One of the things my husband and I whole-heartedly agree on is that we both love a good, local place to eat, and we believe we’ve found the best restaurants in Manhattan, Kansas.
When we travel, we always try our best to find the most popular local fare to experience and enjoy. We’ve done the same thing each of the three times we’ve moved to a new city the last few years; we’re always anxious to unpack our boxes during the day and find the best local places to eat and drink at the end of the day as our reward.
After calling the wonderful city of Manhattan home for three years and going out to eat on average of once per week, coming up with our list of our favorite 10 places to eat was a cinch. These are the places we take our out-of-town guests to, the places we go on date nights, and the places we go when we just have a hankerin’ for something in particular they serve.
Whether you’re fortunate to call the Little Apple home, you’ll be moving here soon, or you’ll be passing through sometime soon for a ball game, don’t miss grabbing a bite to eat at one or more of these fabulous establishments.
Top 10 Restaurants in Manhattan, Kansas
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a hot breakfast, incredible cup of coffee, or tasty lunch, head on downtown and check out…
It’s not uncommon to find a slew of guests hanging around outside happily waiting for their table. They know the wait is worth it!
Jamie and I frequently enjoy treating ourselves to one of what they called their “Grown Up Drinks”, such as the Mimosa or Purple Pride. If you look around at other guests, you’ll likely see others enjoying them as well. As for the mimosas, they’re my favorite in town!
Though we’ve tried a good portion of their menu, we always find ourselves coming back to our personal favorite dishes.
Our one-year-old does a great job polishing off a slice of bacon, scrambled eggs, and a few bites of toast (dipped in the small serving of homemade strawberry jam, of course.)
Our three-year-old’s breakfast preference is always their peanut butter pancake. On the kids menu it’s listed as a the PB&J Cakes (which is her best little buddy’s favorite!), but since she’s not a jelly fan, The Chef always accommodates her and just serves warm peanut butter. Bonus: Since she can’t eat the whole thing, we always have leftovers that she begs for later in the day or the next day. Yum!
Jamie has a tough time branching out from the Chorizo Burrito. It’s smothered in an incredible homemade cheese sauce and served with hash browns or another potato choice.
And as for me, I’m always happy as a clam with their classic breakfast. Scrambled eggs, perfectly cooked bacon, the best hash browns, and a slice or two of bread with homemade strawberry jelly.
The Chef is open daily for lunch as well, and their sandwiches, burgers, and salads are exceptional. Click here to see the full menu.
The Chef hours of operation: Monday through Friday 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
When we first moved here, there was one place we couldn’t help but crane our neck to look at out of curiosity when we first drove past it.
And that would be Coco Bolos.
Little did we know that it would become a family favorite! If we’re lucky enough, we always thoroughly enjoy snagging an open-air table. While we also enjoying dining inside, Coco Bolos is one of the first places to come to mind when we want to eat outside on a beautiful day.
If you haven’t been before, you’ll find a bottle of their homemade habanero sauce on each table that’s an excellent addition to your meal if you want a little extra kick.
They have a fabulous drink menu, but I personally always look forward to their popular sangrias.
At Coco Bolos, you’ll frequently see waiters and waitresses walking around serving this their infamous Bolo Nachos (a crowd favorite). Large enough to split with 3-4 people as an appetizer or devour for your meal, I highly recommend this menu selection!
Our girls do a fine job splitting and polishing off the cheese pizza from the kids’ menu, and we usually try to sneak a bite or two if the kids will let us. So good!
My husband’s go-to sandwich is Bud’s Cuban Grilled Pork sandwich with a side of their Taters Las Cruces. Speaking of such a flavorful meal, all of the dishes from Coco Bolos feature tastes from the Gulf Coast, South Texas and Southern New Mexico. Yum!
As for me, their Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wrap takes first place for my favorite entree item. Served with a delicious smoked tomato buttermilk dipping sauce, this one fills me up fast. In fact, I almost always am left carrying out a box with the next day’s lunch because half of this sandwich leaves me full and happy.
If you notice the hours of operation below, you’ll notice they’re also open for Sunday brunch! They also offer popular catering services if that’s something you’re in need of. Click here to see their full menu.
Coco Bolos hours of operation: Monday: 11am-10pm | Tuesday-Saturday: 11am- Midnight | Sunday: 10am-10pm
It’s wildly known that Kansas is a great place to find some killer BBQ, so if we want to indulge in the best here in Manhattan, we head no further than…
Cox Bros. BBQ
When we pulled up a few weeks ago, we immediately saw them receiving a delivery of fresh-cut wood ready for the smoker. Mmmmm.
