Once Wild West

It's more than a junction.

Once Wild West

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by smallplasticman on March 18, 2007

Hays, Kansas is a bustling city located between Denver, Colorado and Kansas City, Missouri right off Interstate 70. It is a place rich in history. Wild Bill Hickok served as sheriff here for several months in 1869 when Hays was considered part of the ‘Wild West.’ Hays was a violent place. Between 1867 and 1873 there were thirty homicides in the Hays area. Today it is a junction for travelers, college students, rural folks, and business.

There is a lot to do here. Aside from shopping, Hays has a lot to offer. Restaurants are plentiful in Hays, and new ones seem to appear every few months, as some older ones die out. This is one of my favorite things to do in Hays; dine out.
The college students bring with them their thirst for knowledge, truth, and beer and bring diversity and money to the area.

The downtown historical district is marked with placards, statues, and points of interest signs between the current saloons, shops, and diners. The Historical District, or Chestnut District, near Fort Hays State University is the most charming part of Hays. There are many ways for students to part with their cash on any given day. Walking the streets here while thinking about the history is daunting.

The Sternberg Museum of Natural History is just a short drive from downtown Hays, and is located right off Interstate 70. Dodge City is located about an hour south of Hays, another historically violent town rich in history.

Because of its central location, hundreds of roadside attractions can be reached from Hays’ boundaries, including the world’s largest ball of twine.

Hays appears to be a great place to raise a family; the schools are plentiful, there are hospitals and medical clinics, there are things to do, and despite the frigid winters and burning summers, the weather is nice most of the year. The people here aren’t as friendly as their rural counterparts, yet they still offer their midwestern charm and hospitality to strangers.

Hays has approximately 20,000 people and continues to grow. I believe there are opportunities in cities like this and hope to call it home in the next few years.

${QuickSuggestions} Before visiting Hays it might be good to do a little research on historical areas of interest, but for the most part the Hay's brochures can steer you to many. Although the original bodies in the original Boot Hill have been removed the small hill still stands. This small venture shouldn't be missed if visiting.${BestWay} No public transportation here, but if you are drunk or drinking, at a bar, and you need a ride, on certain evenings there is a free taxi service available. I suppose renting a car is a good option if you are a sober driver. There are several car rentals in town.

Jalisco's Mexican Restaurant

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on May 3, 2007

There are many places to eat in Hays, but when I find a place I like I usually return time and time again. Jalisco Mexican Restaurant is one of those places. They offer great food and great prices, and seldom does the customer walk out hungry. As in most places, there is a lunch and dinner menu, with the difference being the small increase in price for dinner.

The chips and salsa arrive quickly to the table while the customer scans the rather large menu. The salsa tastes great, but it is way too mild for my likings. It is served in a small carafe, which is cute, but still, not spicy enough. The staff speak and understand English pretty well, which makes ordering your meal carefree.

Over half the meals come with a guacamole salad, which is basically iceberg lettuce with a medium sized dab of guacamole sitting on top of it. The combination dinners usually come with refried beans and Mexican rice. The beauty of this restaurant is that they don’t put too much of these items on the plate, just enough to compliment the meal. The entrees are usually pretty large and cover most of the plate. I also have heard their margaritas are incredible

The decor here is simple. There are a few piñatas hanging from the ceiling, but most of the interior is drab. It lacks excitement and ambience. The walls could use some art and a creative touch to really make this a cute place.

Although the decor is drab, the food and service here is excellent. Jalisco is located near the Centennial Mall. It is right off of highway 183, which cuts a swath through the City of Hays.
Jalisco's Mexican Restaurant
2514 Vine, Unit 1 Centennial Mall
(785) 628-1238

The Golden Corral

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on May 6, 2007

Generally, I prefer dining in small cafés or locally-owned small businesses, but on occasion, a nice bang for your buck meal with buffet rules is in order. When I get in this mood, there is only one choice in Hays: The Golden Corral.

Their salad and fruit bar is awesome. Dozens of choices of fresh vegetables and fruits and salads cover one third of the food service area. The second third of the buffet is loaded with entrees and hot meal choices. Steak is served to order during suppertime along with the regular buffet meal. The Golden Corral has daily specials and themes, which make getting bored with the already huge assortment of choices available an almost impossible task. The final third food area is overflowing with desserts: cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream, and treats.

