For what it's worth...
ARTHUR BRYANT'S LEGENDS: 1702 Village West Parkway, K.C., KS, www.arthurbryantsbbq.com
Driving from MCI to Manhattan, we didn't have time to visit the original Arthur Bryant's, so we stopped at this spinoff by the speedway. My burnt ends sandwich ($9.50 with fries) wasn't up to much: the smoke level was barely detectable, so the meat was essentially overcooked brisket. Trying my friend's dishes, the ribs were much better, while the pulled pork was acceptable. Fries were fine. The table sauces were interesting: I liked the tart Original and the sweeter Rich & Spicy about equally well.
The original AB's is still on my list for my dream KC-to-Memphis-to-San Antonio BBQ tour.
LITTLE APPLE BREWING COMPANY: 1110 Westloop Pl, Manhattan, KS, www.littleapplebrewery.com
I ordered my burger medium-rare and it came out medium-well, would've sent it back if I was the kind of guy who sends back dishes. This aside, it was a good burger, with well-seasoned, quality beef. Prairie Pale Ale tasted bad to me: stale-tasting and too sweet, gave it away to a friend who didn't mind that. Their stouts made up for it. The better of the two I had was the XX Black Angus, which was very smooth with some bitterness. I forget the name of the other, a seasonal which was a more easy-drinking Guinness type. Friendly enough place.
AL'S CHICKENETTE: 700 Vine St, Hays, KS, 785-625-7414
Established 1949, this is one of the longest-running restaurants in NW Kansas. The draw is the eccentric fried chicken, which is crisp and dry. One of us had the chicken-fried steak instead and enjoyed that. Good fries, lots of skin. The salad was the least fresh I've ever finished, but I was glad to have it.
If you find yourself taking the I-70 across Kansas, stop here (though not on Sundays and Mondays, when it's closed). If you're deciding between the I-70 and some less godforsaken route, this place shouldn't be enough to sway you towards the I-70.
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