Food And Flicks

Food and Flicks | RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK

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.

Chuckburger

June 18, 2010

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: Chuckburger has a retro feel. Even though the dive-through was reconfigured during the past year, much of this burger joint's charm still remains. While the majority of customers take their food and hit the road, an ample tree-lined parking area offers a nice sanctuary to enjoy your meal right in your car.

ATMOSPHERE: This place is tiny. The kitchen area completely engulfs the small building, and if you've ever seen the staff inside, you know it is a tight fit, flipping burgers, cooking fries and making shakes in the narrow space.

AT A GLANCE: Chuckburger has the ultimate sign of an incredible burger joint: grease soaked bags. On a scale of 1-100, the burgers are a 100. Looking for something healthier, the grilled chicken salad is also top-notch. If you get a chance, stick your head in the walk-up window and talk to the owners. A couple of the nicest people you'll meet in Topeka.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/chuckburger

L&J’s Cafe

March 1, 2010

L&J's Cafe, 2134 N. Kansas Ave., is family owned and family operated. It isn't just a hamburger joint, even though that's what they're best known for. The menu now includes home-fried chicken, meatloaf, roast beef and spaghetti. Call for the daily specials, but be warned -- they usually sell out pretty quickly.

DECOR: Quaint, small and homey. If you were in a burger joint 40 years ago, it probably looked just like L&J's Cafe. About 10 tables fit in the narrow dining area with plenty of outdoor seating for overflow crowds.

ATMOSPHERE: Small and cozy, L&J's Cafe is exactly what a burger joint should be — all about the food.

AT A GLANCE: L&J's Cafe is off the beaten path and that is just one of its allures. Not everyone knows about it, so you feel lucky that you do. The burgers are superb. Greasy, crispy and served piping hot off the flat grill. And while the burgers at L&J's are the bomb, the daily specials are a perfect way to keep the menu fresh.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/l-js-cafe

Lola’s Cafe

January 25, 2010

At Lola's Cafe and Espresso in the Fleming Place shopping center, at 10th and Gage, your favorite coffees and teas are served by talented and friendly baristas. But Lola's is so much more than a coffee shop with plenty of soups and sandwiches are available for a quick lunch or dinner, and a variety of baked goods are prepared regularly throughout the week.

DECOR: A new color scheme is trendy without becoming boring after your fifth visit. Artwork by local and regional artists decorate the walls and are changed out on a monthly basis. In true coffee shop style, the seating at Lola's is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, with small tables, a booth, seats at the bar and a large couch in the back.

ATMOSPHERE: While the crowd tends to be young and hip, there are also older people who frequent the place on a daily basis. The baristas are all friendly and helpful and a patio seating area in the front is a great place to enjoy lunch and a latte.

AT A GLANCE: Lola's is a great place for lunch as well as a perfect place for a coffee break. The fresh baked goods rival anything you will find in Topeka, and the coffee drinks are prepared perfectly.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/lolas-cafe-and-espresso

Giovani’s Pizzeria

November 1, 2009

Giovani’s Pizzeria & Café, S.E. 10th and Quincy, is a New York style pizzeria opened by a guy who used to own a pizzeria in Queen’s before leaving the Big Apple behind in 2009. Owner Frank Conti prides himself in serving good Italian food, including pizza slices that spill over the edges of the plate.

Purchase pizza by the slice all day. Or try the sandwiches, chicken Parmesan, New York cheese steaks and pastas. Looking for something sweet? Try cheesecake, cannoli and homemade pie. In the mornings, check out bagel sandwiches, muffins and breakfast pizzas. Look for daily specials throughout the week.

DECOR: This is a bare bones pizza joint where the pizza is the star. A large counter and kitchen area dominates the space, but there are about eight booths that all offer nice views on the plaza area. When the weather warms up, there is outdoor patio seating available.

ATMOSPHERE: When you walk in the place, you are immediately enveloped in the smells of an authentic New York pizza place. The take-out phone is usually ringing and the workers are comfortable handling a dozen tasks at the same time. You can tell by the hours there open that these are hard working people who genuinely care about their pizza and their customers.

