(UPDATED OCT. 2020) Kansas I-70 is an interstate highway that runs nearly coast to coast, from Utah to Maryland, and directly through Kansas. I-70, one of the first interstate segments in the country, starts in Kansas City and makes its way West to Goodland, a stretch of 424 miles. There are many interesting places to stop and things to see along I-70, but the food scene is equally impressive.
Consider treating yourself to a sit-down meal when driving Kansas I-70 at these tried and true local establishments. It won’t take much longer than running through a fast food joint, and you’ll get to kick back, enjoy tasty food, and be waited on. Here are 14 towns that Kansas I-70 runs though and some suggestions for what to order in each. Happy eating!
You can’t pass through Kansas City without trying the iconic dish that is their claim to fame: BBQ. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is one of the local favorites. Joe’s shares space with a gas station, which only adds to the allure and fun of eating the restaurant’s signature item, the tasty Z-Man sandwiches, or the best-burnt ends in town. Try Joe’s baked beans and dessert-of-the-day.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, 3002 West 47th Avenue, Kansas City
Slap’s BBQ is another local Kansas City barbecue joint serving up mouth-watering meats and homemade sauces. Order your meal at the counter and enjoy indoor or outdoor seating with all of the traditional barbecue favorites: brisket, smoked turkey, burnt ends, pulled pork, and jalapeño cheddar or Polish sausages. Don’t skip the cheesy corn…it is to die for!
Slap’s BBQ, 553 Central Avenue, Kansas City
Luigi’s Italian Restaurant transports you back to the mother country of Italy, where the portions are family size and satisfy your every craving. Start with the Italian Meatballs, topped with creamy béchamel sauce, and then try Shrimp and Spinach Ravioli with vodka sauce for your main course. Top-quality ingredients and a passion for cooking set Luigi’s apart from the competition. Oh, and the phenomenal bread!
Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, 418 Cherokee Street, Leavenworth
Where do you stop along Kansas I-70 for excellent pastries and bread? Bakery Delicateza, that’s where. This family-owned bakery puts a Czech spin on the fresh-baked items they serve, with everything from kolaches to bread pudding, cinnamon rolls to assorted loaves of bread and rolls. The smell alone is worth the stop. Take a box with you to make the road trip even more enticing.
Bakery Delicateza, 510 South 5th Street, Leavenworth
In a town of only a little more than 500, Lecompton is home to Aunt Netter’s Cafe, a great locally owned cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and awesome homemade pie. The Philly Quesadilla and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich are excellent and priced just right. Forget counting calories as the selection of mile-high pies and decadent cupcakes make a great road trip snack. Go for the peanut butter pie—sure to satisfy!
Aunt Netter’s Cafe, 336 Elmore Street, Lecompton
Vegans, Vegetarians, and those craving a trendy, healthy menu will love the cold-pressed juices and dishes at Luckyberry, an eatery on Mass Avenue bubbling with hospitality and excellent service. Start your meal with the yummy truffle Edamame, followed by Bang Bang Shrimp Baguette, Bahn Mi, or Poke bowls. Try the Luckyberry Açaí bowl; a delightful combination of açaí, pistachios, berries, pumpkin and chia seeds, avocado, and oats. Enhance your meal with a smoothie or specialty coffee drink.
Luckyberry, 845 Massachussetts Street, Lawrence
The city of Manhattan is a foodie’s dream. The Chef Cafe serves honkin’ big biscuits with flavorful sausage gravy. At the same time, Varsity Donuts is a must for awesome flavor combinations of yeast donuts, cute souvenirs, and modernized retro space. The Maple Bacon Bar and Barbie Donut can’t be beaten!
The Chef Cafe, 111 South Fourth Street, Manhattan
Varsity Donuts, 704 N Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan
Radina’s Bakehouse (with four locations) is a one-stop-shop for breakfast and lunch favorites with a wide array of handmade pastries and sweets. The almond croissants are bakery perfection, and it’s doubtful you will get out of there without at least one loaf of impeccable bread; perhaps jalapeño cheddar, sourdough, or chocolate cherry? For drinks, try one of the many coffees, teas, French/Italian/Creme sodas, lemonade, soda, fruit smoothies, or orange juice.
