Warm sugar fills the air at Derby Donut, where freshly baked donuts, iced sugar, cookies, and decorated cupcakes draw in customers from miles around. Pair a melty, sweet cinnamon roll with one of 100 varieties of cane-sugar soda in glass bottles, or engage a frosted snowman cookie in a conversation about the dreadful weather.
Neon beer signs cast blue, green, and red light across the black ceiling, and tables populate with okra, mushrooms, and cauliflower starters—all deep fried to a golden crunch. An enormous projection TV broadcasts the latest game amid the pulse of a jukebox, and several flat screens promote revelry at the weathered wooden bar.
For more than 20 years, this casual sports bar has unleashed its signature third-pound burgers on Derby, topping them with everything from whole grilled-cheese sandwiches to chili and nacho cheese. After two-handing hot dogs or brisket sandwiches, guests can test their motor skills with the bar's free Xbox 360 with Kinect game base, or improve their coolness quotient by ordering the trendiest new summer drink: water on the rocks.
At Derby Family Entertainment Center, bowlers coast toward high scores atop 24 lanes outfitted with automatic scoring and bumpers for younger guests. On the weekends, cosmic bowling casts a celestial glow across frames. And during karaoke Fridays, competitors exchange balls for a microphone to serenade nearby pins until they fall over or at least pick up the bar tab. Away from the synthetic playing field, a 1,100-square-foot arcade jingles and jangles with games for all ages, and cheers leak out from inside Kegler's Sports Bar and Grill, which often broadcasts WSU or Kansas City Chiefs games on a massive, 60-inch screen.
Make & Take Meals provides a space for busy cooks to assemble and customize simple, pre-prepared meals chosen from a menu stocked with hearty freezable entrees that feed about six. Select the entrees you would like and schedule a time to come in and prepare your meals. A staff member will show you to your first prep station, where all the necessary ingredients, already chopped and prepped, are laid out, waiting for assembly like a tastier, less sassy version of Mr. Potato Head. The menu rotates monthly, but recent items include a chicken almond bake ($25, $13 for half), a casserole of tender chicken chunks in a velvety alfredo-white-wine sauce mingled with rice, celery, and onion and crowned by parmesan cheese and almonds. House favorites include calzones ($24, $12 for half) and chicken enchiladas ($24, $12 for half). After assembling the meal and customizing it to your tongue papillae preferences, make like a housecat and leave the cleanup to the in-house staff.
A mural of a wheat field is frozen on the wall of Wheat State Pizza, where chefs hand-toss pizza crusts made with whole wheat as well as white and gluten-free pizza disks. With 35 different toppings to choose from, diners may customize pies like a bejeweled jean jacket, or opt for signature combinations such as the pad thai with peanut sauce, sesame oil, siracha sauce, and crushed peanuts. Barbecued-beef sandwiches and custom calzones round out the menu, and dessert pizzas with blueberry-pie filling, cream cheese, and streusel topping cap off meals. Wheat State Pizza also offers an outdoor patio with umbrella-topped tables for alfresco dining.
The quick-serving cooks at Spangles engage appetites in a '50s-themed dining environment, having recently bolstered the menu with a saucy taste of the Far East—Wok 'n' Roll Bowls, which come in three flavors ($4.49 each). The sweet chicken teriyaki and sirloin steak spoon with stir-fried carrots and broccoli on a bed of steamed white rice, and diners longing for legumes can sink their teeth careening into the spicy kung pao chicken bowl crowned with peanuts. Keep thirsty mouths from imbibing ketchup packets by dangling a pair of 32-ounce soft drinks in front of them ($1.69 each). Ten varieties are available, such as tropical punch, green-peach tea, Pepsi, and root beer.