AT A GLANCE: After several restaurants have come and gone in the same area, Giovani's is exactly what S.E. 10th and Quincy needed. A perfect compliment to not only the bar next door — Seabrook — but also to the downtown dining district. Staying open late (3 a.m. on the weekends) will suit the area bar crowd and offering great specials all day should make the place an ideal lunch choice for downtown workers.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/giovani’s-pizzeria-café

Flint Hills BBQ

September 14, 2009

Located on the south side of the Total Home Concepts complex west of Wanamaker at 1131 S.W. Winding Road, Flint Hills BBQ opened its "BBQ with a passion" restaurant on Jan. 23, 2009. Owner Jamie Norwood encourages everyone to stop by, say "Hi" and check out some of the best barbecue in northeast Kansas.

Featuring Big Rick's BBQ sauce that is sweet and zesty, Flint Hills is sure to please even the most finicky barbecue aficionado looking for a quick lunch or a relaxing dinner. Try the burnt ends or a two-meat combo, and don't forget the cole slaw and baked beans.

In the springtime, look for cold beer to be added to the menu to quench your warm-weather thirst, as well as outdoor seating on the patio.

DECOR: A wall featuring a variety of bottles of BBQ sauce will keep the hardcore home grill-master occupied for hours. The open feel of the place, which doesn't have a lot of tables, is great for a large group of hungry BBQ lovers.

ATMOSPHERE: A twenty-foot ceiling and access to the Total Home Concepts experience next door makes this a great place for a bite to eat. The BBQ is top-notch and the service is as good as it gets. Whether you are eating brisket or pork or ribs, you will leave full and smiling. Don't forget the awesome sides as well. The baked beans are especially tasty.

AT A GLANCE: Flint Hills BBQ is not an easy place to find, but once you do, it will be on your regular rotation of great Topeka eateries. The food is amazing and is often coming out of the smoker at about the time you are sitting down to eat. The aroma is intoxicating as is the abundance of meat you'll find piled on your plate.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/flint-hills-bbq

L&J's Cafe

September 8, 2009

L&J's Cafe, 2134 N. Kansas Ave., is family owned and family operated. It isn't just a hamburger joint, even though that's what they're best known for. The menu now includes home-fried chicken, meatloaf, roast beef and spaghetti. Call for the daily specials, but be warned -- they usually sell out pretty quickly.

DECOR: Quaint, small and homey. If you were in a burger joint 40 years ago, it probably looked just like L&J's Cafe. About 10 tables fit in the narrow dining area with plenty of outdoor seating for overflow crowds.

ATMOSPHERE: Small and cozy, L&J's Cafe is exactly what a burger joint should be — all about the food.

AT A GLANCE: L&J's Cafe is off the beaten path and that is just one of its allures. Not everyone knows about it, so you feel lucky that you do. The burgers are superb. Greasy, crispy and served piping hot off the flat grill. And while the burgers at L&J's are the bomb, the daily specials are a perfect way to keep the menu fresh.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/l-js-cafe

Chuckburger

August 31, 2009

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: Chuckburger has a retro feel. Even though the dive-through was reconfigured during the past year, much of this burger joint's charm still remains. While the majority of customers take their food and hit the road, an ample tree-lined parking area offers a nice sanctuary to enjoy your meal right in your car.

ATMOSPHERE: This place is tiny. The kitchen area completely engulfs the small building, and if you've ever seen the staff inside, you know it is a tight fit, flipping burgers, cooking fries and making shakes in the narrow space.

AT A GLANCE: Chuckburger has the ultimate sign of an incredible burger joint: grease soaked bags. On a scale of 1-100, the burgers are a 100. Looking for something healthier, the grilled chicken salad is also top-notch. If you get a chance, stick your head in the walk-up window and talk to the owners. A couple of the nicest people you'll meet in Topeka.

MORE INFO: http://food.topeka.net/food/chuckburger