Five Guys Burgers and Fries to Open in March – Manhattan, KS

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*As of April 9, Five Guys is OPEN. 

In August of 2015 Manhattan’s local paper, The Mercury, published an article about the new building next to Chick-fil-A by Sarber Lane at 518 Tuttle Creek Boulevard that will be housing Five Guys Burgers and Fries. In addition to burgers and fries, the menu includes hot dogs, grilled cheese and veggie sandwiches. The restaurant is proud to be freezer-free, using only fresh ground beef. They offer thousands of burger customizations and use only peanut oil. The Mercury article stated building construction was set to be finished last month, in December, with the Manhattan restaurant opening early this year. According to construction workers on-site, Five Guys is slated to open March 7, 2016.

With over a thousand locations nationwide, the chain has been successful since the first Five Guys opened in Arlington, VA in 1986. It’s popularity in Washington DC has continued and spread across the nation. In 2014 Five Guys opened a franchise in Topeka and they also have restaurants in Lawrence and Kansas City.

Food Review | Tallgrass Taphouse – Manhattan, KS

Most locals seem to know that Tallgrass Brewing Co. has opened a new Taphouse on Poyntz Avenue in downtown Manhattan, KS. The Tallgrass brewery, which previously sat just of Highway 24 outside of Manhattan, is now operating in their new location near the airport.  They’ve been quite successful since opening in 2006 and are so far seeing a similar success with the new Taphouse.

The Taphouse opened in early June, about a month ago. A small group and I enjoyed a dinner there for the 4th of July. After a short wait for a table, we were seated in a large, comfortable booth in the main dining area where the full menu is served. Rooftop tables are first come, first served and feature a limited menu of appetizers and pizza. There are three bars (main, rooftop, neighborhood back bar) and rentable party spaces.

For an appetizer we tried the Fire Roasted Edamame. Though the portion was pretty small, they were cooked correctly. It was not completely clear how the ponzu sauce was supposed to be eaten with the edamame, since they come in a shell and pop out like peanuts right into your mouth. The House Salad was a good size and everything seemed fresh. The ingredients were listed out on the menu, with the exception of bacon – a surprise that vegetarians should be made aware of. I enjoyed three vegetable sides: Grilled Asparagus, Sautéed Green Beans and Sautéed Kale. The asparagus was very tasty and cooked perfectly – I wish there had been more of it. The green beans were fresh and crunchy, but not seasoned as well as the asparagus or kale. Some may prefer them to be cooked longer. The kale was excellent, well seasoned and very tasty. I would order each of these sides again.

The first entrée we tried was the Roasted Vegetable Quinoa. As mentioned above, the asparagus were tasty. There were portobello mushrooms atop the quinoa, but the amount of vegetables mixed into the quinoa was disappointing. The portion was generous enough to be filling, but more mixed in vegetables and more seasoning would perk up this dish. Our second dish, Classic Fish and Chips, was a winner. This cod was excellent. The batter breading was not overly greasy, but was a bit thick. There were lots of fries that were well seasoned, only one of us thought they were heavy on the salt. I stole many of these fries and enjoyed them. The Grilled KC Strip (10 oz) was our third plate. The steak was cooked as ordered and full of flavor. The green beans were plentiful, as were the potatoes. Though the green beans were cooked enough, the potatoes were not. The potatoes also lacked adequate seasoning. Overall, each diner was content with his meal. Our server was very attentive and friendly. We also sampled a few of the beers, but this review is about the food!

The Tallgrass Taphouse is located at 320 Poyntz Avenue in downtown Manhattan, KS. They are open daily for lunch and dinner with a weekday happy hour from 3-6pm. Their tap beer selection is impressive and can be viewed on their webpage. Read more about the science behind Tallgrass Brewing in this previous post.

