.
Table of Contents
St. Francis and Bird City (Cheyenne Co.)
Majestic Service Truck Stop and Restaurant (St. Francis) offers a comprehensive range of services, including fuel, convenience store items, truck parking, U-Haul rentals, and delectable dining options. This popular establishment houses two renowned restaurants, namely Subway and a full-service dining facility.
On my visit with my friend Sara, we enjoyed a delightful breakfast at Majestic. The omelets, accompanied by a choice of sides and bread, particularly caught our attention. I opted for the perfectly cooked hash browns and a side of toast.
Notably, this establishment serves as a local gathering spot where individuals indulge in delectable food and invigorating coffee, all while creating a welcoming ambiance that makes visitors feel at ease.
Big Ed’s (Bird City) is an awesome place to enjoy supper and just a hop, skip, and jump off Highway 36. I met friends there for dinner, had terrific service, loved the vibe and ambiance, and ate a tasty steak dinner.
My steak came with a side salad (praise be for Dorothy Lynch dressing!), baked potato, and yummy green beans.
I saved room for a homemade cupcake, which I had to take with me, but I ate every bite.
Atwood (Rawlins Co.)
MOJO Espresso & Bistro is the perfect way to start your day. Indulge in a delectable breakfast with French Toast, sliced strawberries, and crispy bacon. Accompany your meal with a choice of tea or coffee drink like lattes or espressos.
Need a recommendation? The cookie batter chai is a must-try. MOJO Espresso & Bistro also serves lunch, appetizers, soup, and a variety of sandwiches, with daily specials to tantalize your taste buds.
Please note that they are closed on Sundays.
For lunch, I visited My Place, an esteemed eatery in Atwood. Despite still feeling satisfied from breakfast, I enjoyed a hot ham and cheese sandwich and a side of chips. The unsweet tea at My Place was the best I’d tasted in days. The friendly staff added to the enjoyable dining experience.
My Place was honored with the title “Best Pie in Rawlins County” by the US 36 Highway Association, Inc.
When it comes to dinner, consider Park Hill Restaurant, renowned for its Mexican cuisine. My friend Sara and I couldn’t resist trying the highly recommended homemade sopapillas, refried beans, and queso dip. The queso dip exceeded our expectations and left us wanting more.
The Park Hill sopapillas, available in baby, regular, and extra-large sizes, are the restaurant’s signature dish. Although we opted for the regular size, the baby size would have sufficed. Additionally, you can choose fillings such as chicken, ham, beef, beans, or a combination of meat and beans. A delightful dining experience awaits you at Park Hill Restaurant.
Oberlin (Decatur Co.)
The Landmark Inn boasts a remarkable dining establishment, a well-stocked mercantile shop, and an exquisite bed and breakfast in the historic downtown Oberlin Bank building. Indulge in delectable meals within the Teller Room, which offers a stunning ambiance with lofty ceilings and expansive windows.
With ever-changing daily menus, rest assured that you will find something utterly satisfying.
On my visit, I tried the delightful Monte Cristo sandwich and savored a cup of the most flavorful ham and bean soup. Prior to my visit, a dear friend had shared glowing praises of the heavenly pies and desserts available at The Teller Room, compelling me to indulge in a slice.
The flaky, homemade pie crust was nothing short of perfection, while the garnish of toasted almonds added an irresistible touch.
I am eagerly hoping to experiencing their renowned Sunday brunch firsthand.
For a great lunch or dinner in downtown Oberlin, The Re-Load Bar and Grill awaits. Whether enjoying a meal, watching sporting events, or unwinding with post-work libations, this establishment offers superb ambiance. Re-Load serves daily lunch specials, boasting an impressive beer selection, scrumptious pizzas, and a menu filled with delectable delights.
I had a perfectly-made BLT, accompanied by macaroni salad, while my friend thoroughly enjoyed her steak sandwich. We also had the pleasure of starting our meal with an order of fried pickles served with tangy ranch dressing.
Re-Load is closed on Sundays, so plan your visit accordingly.
Norton (Norton Co.)
