The Jayhawk Bookstore closed for good in 2016, leaving a prominent corner in Lawrence unoccupied. (Jayhawks everywhere surely remember the bookstore’s jingle: “At the top of the Hill.) With renovations complete, the building just west of the Chi Omega fountain and across the street from the EEEC is now open for business.
Textbooks, paper, and Jayhawk sweatshirts have given way to coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, and beers at McLain’s Market. The Kansas City-based small business also has a store in Overland Park, and the original McLain’s Bakery has operated in Kansas City since 1945.
The market opened April 9 and already is a popular hangout for KU students as they prepare for finals. A variety of seating options in different nooks and crannies of the two floors gives a welcoming coffee shop vibe. Plenty of outdoor seating offers views down Naismith Drive. Construction isn’t done yet, with a side room under renovation for Kansas City-based clothing company Charlie Hustle to move in.
The Jayhawks have advanced to the Midwest Regional, and Omaha is ready to host! Before KU fans arrive in Nebraska’s largest city, we reached out to local alumni for their recommendations on places to see, eat and drink.
Ask any Omaha native what to do in town, and you’ll get the same answer first: go to the zoo. Named one of the five best zoos in America by USA Today and Trip Advisor, the Henry Doorly Zoo is a must see for visitors of all ages. Enter the Desert Dome that towers above the grounds, and be sure to see Kingdoms of the Night, the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit, located underneath.
Half a mile south of the CenturyLink Center is the Old Market, an arts and entertainment district sprawling across cobblestone streets. With over 50 businesses in the area, you’ll find a place to shop, eat, or drink the way you like it.
Just like Kansas City, Omaha has preserved their historic Union Station with a museum honoring the history of Omaha and the region. Bring the kids, and let them explore the exhibits, including a 1950s steam engine and train cars. It’s only a half-mile walk from the Old Market.
A hip lunch spot that’s easy to miss, visitors to Block 16 will find a burger Alton Brown calls his favorite in the country, and fries served in ways you’ve never seen before. Think Lawrence’s own Burger Stand with an expanded menu.
While there won’t be any official watch parties in Omaha for KU’s games, the Good Life hosts the Omaha Jayhawk Network for watch parties throughout the season. Standard bar fare and plenty of wings make it a perfect place to watch the games on KU’s off days.
Wichita is the site of first and second round games in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region. It’s also the largest city in Kansas and home to more than 10,000 Jayhawks. We reached out to some of our alumni to get the scoop on what to do while you’re in town, and they were more than happy to share their favorites.
You might be surprised at just how much there is to do in this bustling midwestern city—and you might even find yourself coming back for another visit.
As Monique Pope, one of our Wichita Network volunteers, put it, “What’s there not to do!”
The museum’s new curator, Dr. Tera Hedrick, is a proud Jayhawk who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from KU. Don’t miss the Monet to Matisse exhibit that showcases 59 masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum collection.
“We’ve taken many out-of-town family members to the art museum, and they’re always surprised at the quality of art—especially the Chihuly glass pieces,” said Elaine Level.
Learn about Wichita’s transformation from a frontier settlement to a cattle town to an agricultural and manufacturing area at this one-of-a-kind museum. Take a walk through history and see over 40 buildings that replicate the late 1800s, filled with a 10,000-piece permanent collection that includes textiles, furnishings, tools, art and more.
This “botanical paradise on the plains” includes more than 18 acres of gardens that change with the season. It features more than 4,000 plants, both native and new to the region. Sculptures, streams, fountains, and waterfalls help create a visually stunning atmosphere.
The top outdoor family tourist attraction in Kansas, the zoo is home to 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species. It has been recognized with national and international awards for its support of field conservation programs and successful breeding of rare and endangered species. Be sure to check out the new elephant exhibit!
On March 16, basketball-themed activities will be featured throughout the zoo. Get $5 off zoo admission through March 25 with your NCAA ticket stub.
Old Town, nestled in the heart of Wichita, is home to over 100 businesses including restaurants, shops, clubs, galleries, museums and more. The charming district includes brick-lined streets and historic lampposts, along with a collection of converted brick warehouses dating back to the mid-1800s.
