Yes, there is Kansas Cuisine…and it is simply good home style cooking! It is what I grew up with and in my opinion, there is nothing better than Midwest cooking. I lived just 13 miles from the Brookville Hotel which to this day serves the same type of family style dinners….only one thing on the menu, Fried Chicken! Believe me, the menu doesn’t need anything else. In fact, there is no menu.
Reservations are advised…..
The chicken earned the James Beard Award-winning Fried Chicken Award! His comment: Brookville Chicken is some of the best-tasting, authentic Fried Chicken anyone will ever eat!
I believe that is why to this day, Fried Chicken is my most favorite meal…especially with the fixins’ that have always been prepared with Brookville dinners.
The Brookville Hotel was built in 1870 in the small town of Brookville, Kansas in what was expected to be a divisional railroad center. The little town suffered greatly when the Union Pacific Railroad relocated its round house to Junction City, Kansas,… which is about 60 miles East of Brookville. People started leaving this small hamlet in droves when the railroad pulled out, however, the hotel and restaurant managed to stay in business. There were cowboys driving cattle who were still using the old cattle trails (Chisholm Trail) and the hospitality of cozy hotel rooms and good food were not to be ignored.
In 1894, Gus and Mae Magnuson purchased the hotel. It was Mae’s cooking that established the hotel’s reputation for great food, but it was their daughter Helen, who originated the famous family-style chicken dinners in 1915.
In 1933, Helen became the owner of the hotel and although she still fried chicken in the kitchen, she also began to actively manage the restaurant. Her dining room received rave reviews during World War II from a continuous parade of soldiers stationed in nearby Camp Phillips as well as the Smoky Hill Air Force Base, located about 13 miles to the southeast. Brookville Hotel began their climb to become the best fried chicken restaurant, with meals served family style. As late as 1959, Helen offered a steak and a shrimp choice on her menu, but the sides all remained the same….eventually, the menu became solely mouth-watering fried chicken dinners. In 2000, the restaurant moved to a location just off the highway at Abilene, Kansas. About 40 miles East of Brookville on Interstate 70. Everything was brand new, but it remains an exact replica of the original Brookville Hotel including the name!
The chicken platters are served with family sized bowls of creamy mashed potatoes and a cream gravy made from the drippings from one of the skillets that previously held crispy, golden brown chicken pieces. Other sides include Creamed Style Corn and Sweet-Sour Cole Slaw. Relish plates hold pickled peaches with whole cloves stuck through the succulent skins, bread and butter pickles, cinnamon apple rings and cottage cheese. Homemade baking powder biscuits and fresh strawberry preserves round out the meal.
As your meal progresses and your Blue Willow chicken platter is down to about 3 or 4 pieces, a friendly server dressed in blue gingham with a starched white apron replaces the platter with another “full” platter of chicken. Once you are finished with your meal, your server clears all the bowls, plates and silver and replaces them with small scoops of velvety-rich homemade vanilla ice cream.
Now you didn’t think I was going to tempt you with all this country goodness without any recipes did you?
This has made me hungry….
But I am always hungry…for Fried Chicken!
Fried Chicken Recipe: After cutting up the chicken, the chicken is dipped in canned milk and then tossed into a flour mixture of salt and pepper and fried in a deep, cast-iron skillet (using lard) and the chicken is turned once during the 30 minutes of cooking time. The result is a moist, crispy-skinned chicken.
I am so hungry now and I am here in Florida! 🙁
The Fried Chicken is in Kansas…and I know we are not in Kansas anymore Toto!
and the Cole Slaw and Creamed Corn…are In Kansas…:(
I am clicking my heels together and nothing is happening…
Wait! they aren’t ruby-red!
As you can tell, I really miss being able to drive the short distance to the Brookville Hotel and the eating of that wonderful Fried Chicken until I am stuffed.
Too much of a good thing isn’t good for the jigglies!
And I do have more jigglies than I should have! ;(
However, a splurge every now and then is not that bad…
To get a printable recipe of the above Brookville Hotel Recipes, please go to my ‘Recipes’ and you will find the recipes under “sides”, “desserts” and “Breads”.