During my journey along Kansas Highway 36, I came across an intriguing restaurant, Destination Kitchen, which offers a unique blend of a high-end kitchen, gourmet foods store, and full-service restaurant, complete with a brick oven pizza and salad bar.
I settled on a trip to the salad bar and a bowl of delectable tomato soup, which was a fantastic choice. Destination Kitchen’s salad bar was impressively stocked with an assortment of items one would expect and a few surprises, like garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, carrot sticks, and cottage cheese. Furthermore, the broccoli salad, reminiscent of the beloved recipe in classic Betty Crocker cookbooks, made my day.
The selection of homemade pastries and desserts was nothing short of exceptional. I highly recommend visiting in the morning for a melt-in-your-mouth sticky bun or a yummy cinnamon roll.
Another notable dining option in Norton is the renowned 110 Bar & Grill. I enjoyed savoring their signature item, the Philly Cheesesteak Fries. Indulging in hand-cut fries overloaded with generous portions of meat, cheese, peppers, and onions proved to be a delight.
The owners of 110 Bar & Grill are exceptionally friendly and renowned for their hard work. It comes as no surprise that this establishment is a beloved local spot. However, please be aware that 110 Bar & Grill is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Phillipsburg (Phillips Co.)
Third Street Bakery offers a delightful breakfast and lunch experience that is sure to captivate your taste buds. Their breakfast menu boasts a delectable array of options, including eggs, pancakes, burritos, and an exquisite selection of doughnuts and pastries.
For lunch, indulge in a satisfying burger, sandwich, or soup. I chose the savory flavors of a Chicken Philly alongside a 10/10 delicious macaroni salad, which undoubtedly stood out as the highlight of my entire trip. My slice of peach pie was nothing short of delightful, with big fat sugar crystals adorning the crisp crust.
It’s no surprise that the restaurant attracted a bustling crowd, a testament to the contentment of its patrons. It’s important to note that Third Street Bakery is closed on Sundays.
Smith Center (Smith Co.)
Happy Acre Baker in Smith Center offers a delightful assortment of morning sweets, including their recently added homemade loaves of bread. I can vouch for their mouthwatering cinnamon rolls and delectable chocolate chip cookies, perfect for road trips.
Now, let me share my experience with Center Fire Pizza in Smith Center. Despite not being a big pizza enthusiast, I must admit their pizza was exceptional. The Santa Fe pizza, topped with green chilies, red onion, sriracha, chicken, bacon, and ranch, was a harmonious blend of flavors. The crust was impeccably cooked, allowing the ingredients to shine without overpowering each other.
Given its quality, it’s no wonder the pizzeria quickly filled up. Though it has now transitioned into a food truck, it still retains the charm of a full-service restaurant.
For a taste of nostalgia and classic American treats, Jiffy Burger is a local favorite. Step into this 1950s-themed establishment for soft-serve ice cream treats, burgers, and fries. Their cheese curds are particularly renowned. On my visit, I indulged in a hot fudge sundae drenched in decadent fudge sauce and had no complaints whatsoever.
When it comes to dinner in Smith Center, Las Canteras Mexican Restaurant reigns supreme. The food is excellent, and the service is attentive. I highly recommend trying their Chicken Nachos, which are generously portioned for sharing. Moreover, their queso and salsa both receive high praise. If you’re in a rush, they also offer convenient takeout options.
Mankato (Jewell Co.)
Sweden Creme in Mankato emerges as the ultimate winner, boasting a perfect Reuben sandwich with award-winning fries. Having tasted renowned Reubens across the nation, this one is up there in the top five. The sandwich exhibits impeccable craftsmanship and, surprisingly, comes at a reasonable price of $9.99, inclusive of any side dish of your choice.
Save room for what I can only describe as the best ice cream in Kansas – Sweden Creme’s Brownie Mudslide left me in awe. Every aspect of this local eatery impressed me; not only does it offer a convenient drive-thru, but the staff is also friendly, knowledgeable about their products, and confidently provides recommendations.
Sweden Creme operates daily from 11 AM to 9 PM but is closed on Wednesdays.