Drinks are extra here, so most people opt for water with their meal, although, I was offered a coffee from the table clearer to go with my dessert without charge on two occasions. The staff here works pretty hard to make the dining experience pleasant. They deserve to be tipped for their assistance, even though this is a buffet. My wife and I generally leave a couple of bucks. Children under four years of age are free. This is a great reason for us to take our daughter out for a surprise meal. She loves the food and eats fairly healthily and washes it all down with ice cream.

They are smoke-free and family friendly!

The Golden Corral is located right off Interstate 70 in Hays, Kansas, right next to the Wal-Mart. The address is: 383 WEST MOPAR DRIVE.
Golden Corral
383 West Mopar Drive
Hays, Kansas, 67601
(785) 625-4141

Taco Shop

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on May 21, 2007

The Taco Shop in Hays, KS, has been serving hungry people since 1970. Their formula is simple: produce fresh, tasty food at a reasonable price. They have succeeded, but after 37 years, I think they know that.

The first time I ate at the Taco Shop, back in 2001, I was most impressed by their salsa bar. It is here you can fill up the portion cups with a variety of salsas, jalapeños, onions, and the world’s best fresca. Someone wakes up early to prepare the entire sauce selection fresh, daily. And for a town with beer-drinking college students, my hat goes off to those food preps.

Most items are available for fewer than $3 and there is nothing over $6, so the bang-for-your-buck factor falls into play here. Cold beer is available, as are Pepsi products and water. The Taco Shop runs daily specials, but that’s not necessary, considering the prices are already ridiculously low. They deliver, but I’m not sure if there is a charge or not. They have a website: www.tacoshop.net and are a high speed ‘hotspot.’

The Taco Shop is located in downtown historic Hays at 333 West 8th Street. They are open from 11am until 11pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11am to Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Taco Shop
333 West 8th
Hays, Kansas, 67601-4405
(785) 625-7114


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by smallplasticman on June 18, 2007

Several years ago my wife took me to a little bakery in Hays, Kansas for a German bakery item with meat in it, a bierock. I enjoyed it because it was sweet on the outside and had meat and onions on the inside. It reminded me of the hom-bow, an Asian treat I enjoyed every time I went to Seattle, Washington, at the Pike Place Market.

A few months ago we had heard of a new Vietnamese place in Hays, but after driving up and down 27th Street, we could not find it, and gave up looking. Thankfully, one of our neighbors told us where this place was, and to our surprise, it was located in Schilleci’s, the home of the hom-bow-like bakery item.

Schilleci’s still serves bakery items, deli sandwiches, soft drinks, and snacks, but has now added Vietnamese food to the menu, offering the customer a few more choices, and with a twist of fusion, it adds the east meets west element to a business with a European sounding name. The new owner, Hiep Vuong, is probably the one responsible for this, and for that my wife and I are grateful. We love Asian soups and foods, and have driven long distances to quench our cravings in the past. We now have another favorite place to eat while visiting Hays for our weekly Wal-Mart run.

The spring rolls here are fantastic and are currently a bargain at only seventy-five cents. They were served to us with Hoisen sauce, and as I requested, some fish sauce. Their egg rolls are also the same price, which is amazing considering they are hand rolled and are not made in a factory somewhere. As for the other items on the menu, nothing was too pricey, and most items looked like something we would try on another day. On this day we both tried the seafood noodle soup. It was good, but lacked the fresh basil, bean sprouts, and hot peppers usually accompanying these soups on a separate plate. My wife says it’s because fresh basil is hard to find in this region. We still did enjoy it, especially after dousing the soup with fish sauce and garlic chili paste, and squirting a large amount of the Vietnamese sauce with the rooster on it, to kick it up a notch.

Schilleci’s is a good place to quench an appetite. Whether you’re looking for something Asian or something less adventurous, like a deli sandwich, you’ll probably not be disappointed. The prices are fair and reasonable, and the service is great. Unfortunately, they close at 4pm, so this is mainly a breakfast and lunch place.
Schilleci's Bakery Deli & Catering
1103 East 27th Street
Hays, Kansas, 67601
(785) 625-9009


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on July 2, 2007

Bar-B-Cutie comes to Kansas! They have been in business, and claim to be ‘the world’s best barbecue since 1950!’ With many restaurants in Tennessee, their roots are probably grounded in a place with a rich barbecue history. They have franchises in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Delaware, and now Kansas.

The new restaurant in Hays gave my family a chance to try the place out with a cute name and over half a century of experience in the art of barbecue. We were not disappointed. Immediately after walking in the front door the smell of smoky wood gently teased our nostrils, and induced hunger. There is something awe inspiring about the smell of smoking mesquite and hickory.

