Whether you’ve got a hankering for hearty Italian fare, mouthwatering barbecue or award winning steaks, Salina, Kansas has something to suit. Featuring a tiny burger joint in continuous operation for almost 100 years as well as Korean eats, here’s some of the very best of Salina’s dining scene.
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Serving diners in Salina mouthwatering barbecue for more than 30 years, Hickory Hut has grown from humble beginnings as a food truck in the early 1980s to a one of the city’s most popular barbecue joints. Still run by its original owners Dale and Robin Blake, Hickory Hut, as its name might suggest, cooks all its barbecue over hickory wood for maximum smoky flavor with tasty meats like pork ribs, BBQ chicken, beef brisket, burnt ends and Polish sausage available. Team your barbecue feast with a side like baked beans, coleslaw, sweet potato fries and onion rings.
Located a short walk from the Kansas Wesleyan University campus, Bogey’s is a local dining favorite serving up delicious diner-style grub and is perfect for guests looking for an alternative to big fast food chains. Bogey’s menu features plenty of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and wraps. Diners with a sweet tooth will love the restaurant’s famous milkshakes, as there’s 101 different flavors to choose from ranging from hot fudge cheesecake to peanut butter and jelly. If you’re in a rush, Bogey’s has a handy drive thru for diners on the go.
Blue Skye Brewery and Eats
A must-try dining destination for lovers of craft beer, Blue Skye Brewery and Eats is a microbrewery and restaurant offering house made beers, wood fired pizzas and tasty pub fare. It’s a hip space located in historic downtown Salina and despite only opening its doors in late 2013, Blue Skye Brewery and Eats is already becoming a firm favorite with local diners. Choose from pizzas (you can build your own or opt for flavors like bacon cheeseburger and Thai chicken), burgers and other eats like quesadillas and nachos. Team with one of Blue Skye’s very own beers like the Mugler’s Revenge IPA, a smooth, big bodied Indian pale ale.
The Cozy Inn
Open for more than 90 years, The Cozy Inn is one of Salina’s longest standing restaurants and often hailed as Kansas’ most iconic venue. Carrying on the traditions of founder Bob Kinkel, The Cozy Inn’s current owners serve up delicious, no frills slider burgers cooked on the restaurant’s original grill in the same small, diner-like space the venue first occupied. If you’re looking for fancy toppings, you’re in the wrong place as The Cozy Inn’s sliders are topped with onion only and legend has it that an employee was even fired for topping its sliders with cheese. Though this simple approach is a definite hit, as the restaurant was named USA Today’s Best Burger Joint in Kansas.
If hearty, traditional Italian fare gets your taste buds tingling, then look no further than downtown Salina’s Martinelli’s. Opened by owner Tony Dong and his family, the friendly neighborhood joint is one of the city’s preferred Italian restaurants. It has authentic atmosphere with a homely dining room complete with cute checkered tablecloths and background music provided by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Martinelli’s menu features plenty of Italian classics like chicken masala and spaghetti marinara alongside a range of St Louis-style pizzas and tempting desserts like tiramisu and cannoli.
Tucson’s Steakhouse Saloon & Grill
Voted the city’s favorite steakhouse ten years running in the Salina Journal Readers’ Choice Awards, Tucson’s Steakhouse Saloon & Grill is a Salina dining go to for juicy steaks and chops. Whet your appetite with a starter of tiger shrimp and bacon skewers or flame-broiled jalapenos before devouring one of Tucson’s delicious steaks, all hand-cut, certified Angus beef, like the huge 22 ounce cowboy-cut ribeye. If you’re not in the mood for steak, opt for the tempting baby back ribs or apple glazed pork chops instead.
Serving healthy, tasty Korean cuisine in a friendly, casual space, Seoul USA is an ideal option for diners hankering after a culinary experience that’s a little out of the ordinary. Though Seoul USA’s menu is relatively small, it’s perfect for an introduction to Korean fare with plenty of classic dishes like beef bulgogi, bindaetteok (a mung bean pancake filed with vegetables), bibimbab and gimbab, which is a Korean-style sushi made with carrot, pickled radish and crabmeat. Wash it all down with a cup of Sujionggwa tea for a truly authentic Korean meal.
With a homely space full retro Americana and some of the best loved pizzas in town, The Scheme is a family owned downtown Salina dining tradition. Inside, The Scheme is cozy and laidback and the restaurant takes a do-it-yourself approach to pizzas. Guests can choose their own toppings like Canadian bacon, pineapple and buffalo meat. Alternatively, opt for one of The Scheme’s hearty deli sandwiches (with options that include hot Reuben and toasted ham and cheese) or the legendary Dream Pizza topped with hamburger, Italian sausage, green pepper, mushrooms and onions.
Jim’s Country Style Chicken
In case the name didn’t give it away, chicken is the main event at Jim’s Country Style Chicken – in fact, the eatery scooped the awards for Salina’s Favorite Chicken and Favorite Chicken Fried Steak in the Salina Journal Readers’ Choice Awards. Choose from dishes like fried chicken (served with mashed potatoes, green beans or corn), homemade chicken and noodles or chicken pot pie served alongside plenty of non-chicken specials like ham and beans, homemade meatloaf and hot roast beef dinner.
Actually located a short drive south of Salina in the tiny town of Assaria, Renaissance Café is a classy restaurant serving exquisite Italian fare in a unique location, a former schoolhouse dating back almost 100 years. Executive chef Kevin O’Brien takes inspiration from the cuisine of northern Italy to craft a tempting menu featuring dishes like parmesan polenta with Italian sausage and mushrooms and the trout mustrada, which is Idaho rainbow trout seasoned with breadcrumbs, browned in olive oil and butter and served with an apple mustard sauce. Throw in a fantastic wine list and some deliciously indulgent desserts, and you’ll see why Renaissance Café is putting Assaria on the map.
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