We love Cox Bros. because we can quickly place our order at the counter and pick whatever table we’d like in the roomy restaurant. My husband and I love to sample the sauces sitting in the middle of each table in preparation to pick which one will top our meal. Such a delicious variety!
During this particular trip, we had our young daughters split a kids meal that included mac and jack cheese and chicken strips, but we should have known better because the mac and jack cheese did a disappearing act from each of their plates within minutes. They both enjoyed their chicken too, so we left with two full little girls.
Jamie always hems and haws over what to get here; He truly loves it all! In fact, I don’t think he’s ever gotten the same thing twice (except for the pineapple coleslaw which he couldn’t live without!) During our most recent trip he pick the two meats + two sides (sausage and brisket + with beans and coleslaw).
While I’m typically inclined to pick their brisket (my favorite kind of barbecue and a delicious pick from Cox Bros.), I chose the Carolina Pork sandwich, topped with pineapple coleslaw and a side of country-style green beans.
We never leave with to-go boxes from Cox Bros. We somehow eat just about all of it!
Click here for a full menu from Cox Bros. Don’t forget they offer catering as well!
Hours of operation: Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The next restaurant on our list of favorites is somewhere we’ve gone for a million and one occasions. No matter the reason, you’ll be satisfied choosing to eat at…
The Hut: Bayou Bar & Grille
We have loved The Hut (formerly Hibachi Hut) from the moment we arrived in Manhattan.
We’ve gone to The Hut for all of the following reasons:
- to grab a drink at the friendly, relaxed bar (which are mostly exceptionally priced, by the way)
- for a group dinner with our military FRG group in the downstairs private room (so beautiful and free to use with reservation)
- to enjoy dinner on the covered patio
- for Mother’s Day brunch
- for weekly Sunday brunch
- for dinner when we are seriously craving some of their flavorful Cajun cuisine
We simply can’t get enough of The Hut!
My drink of choice is to always split a pitcher of whatever they have as a special. Most recently during a date night I picked the Louisiana Lemonade, and it didn’t disappoint!
The following dish is all the reason one needs to dine at The Hut. Oh my goodness. Mind. Blown!
We choose these Tasso Tots as a suggestion from our waiter, and we both agreed that we could call it quits right then and there and our stomachs would be happy and satisfied. Fried tater tots topped with smoky tasso ham, melted shredded cheese, and chives, all while swimming in a homemade three-cheese sauce, this dish is perfection.
Because we didn’t come to The Hut just for an appetizer, we happily anticipated our dinner, which never disappoints. My husband loved the special, which was The Big Easy burger, which was a blackened burger patty topped with an over-easy egg, grilled peppers and onions, and melted cheese. The fries came covered in a Cajun seasoning that is exceptional.
For years I’ve ordered the Veggie Bomb burger and just can’t branch out from it! I look forward to it every time we go to The Hut. It’s worth noting that I don’t routinely order veggie burgers from anywhere else, but they cook them to perfection at The Hut. Most recently I chose the coleslaw on the side, which I enjoyed immensely.
We got to talking with our waiter who mentioned the Tiger sauce, so my husband asked if he could try a side of it to dip his fries in. Not a typical request, but consider this me highly suggesting that you go in and request it to. Wow! Really good.
Click here to view their full menu.
Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m. | Sunday Brunch 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
If pizza is what we want, it’ll come as no surprise to those who live in Manhattan that the place we’ll choose as often as we can is…
AJ’s NY Pizzeria.
My love for AJ’s knows no bounds. My parents and relatives are all originally from New York City, so we know a thing or two about great, authentic New York pizza, and AJ’s absolutely fits the bill. Not only is the food outstanding, but the general decor and New York theme of AJ’s is really enjoyable.
A few days ago I was shopping and overheard a group of college students talking about where to eat dinner that evening. One student mentioned how she’d never been to AJ’s, and the rest of the group immediately gasped and decided that said student needed to try AJ’s. They cited it as the best pizza in Manhattan, and I silently agreed.
Not only does AJ’s score an A+ in the pizza department, but they also have appetizers, salads, sandwiches, beer, and more. Our oldest daughter really enjoys their toasted ravioli, and she never has to twist our arms too hard to add this to our order.