The 44-foot tall steel sculpture stands at the juncture of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers in downtown Wichita. It is also home to the Mid-America All-Indian Center.
The Keeper of the Plains sculpture was created by Blackbear Bosin and erected in 1974 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial. It is celebrated by Wichitans as one of the main icons of the city. Time your visit for 9 p.m. to see the ring of fire!
Bringing the kids? Check out Kansas’ premier science center, located along the Arkansas River in the scenic downtown Museums on the River district.
The 100,000-square foot facility includes permanent and traveling exhibits, a planetarium, and an 18-hole mini golf putting course. Exploration Park is a free area nearby that includes a wetlands habitat, adventure play yard and picnic groves.
Another kid-friendly option for your off day: one of the largest family-owned zoos in the country, right outside of Wichita. The park has grown into the third largest animal collection in Kansas, and one of the largest attractions in the state.
Enjoy more than 40 exhibits with interactive stations and more than 400 animals. The first day of the 2018 season is March 16.
Where to eat
Wichita is a true foodie town with diverse and authentic ethnic cuisines. Dine on anything from Mexican to Mediterranean to Vietnamese—and everything in between.
Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World,” and kids will love watching the planes at Stearman Field, a family-owned and operated airport located just outside the city. Grab some food at Stearman Field Bar & Grill, and Stearman Sky Tours is available if you want to catch a different view of the area.
Coffee fans will love Reverie, which serves premium specialty coffee beverages as well as breakfast and lunch in the cafe. The wholesale coffee roastery opened in 2013 and quickly grew into what it is today.
One of the central tenants of Clifton Square, a collection of boutiques and restaurants in renovated houses, Ziggy’s Pizza offers indoor and outdoor seating with pies that serve two to three. Be sure to stop by College Hill Creamery next door afterwards for a cone!
Connie’s is Wichita’s oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant, celebrating 55 years in business next month. It’s located in the historic NOMAR (North Market) neighborhood in North Wichita, among a long-established enclave of Hispanic-owned businesses.
Craft beer fans will love Central Standard Brewing south of Douglas on Greenwood. With a fun atmosphere on a giant outdoor patio, it’s a popular hangout on warm days, and you can often find a food truck or live music nearby.
Right in the heart of Wichita’s Delano district, right off the Arkansas river, the Monarch offers a wide variety of specialty bourbon cocktails along with plenty of appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches, all under $10.
Walking distance from Intrust Bank Arena, Public at the Brickyard features a gastropub menu with a local, green focus: their website lists where in the area all ingredients come from. A wide selection of beers continues the trend, with options from breweries across the U.S. with a Midwestern focus.
This speakeasy serves craft cocktails in downtown Wichita. Located beneath the Ambassador Hotel, it prides itself on exclusivity and discretion. The location also has an important historical context: it’s where the 1958 Dockum sit-in took place. The sit-in served as one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement.
Many thanks to volunteers from our Wichita Network for their recommendations! The top two photos in this post are used with permission of the Wichita Art Museum.
Back in 1989, when Frank, c’75, and Jayni Carey published The Kansas Cookbook: Recipes from the Heartland, people who grew their own vegetables, bought meat from a local rancher or favored the village diner over corporate chain restaurants most likely weren’t called locavores or foodies. A lot has changed since then, and in their long-awaited follow-up, The New Kansas Cookbook: Rural Roots, Modern Table, the Careys share 220 recipes that highlight this “new twist on the way we cook.”
Reflecting the growing popularity of “farm-to-table” and local, seasonal cuisine, The New Kansas Cookbook updates traditional homemade favorites like vegetable beef soup, chicken and noodles and apple strudel while also tapping the expertise of the growing ranks of Kansas chefs, bakers and brewers with dishes that showcase local products. Standouts include Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat Maple Bread (it features a popular beer from Manhattan’s Tallgrass Brewing Company, not bison perspiration) and Chestnut Cornbread Dressing, which uses as its chief ingredient the distinctive nuts grown by Chestnut Charlies of Lawrence.