Though the hours of Buffalo Roam Steakhouse might be slightly perplexing, their culinary offerings and service quality far exceed expectations. Opting for dinner, I rejoiced upon encountering a lavishly laid-out buffet. The options included:
- Seven main courses.
- A well-stocked salad bar.
- Numerous side dishes.
- Freshly baked dinner rolls.
- A tempting selection of desserts.
The homemade dinner rolls served with real butter alone are reason enough for repeated visits. To add to its charm, Buffalo Roam Steakhouse offers themed buffet nights on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, with the first Saturday of the month dedicated to an indulgent seafood buffet.
Belleville and Scandia (Republic Co.)
Feathered Nest is a multifaceted establishment, combining a sprawling home decor, home accents, gifts, and a custom furniture store with an exquisite espresso bar. There, patrons can indulge in a selection of coffee and teas accompanied by delectable pastries and pies.
Belleville boasts a vibrant bowling alley, Tuxies Ten Pin & Grill, renowned among the locals as a beloved institution. This venue offers an enjoyable bowling experience and serves a delectable assortment of food, including burgers, fish, chicken, and appetizers. Tuxies Ten Pin prides itself on its cleanliness and enlivens the atmosphere with its captivating music selection.
Meanwhile, in the charming town of Scandia, another tempting lunch or dinner option exists at T.A.G.’s Grill & Bar. Inside, guests are welcomed by a warm and inviting ambiance, complete with a well-stocked bar for swift service and traditional dining room seating. The menu boasts a wide array of sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and chicken dishes.
I had a Turkey Club, served on a pretzel bun with a side of creamy cottage cheese. While I did not sample TAG’s salads, my view of several beautifully crafted salads emerging from the kitchen left me longing to do so.
Haddam and Linn (Washington Co.)
The quaint and charming Haddam Cafe in Haddam, Kansas, offers a delightful dining experience with its modest yet appetizing menu. I had the pleasure of visiting on a day when taco salads were featured as one of the daily specials, and it was excellent.
The cafe’s generosity with its selection of meats and ingredients truly stood out. In addition to the daily special, patrons can indulge in comfort food entrees, such as liver & onions, baked pork loin, fried chicken, and delicious burgers.
Haddam Cafe is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
In the friendly town of Linn, Kansas, one can enjoy a delectable meal at the Linn American Legion Club. This establishment attracts a lively crowd who eagerly gather for a superb dinner and a fresh salad bar on select weeknights. I enjoyed attending their Prime Rib buffet night and can attest to the exquisite flavors and quality of the meal.
For daily specials, check their FB page (link above), a reliable source of updated information. Dinner is elegantly served on Thursday to Sunday evenings. The Linn American Legion Club also offers a wonderful Sunday afternoon buffet from 11 AM to 1 PM.
For those seeking a more lively atmosphere, the separate dining room area with a bar is a perfect spot to enjoy happy hour and engage in delightful conversations with the friendly locals.
Marysville and Home (Marshall Co.)
In downtown Marysville, the Wagon Wheel Cafe is an exceptional full-service restaurant and bar catering to lunch and dinner crowds. Its ample space and attentive service promise a memorable dining experience. The Tri-Tips, bursting with flavor, accompanied by coleslaw and white cheddar macaroni and cheese, are just a glimpse of the wide-ranging menu where burnt ends, homemade spinach artichoke dip, and Italian nachos also entice.
Wagon Wheel Cafe is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Another gem in downtown Belleville awaits at EMpTy Cup Coffee Bar & Bistro, an ideal spot for breakfast, sweets, and an assortment of your favorite coffee and tea beverages. Fear not, as cold brew is among their offerings.
You can’t go wrong if you opt for the savory Greek omelet with toast, the tempting Grilled Bacon PB&J, or the delightful Blueberry French Toast. And be sure not to overlook their jaw-dropping selection of luscious cakes, pies, cheesecakes, and mini-Bundt creations. EMpTy Cup is open daily at 7 AM.
Located in Home, Kansas, Little Hap’s Bar and Grill has become a beloved establishment among locals and workers alike. Its menu boasts a range of delectable options, from generously sized juicy burgers and tater tots to chicken strips, beer-battered fish, chicken livers, salads, nachos, and sandwiches. Try the daily specials; arrive early as they sell out quickly.