For me personally, my go-to is a small side salad – The Nolita, as pictured – and an individual slice of the Pizza Bianco (aka “white pizza”).
For the rest of our family, we typically order a large pie of whatever my husband has in mind, and we’ll box up the leftovers to happily enjoy later. During this particular visit, he and the girls ordered the Grilled Cheese pie.
Our girls make their Grandpa proud with their love for pizza. These are all of our faces when our hot pizza arrives at our table.
We’ve been loving their large patio this summer. Such an enjoyable spot to have a meal. Also, AJ’s is a popular spot on Wednesdays because they encourage guests to dine with their pups on the patio. It’s always fun to walk by Wednesday evenings and see all of the dogs out with their owners.
Click here to see their full menu.
Hours of operation: Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
The next restaurant on our list of favorites primarily comes to mind because of its fun sports/K-State theme, casual atmosphere, and proximity to living on the west side…
… and that’s Powercat Sports Grill.
Check out this fun waiting area! We so enjoy living in a college town that bleeds purple, and dining at Powercat just fuels our newish interest in cheering on the Cats. (Also, check out that beer selection!)
We always choose Powercat when we’re looking for a casual, delicious place to take our family, especially our out-of-town guests because we know the large menu will serve everyone something they’ll love.
Recently we went to town on the Coach Mo’s Nachos for our appetizer to hold over the kids (at least that was our best excuse).
Their classic house side salad always pairs well for me when we order an appetizer first. Come to think of it, we always get an appetizer because there are so many indulgent ones to pick from!
No surprise to those who know our kids, but they were nice and quiet once the mac and cheese came around that we’d ordered from the “Future Cats” kids menu. Such a cute name paired with a big selection for kids (seven meal options!)
Jamie had competed in a sports event on Fort Riley the day we most recently dined at Powercat, and he was more than ready to devour 12 traditional wings tossed in the mango habanero sauce.
Powercat has proven time and again to be a safe bet any night of the week for our whole family. Click here to view their entire menu.
Hours of operation: Sunday 9am-11pm (to include Sunday brunch!) | Monday – Thursday 11am-11pm | Friday & Saturday 11am-12am (Kitchen closes at 10 p.m. all nights)
When I think about moving next year, I think about how I already know just how much we’ll miss…
Radina’s, which served breads, pastries, sweet treats, smoothies, sandwiches, coffee, and more, has played such a big part during our last three years in Manhattan so far.
- This is where we came to warm up and grab a hot drink after taking snowy professional pictures in 2014.
- This is where we love to grab treats before watching our kids at the Blue Earth splash pad.
- This is where we frequently dine for lunch after church.
- This is where my sister requested we immediately go after flying in to visit me earlier this year. She said she’s missed their coffee every day since they moved.
- This is where my three year old and I recently went on a “Mommy/Daughter” date to split a piece of chocolate cake, and now she can’t stop asking to go back.
Radina’s is just so wonderful.
My parents, who enjoy visiting us here in the Little Apple, say that a place like Radina’s is what their town in Alabama is missing: a restaurant with a coffee shop atmosphere that serves something for everyone any time of the day.
I was talking with the owner recently, and he mentioned something so fascinating. He said that any French pastry artist could go back in the Radina’s kitchen and know how to use their tools, ingredients, etc. He said they’re that authentic and true to some of their French breads and treats. He made this comment when I remarked how intricately made and delicious the palmier is, pictured on the right.
A couple of our favorite sweet treats: Pain au Chocolat (aka chocolate croissant) and the chocolate covered Oreo. Enough said!
We also can’t say enough about their fresh, satisfying sandwiches. While I’m not partial to one in particular, my husband orders the Italian every single visit. I have to agree with him that it’s quite tasty, after sampling it during our recent visit.
The drive-thru option at several of the four locations offers coffee quickly and powers many Manhattan residents throughout their days.
To see more from their menu, click here.
Hours of operation-
In the ‘Ville: Weekdays: 6:30am – 11pm | Weekends: 7am – 11pm | Holiday Hours: Close at 10pm, 6pm on Sundays
On the Hill (Claflin): Weekdays: 6:30am – 7pm | Weekends: 7am – 5pm
On campus – Weekdays: 7am – 9pm | Weekends: Closed | Holiday Hours: Closed during university holidays, Open M-F 8am – 2pm during the summer.
The Bakehouse (Blue Earth Plaza) – Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
If there’s one phrase I’ve heard 100 times since we’ve moved here is “Have you been to…
Bourbon and Baker yet?”