The menu at first looks huge, but after sitting down on the cushioned seat located near the registers and menu it didn’t take us long to figure out how we were going to order. The hardest part was deciding which of the eighteen ‘country sides’ we would have with our meals. My wife settled on the half-slab of baby back ribs with fried cornbread and two sides for only $9.99, while I went with the hickory smoked bar-b-q pork on fried cornbread, with two sides, for only $6.95, and a soft drink. Our entire meal, with the free extra plate for our daughter, was less than $20 after sales tax. A bargain considering the amount of food and the quality of everything we received.

Bar-B-Cuties offers, appetizers, which they call ‘cutie-tizers’, salads, a vegetable plate, southern traditional dinners, platters, ribs, hand stuffed spuds, sandwich combos, lunch value meals, a children’s menu, desserts, beverages, a takeout menu, and family packs. Their meats range from their excellent ribs, to chicken, turkey, pork, and beef brisket.

The decor is simple yet nicely done. The picnic-style tables with checkered tablecloths add to the ambience. The walls are decorated with pictures of famous Kansans who were part of Kansas’ history, especially in the Wild West days. The tables also have three types of barbecue sauces available to the customer in handy little squirt containers: spicy, mild, and sweet. They all taste great! Instead of napkins, paper towels on a spindle are also on all the tables. The area near the soda machines has plastic ware, straws, and honey to go with the fried cornbread.

Bar-B-Cuties is located on East 27th Avenue in the middle of Hays, right off Highway 183, about two miles south of Interstate 70. Although it is off the beaten path, or the main drag, it is worth the extra few minutes to drive to eat great barbecue.
1230 East 27th Street
Hays, Kansas, 67601
(785) 621-4720

El Dos De Oros Mexican Restaurante

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on July 23, 2007

Like so many restaurants in Kansas, El Dos De Oros Mexican Restaurante has an appearance on the outside much different than it’s inside. The outside of the building is quite bland, but when you step in the door you are bombarded with sights, sounds, and smells like no other place in Hays. The first thing to get my attention was the very colorful table sets and chairs scattered throughout the dining rooms. In all my dining experiences I’ve not seen anything like this before. The rest of the decor is nicely done, and is what I expect when I dine in any ethnic café or restaurant.

On this dining experience my family and I were quickly seated and had chips and salsa at the table before we could open up the menu. Our drink orders were promptly taken and we began the arduous task of deciding from the rather large menu what we would be choosing to eat on this day. My wife spotted the ‘special’ board near the front and we both chose the same item. Looking back now, I wish we had chosen two separate dishes so we could compare and contrast our meals. We both chose the Molcajete Dinner, probably because it had beef chorizo, shrimp, chicken, and queso, along with peppers and other vegetables. It was served to us in a huge heated and sizzling stone bowl, shaped like a swine, and had guacamole, sour cream, fresco, and tortillas on the side in a separate plate. We assumed it was to be eaten like a fajita, after the ingredients quit sizzling and cooking at the table. This meal was huge and could probably be shared by two people; yet, I managed to finish my entire dinner. My wife took half of hers home and made two meals out of it.

The staff here were attentive to our needs and dished up excellent service. They were courteous, kind, and professional, and helpful with any questions we had.

El Dos De Oros offers dozens of dinners, combination plates, and meals on their menu, along with appetizers, desserts, and a kid’s menu. They serve Pepsi products, but I am not sure if they serve beer or alcohol. I didn’t spot beer signs anywhere indoors or outside. They are open seven days a week from 11am to 9pm. Located right off of Interstate 70 in Hays, in the former Quiznos building, and across from Wal-Mart, it also sits in an excellent location. The address is 1002 East 41st. Street.
Dos De Oros Mexican Restaurante
1002 E 41st St.
Hays, Kansas, 67601

Roma's Italian Restaurant

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on July 23, 2007

Considering I now live in a small town in Kansas, when I make it to the big city of Hays, usually once a week, dining out is always on the list of things to do. Folks in a small town talk, and when they talk about Italian food in Hays; there is one place they all mention: Roma’s Italian Restaurant.

My family and I went to Roma’s between lunch and suppertime on a Sunday afternoon. It was for this reason that I was surprised to see that we were not alone in our quest for Italian food. There were several full tables of families besides us eating. I imagine they do a great business on the normal dining hours for most Kansans.