Bella’s Italian Restaurant to Open Location in Manhattan, KS

map of bella's manhattan ks

*Note: as of Spring 2016, the restaurant has closed.*

*Note: as of 11/15 the restaurant is set to open Monday, November 17th.*

*Note: as of 9/16 the restaurant is still in progress and not yet open.*

You may be familiar with Bella’s Italian Restaurant if you’ve eaten at their popular Junction City, KS location. According to co-owner Song Lee, their Manhattan location will be opening in late August (2014) near Ray’s Apple Market West in the old 4 Olives spot at 3033 Anderson Ave. Bella’s serves a range of Italian specialties and their menu can be found online through Urban Spoon.

Co-owners Li Mi and Lee currently operate several Texas Bella’s in addition to the Junction City one. They will be looking to hire staff for the new Manhattan location in the beginning of August. Their chef is already familiar with their Italian dishes as he has been working at the JC restaurant.

Dancing Ganesha Now Serving Indian Food in Aggieville

Full dinner menu for Dancing Ganesha in Aggieville

Full dinner menu for Dancing Ganesha in Aggieville

*Update 9/3/14: New Menu available here*

Earlier this week the kitchen opened at Dancing Ganesha (712 Manhattan Ave) in Aggieville and Indian food is now being served for lunch and dinner daily. Dancing Ganesha has been a fixture bar in Aggieville featuring live music performers and drink specials. They announced last year that they would be adding a kitchen and serving food. This is not the first food venture for DG who already have a successful DG restaurant next to St Thomas University in Minneapolis.

Dancing Ganesha is open daily for lunch from 11am to 2pm and have several lunch specials that include chicken, fish, lamb or vegetarian fare with naan and rice. These specials are not listed on the printed menu, which shows options for dinner fare, served 5pm to 9pm. The full menu, pictured right, includes a few basic appetizers, a selection of entrees and two desserts. The drink menu is pictured on their Facebook page along with recent kitchen photos. Though I haven’t yet had a chance to try the food, I’m glad there’s now an Indian restaurant in Manhattan, KS.

Food Review | Ramen Bowls – Lawrence, KS

Lunch at Ramen Bowls left me with ramen on the brain all afternoon. Let me talk about a fabulous bowl of ramen. I’ve lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles and this is the most memorable bowl of ramen I’ve eaten to date.

Ramen Bowls Kitchen

Ramen Bowls Kitchen

It was by chance that my partner and I discovered Ramen Bowls just off Massachusetts on 10th Street. It was opened in September of 2013 by a couple who had lived in Hawaii and, now in Kansas, missed authentic ramen. I missed the myriad of ramen places on the West Coast and read through the menu (pictured below) in the window. Though there are other menu offerings beside ramen, all I could think was: Hot ramen, yum!

Upon entering, we were offered a table downstairs (there are just a few) or seating in the upstairs loft. We chose the loft, which offered an inviting island feel with colored paper lanterns and light wood. Our server was a delightful Japanese girl who attended to us promptly and with a big smile. My partner ordered the Veggie Ramen and I ordered the Haole Ramen with braised tofu instead of chicken and no onions. The ramen arrived much faster than I had expected and we both enjoyed our first bites. Our server asked if we would like to add some spice and offered Sriracha and house-made chili oil. The addition of the chili oil was really what made the dish outstanding.

Chili oil

Chili oil

Veggie Ramen photo by Stephie G. on yelp.com

Veggie Ramen (by Stephie G. on yelp)

Haole Ramen by John M. on yelp.com

Haole Ramen w. extras (by John M. on yelp)

The Haole Ramen had straight house-made noodles, a chicken and fish broth, and expertly cooked braised tofu (plus the spinach I stole from my partner’s bowl). Add the chili oil and I couldn’t stop eating until the solids were gone and I’d slurped up just about all of the remaining broth. My partner’s veggie Ramen had squiggly noodles, veg broth, spinach, mushrooms and green onions. His broth was tastier than I’d expected and the fresh spinach was great, I just wish his noodles had been cooked 30 seconds or a minute longer. I could not shut up all afternoon about how much I loved the ramen.

Further Reading:

Food Review | (The New) Hibachi Hut – Manhattan, KS

This post contains the current full Hibachi Hut menu and reviews several menu items and the restaurant in general. At the end of February Hibachi Hut opened their new downtown location at 429 Poyntz Avenue.