Whether drawn from chefs or home cooks or from the Careys (who together published two other cookbooks; collaborated on Jayni’s local television cooking show, “Jayni’s Kitchen”; and contributed a feature story to the summer food issue of Kansas Alumni), the recipes show how today’s Kansas cooks embrace ethnic cuisines, sophisticated cooking techniques and ingredients both exotic and local. A particularly apt example is Grandmother Quillec’s Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Prunes, which adapts a family recipe from the Provence region of France that has long been a staple of Café Provence, a Kansas City bistro named one of the Top 100 restaurants in the United States by OpenTable and best overall restaurant in Kansas City by Zagat. Pork tenderloin, a Midwestern staple, combines with Port wine and special French prunes in a dish inspired by family tradition and refined by the creativity of a respected chef. Mix that inclusive approach to cooking with the lively features on Kansas people and foodways that the Careys sprinkle throughout, add a heaping helping of artful illustrations drawn by Kansas artist Louis Copt, ’96, and you have a recipe for a delightful cookbook that serves up a full menu of delectable dishes, from every-day to special occasion.
The New Kansas Cookbook, by Frank and Jayni Carey with illustrations by Louis Copt, is published by the University Press of Kansas and is available for $29.95.
Calling all cooks: The University Press of Kansas and authors Frank and Jayni Carey are seeking original recipes from Kansas residents to be included in The New Kansas Cookbook.
Twenty-five years ago, Frank, c’75, and Jayni co-authored The Kansas Cookbook: Recipes from the Heartland. That cookbook became a staple in the kitchen and focused on recipes based on farm traditions, early settlers’ ethnic heritage and favorite family recipes. Now, 25 years later and the Kansas culinary scene is vibrant with bustling farmer’s markets, CSAs and locally sourced ingredients from artisan cheese makers, wineries, and other local producers. To chronicle this dynamic shift in Midwest cooking, the Careys seek recipes that reflect how Kansans cook today.
Do you have a favorite sweet corn recipe? Know what to do with too much zucchini? Or maybe you have a great story about your backyard garden, growing your own crops or the bees you keep.
Current Kansas residents are eligible to submit original recipes and stories for possible inclusion in the cookbook. Only original recipes will be considered, and the recipes should focus on fresh Kansas ingredients—no canned soups or packaged mixes.
Kansas cooks have much to contribute to the Midwestern foodscape. In addition to culinary pride, if your recipe is selected for the project, you’ll receive a free copy of the book.
Stories and recipes can be submitted through Facebook at www.facebook.com/NewKansasCookbook, using the tab on the page that says “submit your recipe.” Or, mail your recipe to The New Kansas Cookbook, P.O. Box 1351, Lawrence, KS 66044. More information is available here.
Jayhawks in Las Vegas had to quickly improvise when their KU basketball watch party was bumped— in favor of a UFC fight.
A few days before the KU men’s basketball team faced Texas in Allen Fieldhouse, the regular Vegas watch party site notified the group that the game conflicted with a fight. Choosing another sport over KU basketball might be a foreign concept to die-hard KU fans, but UFC events are popular in Las Vegas and many of the fighters train in the area.
Steve Wichmann and Bryan Holmes had planned to watch the KU game with fellow ‘Hawks, but instead of letting this news derail their plans, they came up with a new one.
Bryan is the master smoker and cook for Captain Cook’s Kansas City BBQ, a new food truck concept that the pair is launching. They decided to host a watch party for local Jayhawks at Steve’s home.
The scenario was perfect: the weather was beautiful, fans could watch the game outside and the hickory wood they use to smoke the meat had just arrived from Lawrence. “The wood in the desert just isn’t as good as the wood from the midwest,” Steve said. “It doesn’t burn as well, and the hickory flavor we want doesn’t come off the wood like the kind we found in Lawrence.”
The pair also wanted to get feedback on their food from folks who know how great Kansas City barbecue really is, so they contacted Dee Clifford, c’71, leader of the Las Vegas Chapter, and within a few hours they were making plans to get the word out to area Jayhawks
Steve reports that the usual suspects all showed up in time for tip off, and the food came off the smoker just in time. “Now that the Jayhawks are undefeated when we have watch parties at my house, we may watch every tournament game there,” he said.
“Sorry Buffalo Wild Wings, but you should know by now not to keep a Jayhawk fan from watching our boys on the court.”