Food Review | Bourbon and Baker – Manhattan, KS

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving a new eatery opened on Poyntz Ave in downtown Manhattan, KS. Bourbon and Baker offers a unique southern flavor not previously found in this college town. Packed with character, the place is fairly small so you’ll likely be enjoying a drink while you wait if you’re coming to dine. Selection is ample, but bourbon is the main attraction – this is no beer bar.

b&B logo from their webpageSeating choices include spots at the bar, high top tables, long shared tables and a handful of regular tables. As we opted for a private table, the wait was longer, around 30 minutes – on a Wednesday. It’s hard to say whether this was because of the recent opening or will be the norm as word spreads.
photo of Bourbon and Baker from their website

photo of Bourbon and Baker from their website

 The food menu is comprised of small plates, think tapas style, and slightly larger small plates. Dishes are meant to be shared and there are enough options for even picky eaters to find something worth sampling. The two of us split two small plates, three larger small plates and two sides, which was just about the right amount of food for us with no leftovers. Our selections included fried asparagus, fried chicken and waffle, pan-fried walleye, shrimp and grits, esquites (bowl of roasted corn, tomatoe-poblano relish, cotija cheese, sour cream, etc.), corn bread and a grilled ear of corn.
The asparagus were very thin, likely for visual appeal, and were very crisp and tasty. The chicken breast was a good size, but a bit moist for my taste. My partner had no problem finishing it off. The quarter waffle was great and would have been even better spared the syrup drowning. I enjoyed the walleye after the breading fell off, which was crispy, but a bit thick. My partner thought it a bit fishy tasting, but it smelled and tasted fine to me. A traditional southern dish that I’ve loved in the restaurants of Charleston, the shrimp and grits here were not a contender. The andoullie sausage was flavorful, but unavoidable in every bite of grits. The grits were ok, but had several lumps. The collared greens on top were the best part of this dish and I would have ordered a plate off them if they’d been on the menu. My favorite dish was the esquites, which was colorful and flavorful. The cheese and cream were rich, but really pulled this plate together.

There is no shortage of rich flavor here, from duck fat fries to braised pork belly, but it would have been really nice to see just one salad option on the menu to freshen and lighten up a meal with so many fried components. Dessert offerings included a tempting cake of the day, but we were too full. Cheers to our waitress, Cheyenne, who did an excellent job and the rest of the staff who kept our waters full and empty plates quickly cleared.

Their menu is now posted online – the bourbon and bar menus are more extensive. At the time of our visit the bakery hadn’t yet opened, but we were assured it wouldn’t be far off. The bar and bakery will be open different hours than the restaurant kitchen. Additional information about Bourbon and Baker can be found on their facebook page.


About amy de simone
Amy is an active volunteer, traveler and photographer. She is interested in art, libraries, museums and nonprofits. She holds an M.A. in Library & Information Studies and a B.A. in Italian Language & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2 Responses to Food Review | Bourbon and Baker – Manhattan, KS

  1. D E Kiss says:

    Hi Amy — I was downtown MHK last night and walked by this restaurant. Was pleasantly surprised when I searched for information today to find your review!

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