While Bourbon and Baker is a perfectly acceptable option for the entire family and we don’t hesitate to take our kids there, we prefer it for date night or dining with other friends due to it’s unique tapas-style servings and incredibly unique and delicious menu.
I’m salivating just thinking about our favorite dishes.
At Bourbon and Baker, guests have the option of splitting their dishes with others at their tables or all ordering different dishes to individually enjoy. For example, a couple might order four different dishes and split all four, or each person might order two and just enjoy the couple they ordered.
While we enjoy branching out and trying new dishes most during most of our visits, during our most recent trip we ordered all of our tried and true favorites.
The duck fat french fries are a favorite among almost everyone I know. Served with a creamy Mornay dipping sauce, we order these as an appetizer to split almost every time.
Select dishes are available half-off during Happy Hour, which is why I first tried the Esquites. Now, I order this dish every time! The roasted corn paired with all the toppings – Cotija cheese, mayo-sour cream, lime, tomato-poblano relish, and cilantro – is hard to beat.
Those familiar with Bourbon and Baker knew these next two dishes were coming:
the fried chicken and a biscuit,
and the chicken and waffles. We admittedly struggle with getting away from these two menu items because you just can’t replicate them or find anything similar anywhere else in town. The combination of unique sauces and the ways these items are prepared takes the cake for two of our favorite menu items in town.
Some of our favorite nights at Bourbon and Baker have come on the tail end of a date night or girls night when we’ve run in spontaneously to sit at the bar, have a cocktail, and split a menu item. Bourbon and Baker is such a gem.
Full restaurant and bar menu and hours of operation: Monday-Thursday – 11 a.m.- midnight | Friday-Saturday – 11 a.m.-1 a.m. | Sunday – 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday – Saturday)
Bakery menu and Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday – 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
If you’re looking for your fine dining option and true historic location in Manhattan, look no further than…
For our first year and a half of living in Manhattan, we talked about visiting Harry’s but never made it happen. We thought it was only for special occasions. After our first visit last summer, we couldn’t believe that we’d waited so long to come.
While Harry’s is a wonderful option for celebrating with a nice meal with wonderful ambiance, it’s also simply a great option to come and order a drink and appetizer. We found that guests dress from soup to nuts. You’ll find men in suits as well as jeans and button-up. Some women wear formal wear while others are more casual. They have food and drinks options to fit many budgets and occasions, and Harry’s is now a place we try to go more often for for a date night, even when we aren’t celebrating anything specific.
Click here to view their menu.
Hours of operation: Mon-Th 5-9 pm | Fri-Sat 5-10 pm | Bar + Cocktail area Mon-Th 4-10:30 pm Fri-Sat 4 pm-12 am | Closed Sunday
And finally, our most favorite place to dine in the heart of Aggieville is none other than…
It’s not uncommon to drive by Taco Lucha any time of the year and find a slew of customers outside patiently waiting to get their hands on some tacos. The first time we dined there, we understood the hype. The tacos are incredible!
If we’re able, we love grabbing a table outside on the patio and enjoying a pretty day. From their margarita pitchers to chips and salsa to burritos, everything they serve is crowd-pleasing.
Click here to view their menu.
Hours of operation: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. (Kitchen ’til 10 p.m.) | Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Monday: Not Open
and a bonus…
After leaving at any of the aforementioned restaurants, if you find that you still have a bit of a sweet tooth, head toward Aggieville and make a pit stop at Varsity. Their doughnuts take the top spot for our favorite we’ve ever had, and the family-friendly atmosphere is the icing on top (literally)!
If you’re a Manhattan native, what do you believe are the best restaurants in Manhattan, KS?
What are the qualities that make your favorite restaurant your top spot to frequent?
This post was written in a collaborative effort with a number of our favorite restaurants in town. At a select few of these restaurants we received our meals to eat and photograph with knowledge that an honest review would be featured on this site.
Whimsical September Email List
Hi! I’m a proud Army wife and mom to two little girls (ages 1 and 4), and I love sharing our lives with you. I blog all about motherhood, our time in the military, our travels, our meals, my fitness journey, my fashion favorites, and so much more. I truly enjoy sharing it all! I can’t get enough of birthday cake ice cream, weekend sunrise runs, or making my girls belly-laugh. I write almost daily about my family’s lives, and though I like to keep things light, I also share the messy parts too. Welcome! So glad to have you around. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram and would love to communicate with you there!