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Retro Overland Park diner serves savory grilled cheese

Snack Shack offers the flavors of summer, picnic tables and a patio.

By CINDY HOEDEL
The Kansas City Star

I used to be a grilled-cheese purist: Roman Meal bread, two Kraft Singles and loads of Land O’ Lakes butter is hard to improve upon.

But the Garden Grilled Cheese at Snack Shack, a retro diner near the roundabout just outside downtown Overland Park, has led my taste buds astray.

Imagine grilled jalapenos, grilled onions, seared tomatoes and four slices of American cheese nestled in buttered griddled Texas toast. For $4. And the sweet, small-town diner atmosphere comes at no extra charge and makes a great respite in the middle of a workday.

Inside, the Snack Shack offers cozy counter seating in front of the open kitchen and around the walls and windows (no tables.) Outside, a small patio with cafe seating and a grassy area with picnic tables under old trees are served by a pass-through window.

Husband-and-wife owners Matt Tolle and Rayna Andrew live in Kansas City, Kan., now but both grew up in Overland Park and attended Shawnee Mission West. The couple took over the business that had the same name minus the “c” in “Shack” last September.

In addition to the Garden Grilled Cheese, vegetarians can fill up on a hand-crafted Veggie Burger made of garbanzo beans, black beans, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes on a hamburger bun.

The regular burgers are good, too, made with local, hormone-free Kansas beef from Bichelmeyer’s and served on buns by Roma, a Kansas City bakery founded in 1923.

On warm days you could easily think you’ve wandered into a soda fountain, thanks to the popularity of the Snack Shack’s $4 milkshakes. They are tall and rich and come in four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and java. The java version is made with real coffee and local Christopher Elbow chocolate powder. (You can get the Elbow chocolate powder in the chocolate shake, too, if you ask.)

But my favorite bathing-suit dessert (as in, I’m going to have to swim this off later) is the $3 root beer float, a sweet-bitter-icy delight.

Good to Go spotlights takeout options that are fast (10 minutes or less), fresh and cheap ($5 or less). Send suggestions to choedel@kcstar.com. For more recommendations, follow her on Facebook and at Twitter.com/cindyhoedel.

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