Do you enjoy your dinner with a side of history? If so, you are in luck as Kansas is home to numerous restaurants with a fascinating story. We all know about the Historic (and tasty) Hays House and Brookville Hotel, but did you know about these 11 other historic restaurants?
1. Fritz's Chili (Overland Park)
What is now Fritz's was originally Dixon's; an early 20th-century chili-cart-turned-sit-down-restaurant that became popular not only with the locals, but with Harry Truman as well. After Life Magazine published a photo of President Truman eating at the small diner, the restaurant's momentum soared even higher, leading to new Dixon's Chili restaurants in both Missouri and Minnesota. After Mr. Dixon's death in 1964, the Overland Park restaurant was sold to the Fritz family and has operated as Fritz's Chili Parlor ever since.
2. Renaissance Cafe (Assaria)
Have you ever eaten at the Renaissance Cafe and thought, "Hmm... something about this place reminds me of high school, but I can't put my finger on it...?" Don't worry; you're not the first---and you're actually on to something, as the Renaissance Cafe is housed in the old Assaria High School gym, which was built in 1919.
3. Bunker Hill Cafe (Bunker Hill)
Great food and history go hand-in-hand at the Bunker Hill Cafe. Located in an unsuspecting 1916 limestone building, the Cafe's now-home was once a drugstore turned pool hall, until it was finally purchased and turned into the now popular Cafe in 1974.
4. Tavern On the Plaza (Coffeyville)
The mid-19th-century theme of the restaurant was not one that was chosen at random. In fact, the building that the bar and restaurant call home was originally built in 1872 and sat in the line of fire of the infamous Dalton Gang shootout, where five members of the Dalton Gang lost their lives after attempting to rob two banks across the street from the Tavern.
5. Hillsdale Bank Bar BQ (Hillsdale)
Any guesses as to what the old Hillsdale Bank Bar BQ used to be? Nooooo, not an old grain elevator... it's in an old 1906 brick bank building.
6. Idle-A-While Bar and Grill (Cherokee)
Since 1935, Idle-a-While has been serving up yummy bar food and beer from the same corner location.
7. Caenen Castle (Shawnee)
After a series of tragic and unfortunate events, the recently immigrated Remigius (Remi) Caenen family purchased 100 acres of land near Shawnee, on which they built both an elaborate stone barn and castle. After Remi's death in 1949, the Castle served as a nursing home and then nightclub until it was purchased by Chef Renee Kelly in 2003 and converted into the ever-popular Renee Kelly's Harvest - A Farm To Table Restaurant.
8. Dagwood's Cafe (Kansas City)
They sure don't make diner food like they used to... except at Dagwood's, of course, who has been serving their amazing made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch since 1938.
9. Beaumont Hotel (Beaumont)
Opened in 1879 as a railroad stop and stagecoach, the Beaumont Hotel is now a popular tourist destination, complete with a nearby airstrip and quaint 1950s style diner.
10. Sommerset Hall Cafe (Dover)
Norma's coconut creme pie isn't the only thing that's legendary about Somerset. For years, the late-1800s building served as the town's general store, as well as the meeting place for the local Lodge. Today, the Dover Lodge still meets upstairs, but the downstairs area is reserved for the Cafe and small market.
11. Trail Days Cafe & Museum (Council Grove)
The famous Hays House isn't the only historic restaurant in Council Grove. Trail Days resides in the 1861 limestone Rawlinson/Terwilliger home that once sat beside the famous Santa Fe Trail. For nearly half of the 20th-century, the home served as a gas station, but was later closed and abandoned, leaving the once lovely home in a state of disarray. Fortunately, the home was purchased and renovated in 1994 and has served as a hub of history and hospitality ever since.
Have you been to any of these historic establishments? Share your memories in the comments!