For more than 40 years, the chefs have kept Hanover Pancake House’s kitchen alive with whirls of steam dancing above stomach-warming breakfast and lunch dishes. The breakfast menu is full of regular dishes such as omelets and waffles, and expands its horizons to cinnamon-roll french toast and spinach, bacon, and tomato benedict. Lunch fare ranges from hearty grilled hamburger steaks to a santa fe chicken sandwich, which can be simultaneously scarfed down and blogged about with the eatery’s wireless Internet.
Serving savory subs since 1956, the friendly bread bookenders at Jersey Mike’s employ fresh ingredients to gift diners with an extensive menu of handheld eats assembled directly before eager mouths. Sink your ivories into cold subs such as the Jersey Shore's Favorite, where generous slices of provolone, ham, and cappacuolo arrive layered with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, vinegar, and a sprinkling of oil and spices ($4.29–$8.95, depending on size). Chilly diners dissatisfied with standard whole-wheat sleeping bags can warm up next to hot subs such as the Big Kahuna Cheese Steak ($6.95/reg, $10.75/giant) or the chicken parm's infusion of melted provolone, tomato sauce, and parmesan ($6.25/reg, $9.75/giant). Diners seeking munchables as light as a CGI feather can sample the fresh-tossed salad ($3.99) or tuna salad ($6.25). The friendly sandwich sculptors will also happily customize any 'wich to your whims, offering a host of vegetarian options or the utensil-friendly Sub in a Tub, which mixes the ingredients in a bowl sans bread.
The chefs at Pepe and Chela's sauté Mexican cuisine and mix house-made salsa from scratch following traditional recipes. After eyes devour the menu, teeth can show tortillas who's boss by sinking in to the El Jefé burrito, which contains ground beef, chicken, or shredded steak rolling with rice, beans, and cheese ($8.75). Brandish a fork and dive in to camarones a la diabla, devilish shrimp named for the red chipotle-tomato sauce in which they swim ($11.45). Plates of fajitas Locas sizzle as chicken, beef, shrimp, or chorizo lightly dance with peppers and onions ($12.45), and Chela's t-bone travels to cuisine ports with an auxiliary vessel of green salsa ($12.45). Fingers can unclench their forks or a friend's shoes to grab slices of the Mi Amiga's quesadilla and pull away strings of monterey cheese as they cling to black beans and tomatoes ($8.75).
Perhaps counterintuitively, The Burger Stand is not a zone for beef-patty purists. The cooks play with tradition by substituting farm-raised salmon and several vegetarian options, such as falafel and black beans, for the classic meat. Of course the menu features plenty of beef burgers alongside its innovations, though it dresses them in unexpected finery. The Fire burger, for example, sports avocado and a sizzling habanero-cactus jam. Not even the fries are spared the gourmet treatment—The Burger Stand prepares seven types of potato sides, from truffle to duck-fat variants. And all of this comes with a good selection of draft beer from Free State, Boulevard, and other microbreweries.
Lawrence.com recognized the restaurant's specialty with a Best Burger award in 2011 and 2012. Its reach has since extended to a second location in Topeka, where ping-pong, pool, and foosball tables offer safe alternatives to traditional dinnertime games of capture-the-tablecloth. Themed nights welcome guests to sing karaoke and play retro video games such as Star Fox and Super Mario Kart.
Jason’s Deli, which Parents magazine named one of the 10 Best Family Restaurants in America in 2011, has served up an extensive menu of healthy, fresh, and organic deli fare for 35 years. After hearty cups of southwest chicken chili ($3.79/cup) whet appetites, the spinach-veggie wrap ends any take with a cinematic array of mushrooms, organic spinach, and sprouts wrapped in an organic wheat shell played by Robert Redford ($5.99). Chicken paninis smother natural grilled chicken with provolone cheese, pine nuts, and organic spinach between slices of olive-oil-basted french bread ($6.79). For dessert, try a fresh-baked cranberry-walnut-oatmeal cookie ($0.99) or a delectable slice of carrot cake ($2.99) as fluffy and sweet as a punctured teddy bear oozing grape jelly.
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