Aunt Nadine gave us a guided tour of Topeka that would have rivaled any state visit by dignitaries, probably because she once worked at the Capitol! A major reconstruction project is currently underway, so access was a little complicated and we foregoed a visit inside. We took advantage of the many photo ops on the Capitol grounds and then continued our tour of the downtown area. Nadine has called Topeka home for over 35 years now, so she knew the town like the back of her hand. We began to talk about lunch and what sounded good, getting three people to agree on one single place in a Herculean task so we drove aimlessly for a little while. Then it happened... the planets all aligned, the sun shined on us and we magically drove by BoBo's!
In an instant, Aunt Nadine made the executive decision and turned into the busy noontime parking lot full of Cadillacs, Lincolns and Volvo's. Near the Capitol, it's downtown location makes it a favorite of many of the state legislature and office workers.
If you weren't a native, you'd pass right by. But if you are a faithful viewer of Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, it may have been a destination. Guy Fieri's visit to BoBo's in 2008 made the little Mom and Pop establishment famous. In reality, it has been famous for a long time before that!
Like a step back in time, Bobo's is a classic old fashioned drive-in that has been operating in Topeka since 1948, at this location in the 2300 block of 10th since 1953. Inside is a handful of pink Naugahyde booths and horseshoe shaped bar, but half of their customers just pull up to the curb out back and the car-hops bring their meal. The current owners, Richard and Tricia Marsh, bought Bobo's in 2007, but some of the staff have been there many years.
The menu was bigger than the restaurant, with so many great sounding diner delights that we had trouble deciding. Aunt Nadine recommended the Steakburgers and handmade onion rings, we couldn't pass up the homemade root beer either! I spent the short time while we were waiting on our food glancing at what other people ordered... coneys, malts and bowls of steaming chili. Next time I'll try the chili for sure!
Like stepping back in time, the place just "feels good" from the moment you step inside. The aroma of burgers searing on a flat top grill and waitresses that call you honey... it's the kind of place that makes you want to come back over and over.
The noonday crowd streamed through the front door, from young to old, a table of nurses and a group of legislators from the Capitol... all here for one reason, great food!
If you come to BoBo's and don't have a slice of the homemade apple pie still warm from the oven, topped with Satin Dream softserve... well, don't blame me! By the slice or they even sell a whole pie, isn't that nice of them to share the good stuff?
If you find yourself anywhere near Topeka, Kansas... BoBo's Drive In needs to be on your must visit list!