The smell of pie is the first thing you notice as you walk through the
door. During the weekday lunch hour, you’ll climb the stairs like a
school kid, approaching the din and clatter of a busy lunchroom. This is
the kind of place you dream about finding: no advertising, just a sign
on the sidewalk and word of mouth.
Our recommendation? When traveling through Yates Center, Kansas —
population less than 2,000 — climb the stairs, get your own drink, and
choose your lunch. The Plate of the Day ranges from barbecue beef with a
bun, coleslaw and peas to a slice of ham with baked potato and green
beans. Friday, though, is the big day: taco salad.
All this will cost you is one dollar per plate. Want pie with
that? For another dollar, you can have a choice of as many as 14 pies,
including raisin, blueberry, gooseberry, rhubarb, apple, blackberry,
cherry, mincemeat and pecan.
Francis Ward opened Frannie’s Lunchroom to pay her husband’s
medical bills, but since then the establishment has come to epitomize
everything that’s good and right about rural America — and being on
such shows as NBC News with Tom Brokaw hasn’t changed a thing.
You’ll find Frannie’s Lunchroom on the southeast corner of the town square. There’s no phone, so just follow your nose.