After being seated we had our drinks ordered quickly and began looking over the menu. The menu is not too overwhelming, but it was hard to make a quick choice, at least for me it was. While still deciding what to eat, warm bread was brought to the table, and eating this caused me to even take more time deciding what to order. The bread was great, and went well with the individual whipped butter containers already located at the tables. I finally settled with the Pasta Sampler, which included: lasagna, manicotti, and spinach ravioli topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. The meal also came with a salad, which was served before the meal arrived, and went well with the warm bread. The house Italian dressing was fantastic, and I’m glad I went outside of my comfort level of always ordering Caesar dressing with my salad. The price was also great for my choice, considering it came with a salad and all the bread you could eat. It was only $6.95, and for the quality and service I received, it was worth every penny. My wife went with the lobster ravioli for only $9.95, and was not disappointed either. I tried a taste of her food and was impressed with the sauce and the visible chunks of lobster contained therein. Magnificento!

Roma’s has a bar, and they serve beer and wine. This is great, considering that wine and Italian food goes so well together, and some folks just like a nice cold beer with their meal anyways. They also serve Pepsi products and iced tea.

Roma’s has appetizers, salads, hot subs, baked pasta, house pasta, chicken entrées, seafood entrées, pizza, a children’s menu, lunch specials, and desserts. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 9:30 pm and Friday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm. They are closed on Mondays.
Roma's Italian Restaurant
2000 East 13th. Street
Hays, Kansas
(785) 621-4491

Pat's Beef Jerky

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by smallplasticman on May 21, 2007

A few years ago my wife told me of a little place outside of Hays that made the ‘finest jerky around.’ I first dismissed her words, figuring she was just boasting about the local meat, but now have become convinced she was correct.

On our way back from a trip to Dodge City, we stopped at this little meat market outside of Hays, in Liebenthal, KS. I was finally going to taste this treat my wife spoke of several years ago.

We quickly spotted the Hot Jerky, and with a nod and a raised eyebrow, settled on that first. We were steered toward the shredded jerky, and without much hesitation, my wife grabbed a bag of original flavor, too. I spotted the t-shirts, and without having tried their meat first, I asked for an extra large. I think it was only $7.50, which was half the price of any shirts I saw in Dodge City, so I was happy to have a souvenir of our little 24-hour vacation nonetheless. The woman told us they ship free on certain orders throughout the United States. Their site: www.patsbeefjerky.com should have all the pertinent information.

We opened the bag in the shop and had a nibble of the Hot. The woman behind the counter was correct; it packed a punch. It was spicy! The meat melted in our mouths and a warm cayenne tingle woke our pores up. Delicious! After buying a t-shirt, a bag of Hot and a bag of shredded, we were on our way back to Stockton, KS via Hays. We opened the bag of shredded and nibbled on that while on the road. Like the Hot, it was ‘the finest jerky around.’

Pat’s Beef Jerky is located in Liebenthal, KS, at 401 Main, right off of Highway 183. Only a 15-20 minute drive South from Hays, it is worth the price of the gasoline to check it out and experience the craftsmanship of the world’s greatest beef jerky.
401 Main
Liebenthal, Kansas, 67553
(785) 222-3341

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by smallplasticman on May 21, 2007

Whether you are a fan of barbed wire, history, or friendly people who love to share their antiques and artifacts with the world, the LaCrosse Kansas Barbed Wire Museum is your place. I’m assuming the elderly people working there and the surrounding buildings are all volunteers, so half the fun for us was being greeted and shown around by these beautiful old women.

The barbed wire museum displays over 700 varieties of barbed wire and related fencing items. The fencing tools on display are one of the world’s largest of its kind. Although the building that houses these items is not huge, it has them displayed in an easy way to view and admire and doesn’t take too long to see most everything they have. The gift shop has many items; including small pieces of barbed wire sticks for sell for one to two dollars. Those items are probably not the best toy or gift for naughty kids. The t-shirts are $15, which I thought was a little high for one color silkscreen design, but probably worth it if you desire to show the world you have visited here.

The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum shares property with the Rush County Historical Museum and the Post Rock Museum, and all can be seen in the same visit easily, unless you chose to make a day of it.

LaCrosse is situated at the intersection of Highways US-183 and K-4, 24 miles south of Hays. Their address is 120 W. 1st Street - located in Grass Park. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Kansas Barbed Wire Museum
120 W. 1st Street
La Crosse, Kansas, 67548
(785) 222-9900


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