Radina’s Bakehouse, 227 Blue Earth Place, Suite 111, Manhattan
At Coco Bolos in Manhattan, the Hot Maryland Crab Dip is a decadent appetizer that the whole family will love, and something you might not expect to find in Kansas. The menu also has a plethora of Tex Mex favorites with a touch of New Orleans, including Burritos, Posole, and Po’ Boys. Branch out and order the Chicken Enchilada Suizas, a palate-pleasing dish that rarely makes restaurant menus.
Coco Bolos, 1227 Bluemont Avenue, Manhattan
Bourbon & Baker has a tapas-style menu with small plates and original recipes offering a unique spin on Deviled Eggs, Cornbread Sliders, and Chicken & Waffles. You may find yourself admiring the dozens of bourbon selections, along with signature cocktails and on-tap wines.
Bourbon & Baker, 312 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan
Taste one of the best steaks of your life at Munson’s Prime, an award-winning steakhouse with competitive prices, gourmet burgers, and a delicious green chile macaroni & cheese. If you are there for lunch, perhaps the $10 quick-serve buffet meal and drink will tickle your fancy. After cleaning your plate, have a serving of homemade ice cream, churned in-house at a photo-worthy station.
Munson’s Prime, 426 Goldenbelt Boulevard, Junction City
Another Junction City favorite is JC’s BBQ & Grill. JC’s menu has classic barbecue dishes, including savory ribs, wings, brisket, and chopped pork. The restaurant’s decor is fun, and the kids will especially love the menu and vibe. Add side dishes like baked beans, cheesy corn, stadium fries, or coleslaw to complete your perfect meal. You may need a parking lot nap after all of the food, but you’ll leave full and happy.
JC’s BBQ & Grill, 812 E Chestnut Street, Junction City
Amanda’s Bakery & Bistro in Abilene is an adorable shop with the addition of a bakery and small eatery, too. This is one of the few places where you can get bierocks on Kansas I-70, as well as gourmet sandwiches, salads, coffee, and pastries. Other favorites include chicken walnut salad, breakfast sandwiches, homemade soups (the Wild Rice is yummy!), and homemade pies.
Amanda’s Bakery & Bistro, 302 N Broadway Street, Abilene
Salina has several outstanding restaurants, but Blue Sky Brewery and Eats is one of the best. Inside this urban-chic establishment, decadent meal creations with some funky ingredients make the menu shine, and this a noteworthy stop.
Dishes such as Brizzas (breakfast pizzas), Mac Daddy Pizza, and the Fig Jam Panini will satisfy the foodie, while the micro-brews, wood-fired pizzas, and locally-sourced burgers are the local’s picks. Stop for Blue Sky Brewery’s Sunday brunch, which features a $5 cinnamon roll that is as big as your head!
Blue Sky Brewery and Eats, 116 N Santa Fe Avenue, Salina
The Cozy Inn is an institution in the state of Kansas. It is one of the few remaining six-stool diners in the country and has been serving the people of Salina sack fulls of mini-burgers (with onions and no cheese—don’t even think about asking for something different!) since 1922. Don’t worry if all six stools are taken; you can order from the new walk-up counter and eat at the outdoor picnic tables. Keep in mind the grilled onion smell inside the diner sticks to your clothing, so be mindful if you choose to eat inside.
The Cozy Inn, 108 N 7th, Salina
Martinelli’s Little Italy is a popular dinner restaurant in Salina. The tastefully appointed restaurant focuses on serving two main dining areas family-style portions with impressive food quality. The Toasted Ravioli is a great appetizer with a hearty marinara sauce for dipping. Both the Lasagna and Martinelli’s Pasta (mushrooms, grilled chicken, and Marsala wine sauce) are excellent dinner entree choices, each served with freshly baked bread. Martinelli’s pizzas are another crowd favorite.
Martinelli’s Little Italy, 158 S Santa Fe Avenue, Salina
Burger Theory is the on-site restaurant at the Salina Holiday Inn, serving gourmet burgers, appetizers, and local beer. A unique and cool menu item at Burger Theory is the Breakfast Sliders, a genius culinary creation featuring sausage, ham, bacon, atop scrambled eggs and cheese. The reputation of the burgers, as you would expect, is stellar.
