Food And Flicks


With hundreds of restaurants to choose from, Topekans have an incredibly diverse choice of culinary options. From burgers and barbecue to chili and chicken, there is a little something for everyone. Each week we will profile a different local eating place.


April 18, 2012

Chuckburger, 2318 S.E. 6th, has been an East Topeka tradition since 1955 and offers some of Topeka's finest burgers. Chuckburger's cooked-to-order burgers (including the signature Chuckburger) and fries (including the fabulous sweet potato fries) are served from the drive-through or at the walk-up window. Its hand-dipped ice creams, shakes and malts are especially popular.

Husband and wife team John and Ellie Benedict own and run the business, which has a loyal following.

DECOR: The decor is what you can see from your car in the drive-through or at the window if you are a walk-up. Small and efficient. Watching the kitchen staff work their magic in very tight quarters is just part of the allure.

ATMOSPHERE: You will not meet nicer people than the couple who own and operate Chuckburger. Friendly and fiercely loyal to producing great burgers.

AT A GLANCE: Chuckurger looks like a place out of a movie from 1965, and while it has been remodeled somewhat in the last couple of years, it still retains all of the charm. Perhaps the best greasy burger in Topeka along with outstanding fries, chili, salads, shakes and more. This place is a classic!


Juli's Coffee & Bistro

April 8, 2012

Topeka's newest coffee shop, Juli's Coffee and Bistro at 4010 Huntoon in the Gage Village shopping center at Huntoon and Gage opened in May in the spot formerly occupied by Flowers by Bill. With a cupcake shop, bar, liquor store and Asian grocery store nearby, Juli's adds a blast of caffeine and a tasty menu to the shopping area.

DECOR:Juli's, a nice change of pace from the typical dark, moody coffee shop, is bright and inviting. The walls are painted in a wonderfully fun color palate and the checkerboard floor tiles add a nostalgic feel. A separate room in the corner is perfect for getting away from the office and taking advantage of the free wi-fi. An outdoor patio is a great place to relax with a latte or iced tea.

ATMOSPHERE: Though only open for a month, Juli's has already began building a loyal following. The breakfast and lunch hour crowds are especially bustling. Late morning and early afternoon you'll find a variety of customers working on their laptops as they enjoy their java.

AT A GLANCE: After a decade of running successful coffee shops in Rossville, Junction City and Wamego, Juli Cuthbertson opened her latest place in Topeka. And with excellent coffee drinks and a fun and eclectic menu, she has created a perfect addition to Topeka's coffee scene. Try one of Juli's all-time favorites on the lunch menu — the Thanksgiving Sandwich — a turkey, cranberry sauce, cream cheese concoction that is truly delicious.


Jersey Mike’s Subs

March 28, 2012

Step inside Jersey Mike's Subs and be prepared to hear from the personable staff. Featuring one of the friendliest atmospheres in town, Jersey Mike's, 718 S. Kansas Ave. and 2121 S.W. Wanamaker, serves a variety of great Italian subs, both hot and cold, along with wraps and salads.

Jersey Mike's has been in Topeka since 2003, with its original location on S.W. Wanamaker. This downtown location with ample seating opened in 2005.

DECOR: A modern feel with light colored woodwork and plenty of seating. A large walk up ordering area has the feel of a Jersey meat shop with the store's various meats and cheeses on display in cases.

ATMOSPHERE: This place is almost always high-energy. The busier it gets, the more fun it becomes as you order and watch the kitchen staff juggle a dozen tasks at once. making hot a Philly with one hand and a cold sub with the other.

AT A GLANCE: While the original location will always be home, snuggled in a cramped Wanamaker strip mall, the downtown Jersey Mike's is spacious an inviting as well as very busy during the lunch rush. A perfect spot for a late afternoon business gathering with colleagues or a lunch date with someone special.


LaRocca's Pizza

March 15, 2012

Recently voted best pizza in Kansas, LaRocca's Pizza at 21st and Urish opened on Jan. 12, 2010 in Urish Center. LaRocca's is a home-owned and operated pizza, pasta, subs and salads place with dine-in and carryout available. Daily lunch combo specials include sandwiches and personal pizzas.

DECOR: Inside LaRocca's Pizza you'll find a row of booths flanking one wall and tables that can be reconfigured for larger groups near the front of the place. A walk up counter where you can see pizzas being whipped up is in the center.

