Pictorials | Manhattan, Kansas, USA – market month photo 14

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Giant Asparagus, Cico Park. 2016. Manhattan, Kansas, USA.

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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.

Food Review | Café Du Qvondeyz On The Garret – Manhattan, KS

Three months ago, on November 14th, a special new Creole and Cajun restaurant opened in Manhattan. Café Du Qvondeyz On The Garret is located at 3003 Anderson Ave, suite 953 (in the strip mall where the DMV used to be next to Rays West). Chef Que Purdy came from Louisiana to join her daughter who was attending K-State. The Qvondeyz Family has been successfully catering in Louisiana since 1992.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

After hearing great things about the food, I decided to give the place a try. I was also warned that the wait for the food might be longer than expected.

My partner and I split an appetizer of fried green tomatoes. These were very tasty. They were not at all greasy, the cornmeal breading was crispy and mostly adhered to the tomatoes, and the flavor of the tomatoes came through. The remoulade also had great flavor. I would definitely order these again.

As an entrée I ordered the fried Catfish Platter with sides of baked mac & cheese and green beans. The catfish was ok – it didn’t seem as fresh as I’d hoped, but at least did not taste fishy. The green beans were much more flavorful than I’d expected, but were rather cool. The mac & cheese was excellent, very creamy and hot. The toast was buttered and grilled and added to the dish. Maybe next time I would try the blackened catfish instead of the fried.

My partner ordered the Creole Jambalaya. This dish was well spiced and very flavorful. The serving contained a generous amount of chicken and sausage and was a hearty size. I managed to eat about a 1/3 of the rice and my partner still got enough to eat. I was glad that neither onion nor pepper flavor dominated this dish and I would certainly eat this again. Unfortunately, they had run out of corn bread at the time of our visit so we were unable to try it.

The food was the good news of our visit. As for the not so good news… At the time we dined, the kitchen exhaust fan was inoperable which caused a backup of cooking smoke in the dining area. Hopefully this will be fixed soon and will not affect future diners. The restaurant seems inadequately staffed and the waitstaff not yet fully trained. This, too, should improve with time. Because of this staffing issue, the wait for the food was longer than an average diner would consider acceptable. If you are prepared to wait for good southern food, it’s certainly worth a try.

Café du Qvondeyz On the Garret is open daily for lunch and dinner, but closed Sundays. Since I had issues finding the full menu online, I am providing photos below that I took of the menu in the restaurant.

Qdoba Mexican Grill on 3rd Joins Downtown Manhattan Restaurants

Qdoba on 3rd Grand opening

Qdoba on 3rd Grand opening – photo from Qdoba Twitter

October 27th, 2014 was the grand opening of Qdoba Mexican Grill on 3rd Street near historic downtown Manhattan, KS. Located at 320 N. 3rd in the space that used to house Anytime Fitness, Qdoba’s grand opening benefitted the Flint Hills Breadbasket, raising over $4800 in proceeds. Qdoba on 3rd is open daily from 11am – 10pm.

Other Mexican (loosely used) eateries in the area include:  Carlos O’Kelly’s at Manhattan Town Center, Chipotle on Manhattan Ave in Aggieville, CoCo Bolos at Manhattan Ave and Bluemont in Aggieville, La Fiesta Mexican at Kimball and HWY 24, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop at 12th and Laramie in Aggieville, La Hacienda Taqueria off Anderson and Seth Child, Hillside Cafe on Stagg Hill Rd near Galaxy Dr, Taco Bell off HWY 24 and McCall Rd, Taco Casa at 17th and Fort Riley, Taco Johns at 3rd and Leavenworth, Taco Lucha at 12th and Moro in Aggieville, El Tapatio on Stagg Hill Rd near Seth Child, Los Texanos (previously El Mariachi) off HWY 24 near Sarber Ln, and a (seasonal) food truck off HWY 24 south of Kimball. Make sure you keep on top of your ethnic eats and let me know if I missed any!

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.

Billy Vanilly Cup-cakery Open in Manhattan, KS

billy vanilly cupcake

billy vanilly cupcake

I’d heard that cupcakes were coming to Manhattan, and now they’ve arrived. Billy Vanilly claims to be Kansas’s first cupcake bakery (originally called Daddy Cakes cupcakes in Topeka in 2007) that has since been successful at their Massachusetts St. location in Lawrence. They sell several varieties of made-from-scratch, baked fresh daily cupcakes with one of the most popular varieties being the namesake billy vanilly. A special treat at the Manhattan location is ice cream sandwiches made with fresh baked cookies and KSU’s Call Hall ice cream.

Billy Vanilly rotates through lots of different flavors and with weekly specials, sometimes choosing which cupcakes you take home can be a challenge. I’ve tried six and my personal favorite is the peanut butter cup, which boasts an incredibly creamy, peanut buttery frosting. The photo below shows the kinds I’ve sampled: red velvet, oreo, death by chocolate, peanut butter cup, i love lemon and wedding cake. billy vanilly cupcakes

Nine everyday flavors include:

  • billy vanilly – classic vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream topped with sprinkles and a cherry
  • the retro – dark chocolate cake filled with vanilla cream dipped in chocolate and topped with swirls
  • death by chocolate – dark chocolate cake with bittersweet ganache dip and chocolate velvet frosting
  • red velvet – southern style buttermilk cake with cheesecake buttercream and candied pecans
  • peanut butter cup – chocolate cake with peanut butter & vanilla frosting and peanut butter cup pieces
  • cookies and cream – chocolate cake with Oreo cookies ‘n’ cream buttercream topped with an Oreo cookie
  • strawberry shortcake – strawberry swirl cake with pink strawberry buttercream – a local favorite!
  • i love lemon – lemon cake with fresh lemon curd topping and tangy lemon frosting
  • 24 carrot – moist carrot spice cake frosted with vanilla buttercream
Manhattan Billy Vanilly

Manhattan Billy Vanilly located near the corner of Bluemont and Tuttle Creek behind Olive Garden

Billy Vanilly Manhattan opened May 15, 2014 and is located at 705 North 3rd Place, Suite D in the strip between Noodles and Wheat State Pizza behind Olive Garden just off Tuttle Creek Blvd at Bluemont Ave. They are open daily from 10am to 9pm and can be reached by phone for special orders at 785-320-6800 or through their Facebook page.