Little Hap’s is closed on Sundays but welcomes customers from 9 AM to 8:30 PM every other day.
Sabetha and Seneca (Nemaha Co.)
Brick Street Furniture CO + Wine Lounge in Sabetha is renowned as the most sophisticated and refined restaurant along Kansas Highway 36. For an exceptional dining experience, I recommend going for lunch. Not only will you relish their enticing salad bar, but you will also delight that people from far and wide flock here specifically for dinner, particularly on weekends.
It’s worth noting that this establishment shares its space with a charming furniture and housewares shop, offering an opportunity to peruse and purchase exquisite items during your visit – an added bonus!
In Seneca, indulge in a delightful breakfast or lunch at Allie’s Cafe—an esteemed local eatery with excellent breakfast dishes, sandwiches, and pie. If you have the chance, I urge you to have the raisin cream pie, which is incredible. The pies vary daily, including peanut butter, blueberry, coconut cream, chocolate, strawberry-rhubarb, and lemon meringue.
Allie’s Cafe is closed on Wednesday.
Another tasty breakfast option is Sweet Pea Bakery, located in downtown Seneca, offering an incredible assortment of pastries, sweets, and strong coffee. It is also a go-to for the finest donuts along Kansas Highway 36. While I typically rave about Sweet Pea’s exceptional strawberry sweet roll, their cinnamon rolls are a close contender in terms of flavor and satisfaction.
For an exceptional Mexican culinary experience, choose El Canelo Mexican Restaurants, a local chain in East Kansas known for their tasty food and prompt service. I’ve eaten at two El Canelo restaurants: Seneca (Nemaha Co.) and Elwood (Doniphan Co.).
While Nemaha County’s El Canelo holds the reputation for being the most romantic restaurant, Doniphan County’s location boasts exemplary service and a diverse menu. Whichever location you choose, you are in for a great meal.
Hiawatha (Brown Co.)
Hiawatha offers a selection of delightful dining options. First Street Bar & Grill stands out as a local fave, with a menu of bar favorites, like burgers, chicken fried steak & chicken, and a daily special posted on their FB page.
I chose a classic ham & cheese sandwich paired with crinkle fries on my visit. The food was flavorful, and the service was exemplary. It is evident why the locals hold this establishment in high regard.
I feasted on a trio of Greek, Thai Peanut, Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch street tacos for lunch at Rogue Street Tacos. Each taco is prepared to order; the menu changes weekly or monthly. Whether you prefer vegetarian, chicken, beef, pork, or other options, you can find a satisfying combination.
Rogue’s seasonal coffee menu has me drooling!
A visit to Hiawatha would not be complete without stopping by The Bread Bowl. The menu is chock full of creative sandwich creations, soup (served in homemade bread bowls), delectable side dishes, and many tempting sweet treats. I consulted the chalkboard for the daily specials and available pies and cakes.
I chose the Smoky Blackberry Chicken sandwich, with smoked gouda, bacon, onion, and a yummy blackberry cream cheese sauce tucked between slices of homemade bread. The Mac & cheese and broccoli salad were my side items, and I must say I hit the jackpot with them. Leave room for a slice of cake or pie for a perfect ending.
Highland (Doniphan Co.)
Located in Highland, KS, Kirkwood & Co. is an upscale restaurant renowned for its exquisite menu and delightful atmosphere. One cannot help but admire the vision of the restaurant owners who created this establishment to provide a sophisticated dining experience for themselves, friends, and family. That speaks volumes about the quality package they deliver.
Featuring an array of delectable appetizers such as wings, nachos, and fried foods, along with burgers, sandwiches, and stunning salads, the Kirkwood & Co. menu is a true treasure. I chose a savory burger with bacon jam and green beans, which were super tasty and just the right size. I could taste the quality of the ingredients.
I hope this blog post will help you have a much more memorable meal (and good stretch!) than a fast food option right off the Kansas Highway 36 exit. Safe travels!
Some of my meals were paid for as a result of a road trip assignment for various entities. As always, opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.