Friday, June 19, 2009

Announcing the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine

Well, after seven and a half weeks of public voting and 13,861 votes later, the recent contest sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation to determine the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine has come to a close and the 8 winners hearby announced. In alphabetical order and without further adieu, they are:

Bobo's Drive In, Topeka: The hamburgers, homemade onion rings, and apple pie have made this place famous since 1953.

Brookville Hotel, Abilene: Moved from the historic hotel in Brookville to Abilene in 2000, the famous family-style chicken menu has been served since 1915.

Cozy Inn, Salina: Since 1922 this 6-stool diner has been serving their famous sliders.

Crawford County Fried Chicken: Chicken Annie's, Chicken Mary's, Chicken Annie's Pichler's, Gebhardt's Chicken and Dinners, Barto's Idle Hour and Chicken Annie's Girard have made Crawford County legendary for fried chicken.

Free State Brewing Company, Lawrence. The state's first legal brewery after the days of prohibition also serves a variety of ethnic recipes.

Guy & Mae's Tavern, Williamsburg. Family-owned since 1973, tender ribs are served in foil and newspapers.

Hays House 1857 Restaurant & Tavern, Council Grove. Located on the Santa Fe Trail, this is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River.

Wheatfield's Bakery Cafe, Lawrence. This nationally-ranked bakery serves healthy meals featuring artisan breads.

Sixteen other great Kansas eateries were named as one of the original 24 finalists that the general public was called upon to vote for, making it a tough call indeed:

Anchor Inn, Hutchinson
Carolyn’s Essenhaus, Arlington
Charlie’s Mexican Restaurant, Leoti
Crazy R’s, Goodland
C.W. Porubsky’s, Topeka
Fritz’s Union Station, Kansas City
Grand Central Hotel, Cottonwood Falls
Hibachi Hut, Manhattan
Homer’s Drive Inn, Leavenworth
Josie’s Ristorante, Scammon
NuWay, Wichita
Olive Tree Bistro, Wichita
Paolucci’s Restaurant, Atchison
Pho Hoa, Garden City
Prairie Nut Hut, Altoona
Trapper’s Bar & Grill, Simpson

Congratulations to the Winners - and I'll be happy to console the Losers! Work, work, work . . . .

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I picked seven of the eight winners. That's easily the best percentage I've ever acquired through the past five 8 Wonders contests.

The Kansas Sampler Foundation relates that votes came in from all 50 states and several foreign countries as well. What an amazing accomplishment. The entire point of the various 8 Wonders contests is to generate interest in what Kansas has to offer and to encourage travel in the state, and it looks like the public is ready to do that by eating their way!

Next up for a vote: The 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs. This contest will kick off in mid-July, so everyone will have time to determine just what a Kansas Custom is. Good Luck!