HH bar hibachi hut appetizer menuPreviously, Hibachi Hut was located in Aggieville. This Collegian article explains the closing of the old location and how the new restaurant came into being. Throughout the transition process, Hibachi Hut’s Facebook and Twitter pages have been the go to sources for information about the restaurant. Now that the restaurant is open, they are serving lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.

Pictured left, the appetizer menu offers choices for both carnivores and vegetarians. We ordered the Tiger Wings and Crab Cakes, pictured below with the Abita Amber Cheese Soup (daily special). The wings were good, sweet and spicy, and came with celery sticks. The crab cakes were larger than expected and fresh tasting, but could have been a bit crisper on the outside. I enjoyed the remoulade that accompanied them, but my partner found it a bit garlicky. The beer cheese soup was served with corn bread. The cornbread was phenomenal, better than some I had last week in Charleston. It came with what tasted like a honey butter and that was just tasty. The soup was a bit thick, but this is not a regular menu item.

Tiger Wings, Crab Cakes & Abita Amber Cheese Soup Hibachi Hut soup and salad menu

Appetizers above, Salads & Soups below

To get some greens I ordered a House Salad from the Salads & Soups menu, pictured right. The salad was excellent – fresh lettuce, plump and juicy cherry tomatoes, small toasted bread croutons, big cucumbers – I left off the black-eyed pea relish… I enjoyed the salad a lot, I just wish there had been more of it as it was a very small side salad.  I’d be very interested to find out what the other daily special soups are.
Hibachi Hut Po' Boys and Bombs Sandwich menuFrom the Po’ Boy and Bomb sandwich menu, pictured left, we ordered a Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy (photo below). To my surprise, the sandwich had popcorn shrimp instead of the full size sea creatures I had imagined. This worked really well and made the sandwich much more manageable. The flavoring was good, I just wish the bread had been a bit crisper. The tater tots that came with it were spot on, nice and crispy. I also enjoyed the hushpuppies, though perfectly cooked on the outside, they were slightly dry in the middle. That concludes our food review. With what we ordered above, there was no room left for an entrée (menu below) or a dessert: the famous bread pudding nor the chocolate lava cake. Hibachi Hut Fried Shrimp Po' Boy

All in all we quite enjoyed our trip to Hibachi Hut. Being new to Manhattan, we hadn’t been to the previous version and this was a pleasant surprise. We felt welcomed from entry to exit. The staff was friendly and conscientious and it was clear that everyone wanted the diners to be happy customers. HH entrees

Above is the Entrée menu. If you see something you like, you should catch it while you can since I’ve been told that they plan to change up the menu in about a month or so. Maybe they’ll also expand the dessert menu!

Baan Thai to Open New Thai Noodle Restaurant in Aggieville

[As of March 1, 2014 Thai Noodle is OPEN and the complete menu is pictured below.]

sign being installed at The Thai Noodle - photo by Baan Thai

Sign being installed mid-February at The Thai Noodle – photo by Baan Thai

In November of 2011, Baan Thai Restaurant opened in Manhattan, KS. Since then they have been doing well and accumulated a mass of customer followers. Baan Thai is located at 1620 Ft. Riley Blvd. in the same strip mall that houses the People’s Grocery Coop. The restaurant is modestly sized and often full at peak dining times. Perhaps this success is what led owners to begin work on The Thai Noodle at 1126 Laramie Street (previously Bull Chicks) in Aggieville, which, according to their Facebook page should be opening in the next few days. I visited the spot last week and the outside was in good order – brown paper sheeting still blocked all of the windows. On February 20th they posted an ad on Craigslist to hire servers. Today I called Baan Thai to see if Thai Noodle is open yet. The lady who answered the phone said not yet and that she didn’t know when it would be. Keep your eyes peeled, this ought to be a good one.

post script

Thai Noodle opened on March 1st, 2014. They can be reached by phone at (785) 320-2899.

Full menu below, click on picture to see larger image.