Fans of the Flint Hills have two reasons to celebrate: This weekend, a nationally acclaimed restaurant reopened, and a recently opened diner recently expanded its dinner hours, beverage service and added a monthly Sunday Supper Club.
This is welcome news to day trippers who flock to the region in fall when scenery is at its most dramatic, with higher-than-your-head bronze prairie grasses glinting against clear cobalt skies. This summer’s abrupt closing of Ad Astra, a Strong City gastro-pub that has been written up in the New York Times and Saveur, left visitors with few options for dining in the county.
But the charming exposed brick venue with a hip vibe and seasonal menu featuring vegetarian fare as well as Kansas beef and bison is back. The reconfigured ownership group has retained many beloved dishes from the original menu. Changes include a reception area by the front windows where patrons can get a drink while waiting for a table, and expanded craft cocktail offerings at the bar.
A mile south in Cottonwood Falls, Keller Feed & Wine, an upscale diner in the building that formerly housed Emma Chase Cafe, has added beverage service (it did not have a liquor license when it opened), dinner hours and a monthly Sunday Supper Club, where a 4-course Italian meal and chianti in straw-bottomed bottles will be served at long tables. The first one is Nov. 22; reservations are required. The cost is $32, including tax and tip, wine is $6 per glass.
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Owner Bryan Williams, whose wife Janice is from Cottonwood Falls, lived in Kansas City for many years working at Lidia’s and other restaurants in the metro. Much of the produce served at the restaurant is grown at a farm a few blocks from the restaurant.
A popular addition to the menu at Keller has been milkshakes, including adult versions with alcohol. More good news: the restaurant, which had to pull the plug on Friday dinner because local high school football games bit into the pool of available staff, will resume Friday dinner hours this week. Keller does not take reservations, and patrons order at the counter.
Both restaurants are only open Friday through Sunday.
318 Cottonwood Street, Strong City, Kan. 620-273-8440
11 a.m-10 p.m. (kitchen closes at 9 p.m.) Friday (starting Nov. 20) and Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
317 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, Kan. 620-273-5050
Brunch: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Dinner: 5-9 p.m. Friday (starting Nov. 20) and Saturday
Sunday Supper Club: Nov. 20, Dec. 20, Jan. 24 and Feb. 14