ATMOSPHERE: LaRocca's is a family-friendly pizza joint with outstanding pizza. The owners are two of the most personable people you are likely to meet in Topeka, often coming into the dining room and visiting with customers.

AT A GLANCE: The west side of Topeka needed LaRocca's — a family-owned and operated pizza place that cooks outstanding pizza day after day. One bite and you'll be hooked. The crust and fresh toppings are unlike any other in Topeka, and take a tip from us, don't miss out on an order of garlic rolls. These four piping hot rolls driping with garlic butter and topped with parmesan cheese are served in a basket for only $2. Pure awesomeness.


Ice & Olives

February 13, 2012

Ice & Olives, 3627 S.E. 29th St., brings the spirit of Dean & DeLuca to Topeka with their gourmet grocery store at S.E. 29th and Croco Rd. Besides an extensive selection of upscale grocery items, Ice & Olives also sells meat and cheese trays as well as freshly made deli sandwiches featuring secret herbs and sauces in a California-style cuisine.

The store offers pasta, sauces, dips, cheeses and olives, many imported from Europe, including chipotle olives from Spain.

Take your food to go, or stop in at the neighboring coffee shop, The Java Bar. The Java Bar shares the same owner and customers are welcome to pause there to enjoy their gourmet sandwiches.

DECOR: Simple and sophisticated, much like a small Dean & DeLuca. High-end grocery and kitchen items give way to a deli counter where you place your order. Amazingly knowledgeable staff can help you make great choices for lunch or for gourmet items to take home.

ATMOSPHERE: Located in a strip mall near Lake Shawnee, Ice & Olives is an oasis for people on the east side of Topeka. A connected, trendy coffee shop makes the experience perfect. Several outdoor tables are wonderful spots to eat on a sunny day.

AT A GLANCE: Ice & Olives is a gem that most people who live west of California Street probably have never heard of. Stocked with a variety of gourmet foods and supplies, this is a place where you can pick up party supplies, buy your wife a gift and get an amazing lunch and coffee all in one spot.



January 22, 2012

Locally-owned and operated Pizagel's, 2830 S.W. Fairlawn, has a loyal following of both pizza lovers and bagel lovers. Besides the great pizza, customers also can get fresh baked bagels and pastries as well as espresso drinks. and soups, salads and sandwiches.

DECOR: Like the name, Pizagel's is two restaurants in one. On the north end of the building, you'll find a dizzying display of fresh bagels — from the traditional, like blueberry and wheat, to the more trendy like Asiago cheese and cinnamon crunch. You'll also find other great fresh baked items including muffins and pastries. The south end is where the Pizagel pizza magic happens. Pizza is sold by the slice or by the whole pie in either thin or traditional crusts. And just like the bagels, you'll find typical toppings like pepperoni and beef, but Pizagel's also has some of their own amazing pizza creations, including Buffalo Chicken, Philly Cheese Steak and Thai Chicken.

ATMOSPHERE: Pizagel's is a perfect breakfast spot that transitions into a trendy pizza parlor throughout the day. With free wi-fi, you can also stay connected and get some work done while sipping a cold afternoon beer and enjoying one of their incredible signature pizzas.

AT A GLANCE: Not many places can pull off the split personality that permeates Pizagel's. Luckily, with a great concept and skilled, attentive employees, Pizagel's has become one of those must-visit places. Perfect for the family and a great place to take out of town guests, Pizagel's is as unique as it is delicious.


Falling Water Grille

January 11, 2012

The Falling Water Grille and Lounge is a small, upscale restaurant with about 25 tables located in the Capitol Plaza Hotel, 1717 S.W. Topeka Blvd.. The Falling Water Grille features an open-air atmosphere where you can watch the kitchen crew work its magic. A breakfast and lunch buffet compliment the restaurant's eclectic menu. The customers range from hotel guests to Topeka's movers and shakers.

Next to the restaurant, the open-air Water’s Edge Lounge serves from 2-10 p.m Monday through Friday and 2-11 p.m. on weekends. It features delicious appetizers as well as perhaps the best beverage selection in Topeka, including an upscale wine list, Bella Verde vodka and Stella Artois beer on tap to name a few.

DECOR: Almost like a sidewalk cafe indoors, The Falling Water Grille provides a beautiful view of the atrium inside the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Seating wanders along the kitchen area on one side and a relaxing water feature on the other.

ATMOSPHERE: One of Topeka's best spots for Sunday brunch, the wait staff can easily accommodate very large crowds with ease. Seating in the Grille area often overflows into the Lounge side where the atmosphere is even more relaxing.