Burger Theory, 3145 S 9th Street, Salina
In Russell, you must stop at Meridy’s Restaurant & Lounge, a one-stop-shop for delicious home-cooked foods (three meals a day) and dessert. From thick steaks to fried chicken, vegetable beef soup to a fantastic salad bar, and yummy melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls, Meridy’s is a place that will satisfy your craving and leave you a fat, happy camper, in a good way, of course. Note: Meridy’s has Dorothy Lynch dressing on the salad bar—yippee!
Meridy’s Restaurant & Lounge, 1220 S Fossil Street, Russell
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Just one mention of going to Hays and everyone will recommend dining at Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Co. First, try the Duo Dips, one of horseradish and one onion, which pair perfectly with the hand-cut, fried chips. You can get a bierock at Gella’s (or other gourmet burger or sandwich) and pair it with the side of your choice. A zesty German potato salad side dish is a perfect pairing.
Another restaurant pleaser is Gella’s Green Bean Dumpling Soup, a hearty and delicious creation. You’ll love the vast array of beers on tap and cream soda and root beer for the kids.
Gella’s Diner an Lb. Brewing Co.,117 East 11th Street, Hays
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You can be sitting in a table or booth at The Brazen Bull in WaKeeney literally one minute after you exit Kansas I-70. It is that close! You’ll want to start your meal with the sky-high stack of hand-dipped Onion Ring Stack. Consider a steak, burger, or fresh salad for lunch or dinner, but make sure Philly fries are your side dish. What a cool creation, sliced fried potatoes topped with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and melted cheese, seasoned to perfection.
The Brazen Bull, 717 S. 2nd Street, WaKeeney
Are you craving a fantastic Ribeye, Prime Rib, or Country Fried Steak? The Western Kansas Saloon and Grill has them and much more. WaKeeney’s premier sit-down restaurant also has exciting decor that includes many huge locally painted landscapes featuring WaKeeney patrons and a year-round Christmas Tree—only fitting for the Christmas Capitol of Kansas.
Western Kansas Saloon and Grill, 121 N Main Street, WaKeeney
Don’s Drive-In Cafe is an iconic staple and historic restaurant in Kansas. In fact, Don’s Drive-In may serve the BEST burgers in the state of Kansas. You be the judge. Don’t skip the variety of fries and onion rings, both of which are noteworthy.
Don’s Drive-In Cafe, 3448 US-40, Oakley
The Bluff Restaurant and Bar may not have the best curb appeal, but you are welcomed by friendly staff with an almost fine-dining atmosphere with exceptionally good food once you get inside. Recommended are the grilled chicken dishes, especially the one smothered in peppers, onions, and cheese. Corn and potatoes are the side dishes, plus a garden salad. Prime Rib and steaks are in high demand, too.
The Bluff Restaurant and Bar, 211 S. Freeman Avenue, Oakley
What a treat in the town of Colby! City Limits Bar & Grill offers chef-inspired meals, comfort food favorites, and a killer salad bar, chock full of toppings. The Chicken Fried Steak is a highly anticipated offering at City Limits and is so big that it hangs over the dinner plate. It comes with two huge scoops of mashed potatoes and gravy. City Limits also has perfectly cooked pasta dishes, plus a sweet bread pudding to satisfy your sweet tooth.
City Limits Bar & Grill, 2227 S. Range, Colby
The Bricks by Maria (previously Meg) is a cozy spot in Goodland and my favorite restaurant in town. Breakfast offers wonderful biscuits and gravy, with eggs cooked to order and a choice of breakfast meats. Try a Cobb Salad with hard-boiled egg, bacon, red onion, bleu cheese crumbles, and homemade bleu cheese dressing or a premium Angus beef burger for lunch.
The Bricks by Maria, 1530 Main Street, Goodland
Goodland is a great town to jump off I-70 for a succulent steak dinner. At Crazy R’s Bar and Grill, the menu is loaded with crowd-pleasing appetizers and bar food favorites. Crazy R’s decor is fun to peruse, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. Always on the menu are filet mignons, ribeyes, T-bones, and KC strips, while Wednesday night is prime rib night. Dinners come with salad, Texas toast, and your choice of fries or baked potato.
Crazy R’s Bar and Grill, 1618 Main Street, Goodland
Delicious Kansas I-70
There is no reason to hop off Kansas I-70 for a fast food meal when you have so many delicious choices awaiting you from this list. Not only is Kansas a place for amazing scenery and history, but a tasty state, as well.
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I was compensated by Kansas I-70 to take the road trip to 16 towns for the purpose of three articles. Opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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