Little Apple Eats: The Core of Local Noshes
BY: Angie Sutton
Ask anyone who’s ever lived in the Little Apple and they’ll agree: to know this town is to love it. You’ll find a laid-back stroll through the progressive downtown area lined with boutiques, museums and communal greenspaces. Near to many hearts is the central district of Aggieville where you can grab a cup o‘joe by dawn and catch the electric vibe by dusk. Surrounding this hub are pockets of shopping centers that have a draw in their own right.
There is a playful energy that runs throughout the city. Whether you’re exploring the parks and trails, catching a football game or shopping, the core of this region is its dining diversity and the unique atmosphere. Luring foodies eager to explore the vast cuisine available is a simple feat. Standout dishes are the buzz with locals and visitors alike.
Ella Casey, marketing director at Sunset Zoo and Wamego resident, agrees that Manhattan is a destination when it comes to dining out.
“There are so many good foodie options in Manhappenin’,” Casey says. “It’s a great place to dine with your spouse for a special occasion with an upscale feel or just meet a group of friends and kick back for an evening out.”
Her favs include the Peanut Butter Tacos at Taco Lucha and Bourbon and Baker’s Chicken and Waffles.
“You definitely see choices that are as unique as the town is,” she says. “That’s a draw for the region because visitors can shop or visit an attraction and then know that they can count on a great place to eat.”
Damian Hilton, long-time Manhattan resident and business owner with his wife Heidi, says he can write a book about eating out in Manhattan.
“My family and I really enjoy exploring the different restaurants and there truly are a lot to choose from,” Hilton says. “I like dishes with a lot of spice so the 4 Alarm Burger at Big D’s Burgers and the Crank It Up and Head South Burger at So Long Saloon are high on my list of favorites.”
Harry’s in Downtown Manhattan was recently named, “Best Restaurant in Kansas,” by Business Insider magazine. This establishment has been a community staple for 25 years with their attentive service and well-executed entrees.
“It’s definitely a testament to the creativity of our restauranteurs and their willingness to stand out with dining options in all price ranges,” Casey says. “Honestly the attention to detail to create an atmosphere conducive to a great experience plus the amazing dishes are what makes dining at the core of our community.”
Manhattan is where tech meets taco, where honky-tonks and artisans co-exist. Find out what the locals know and where you might dine on your next evening out.
No shopping trip to Manhattan Town Center is complete without a gourmet cinnamon roll from Mrs. Powell’s Bakery. Jane serves them all day, along with her popular bierocks. On a hot day, a quick trip into Call Hall Dairy Bar to grab a cone or dish of Purple Pride will delight your tummy. Thirty-five flavors of ice cream are made on the K-State Campus by the Department of Animal Science and Industry with all ingredients being produced from the KSU Farm Units. If you’ve ever been a student at K-State, one of your fondest memories is likely enjoying this delectable frozen treat.
“Run it through the garden” is a popular choice for topping off your burger with everything at Big D’s Burger Shack. Hilton’s top choice is the 4-Alarm Burger laden with fire sauce, onions, jalepenos, pepper jack, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers. But don’t worry, if the sauce isn’t your boss you can dress up the Big D 1/3-pound burger to your liking.
Head down to the ‘Ville and grab a bar stool at So Long Saloon where you can order up a Saloon Burger grilled to perfection or top it with a fried egg, crispy bacon, melted cheese and mayo, a.k.a. the Resist Temptation. But you’ll want to add a side of the Chipotle Raspberry and Black Bean Dip. Topped with a bit of zesty cheese and scooped up with tortilla chips, this lil’ dish will make your taste buds tingle.
“I always order the Saloon Burger and the raspberry black bean dip,” Kimberly Bird, K-State grad and Manhattan resident, says. “Some people think the mix of raspberry and black beans is questionable, but try it once and you’re hooked! It is bean dip perfection!”
There’s no shortage of chicken-based menu options in the Little Apple. Chicken and Waffles at Bourbon and Baker paired with the Whisky Punch is on the list of creatively-plated noshes you can enjoy. Taco Lucha’s buffalo chicken taco, including cabbage as an ingredient, tops Hilton’s list of spicy palate-pleasing meals and can be washed down nicely with the “Nancy” prepared at the bar.
Head north just off the beaten path to a casual vibe at The Little Grill. Order the Jamaican Rum Punch, a house specialty, while enjoying a bit of the island atmosphere. Order the Jerk Chicken which is flame-grilled and covered in their house Jamaican Jerk Sauce.
“My husband, Jason, says every piece of chicken they cook out there is absolutely amazing,” Bird says. “The atmosphere is really fun and it makes the entire evening out a great experience.”
“When my husband and I want to celebrate a nice evening out, we’ll head to Harry’s in downtown Manhattan,” Casey says. “My husband, Matt, and I enjoy the elegant dining room and upscale menu options offered.”
Casey’s favorite is the Filet Crab Royale but you’ll also find duck, sea scallops, snapper and Atlantic Salmon on the dinner entre menu. Follow it up with Harry’s Housemade Cheesecake, if you have room!
The Little Apple is literally bursting with tastefully-authentic menu items making your night (or day) out a fantastic foodie experience. To be a Manhattanite is to explore the core of local noshes and enjoy them fully.