AT A GLANCE: The Falling Water Grille and Lounge is a unique, out of the way dining experience. While it may seem it is an amenity reserved for guests of the hotel, it is open to the public. We recommend the Sunday brunch with a buffet that features an omelet bar, waffles, fruit fruit, eggs, potatoes, bacon and biscuits and gravy among the numerous options.


Bobo's Drive In

December 7, 2011

Visit one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine — an award bestowed on this classic Topeka burger drive in by the Kansas Sampler Foundation in June 2009.

The original Bobo's, 2300 S.W. 10th St., has been a Topeka tradition since 1948 and was featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" in 2008. It is famous for its handmade apple pies — served by the slice or whole pie — and its onion rings, which also are made fresh every day. Car hops take your order and bring your food to your car.

Anyone who has lived in Topeka very long knows about Bobo's. Most have eaten there at one time or another. And when people move away and come back to visit, many just have to have a burger at Bobo's.

DECOR: Bobo's is a diner. Plain and simple. And while it hasn't changed much in decades, its retro style and old school looks is what makes the place so charming.

ATMOSPHERE: Inside Bobo's, you'll find a bustling place filled to the brim with hungry customers hungry for the same menu favorites that they have been serving since the place opened. If you go there for lunch, be early if you want a seat. The pie, the burgers, the onion rings all are classics that keep generations of locals filling the place day after day,

AT A GLANCE: One of the most celebrated eating spots in Topeka, Bobo's is well-deserving of all of the honors and accolades bestowed upon it. The drive-in is a great summer evening dinner spot and inside the cozy retro cafe, you'll find a unique place built on pride and memories.


Frances O'Dooley's

November 14, 2011

Frances O'Dooleys Irish Pub & Grille, 1930 S.W. Westport Dr. has been a staple of Irish cuisine in Topeka since 2004. Tucked away on S.W. Westport Drive on Topeka's southwest side, O'Dooley's has a loyal following of Irish food connoisseurs and Irish beer fanatics. Known for an extensive pub menu that features such Irish favorites as Corned Beef & Cabbage, Shepherd's Pie and Fish & Chips, O'Dooley's is also a great night spot.

DECOR: Rich woods and a spectacular bar are what you first notice, but look around and soak it all in. You'll find all kinds of Irish touches in the furniture design and decorating the walls. The bar, which can't be missed is perfectly situated in the center where guests can easily order from 14 beers on tap.

ATMOSPHERE: O'Dooley's is exactly what you'd expect in an Irish pub. Long leisurely lunches with incredible Irish comfort food give way to fun, boisterous evenings toasting the winners of international soccer matches.

AT A GLANCE: Without question O'Dooley's is one of those Topeka treasures that is on the shortlist of places to take out-of-town visitors. On Friday and Saturday nights, you'll find "The Irish Rebel" and his weekly Irish sing-along that will have you making friends with everyone in the place.


Pizza Parlor

November 7, 2011

An Oakland family-owned favorite since 1965, the Pizza Parlor, 1919 NE Seward Ave., features delicious pizza meals including the Big Bobby — a 16 inch Super Supreme pizza that weighs 6 pounds before entering the oven!

Don't be fooled by the name "Pizza Parlor." Bill Domme serves just about anything. "If you can't find something on the menu to eat," he says, "you're not hungry." The menu includes hamburgers and ribs with homemade barbecue sauce. On Saturday, try a steak during the Steak Night Special. On Sunday, the Pizza Parlor serves breakfast 9 a.m. to noon and the regular menu noon to 7 p.m.

The kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday.

DECOR: The Pizza Parlor is like many other neighborhood restaurant/bar combinations. Plenty of seating, with booths along the walls and large tables in the center, makes this a perfect place for a large group or a solo adventure. A row of about six bar stools sit at the bar at the south end by the kitchen.

ATMOSPHERE: The Pizza Parlor can get busy during a typical weekday lunch hour. Patrons range from neighborhood families to construction workers and businessmen. A daily lunch special is always a popular choice.

AT A GLANCE: If you are looking for an authentic neighborhood joint, the Pizza Parlor is an ideal selection. Friendly waitresses, delicious food, interesting customers and a juke box - what more could you ask for? This is one of those places that people have been coming back to for generations. Don't be fooled by the small parking area in front, there is plenty of additional parking east of the place. The Big Bobby will get you in the door, the burgers will have you coming back for years.