As I stated in my last post, we were glad that the birding was so awesome at Quivira NWR last evening, because our morning birding on the south drive wasn’t very productive. We repeated the north drive just for fun, and did pick up a few new birds, plus got a great look at black-necked stilt babies (not a very long look, as we didn’t want to upset the parents!)
We drove back to Grand Rapids, KS by way of Ellinwood – a cute little town with wheat sheaths on the lightpoles – where we found Mississippi Kites and Eurasian Collard Doves. We continued on to Liebenthal where we followed the advice of Leo from Mo’s and picked up some Pat’s Beef Jerky.
There was no coffee this morning, so combine with the monotony of the drive from Grand Rapids to Hays, I fell right asleep. I woke up as we were driving into Hays from the south, and it looked like a sleepy little town (coming in from the north, it looks like any other larger town on an Interstate exit – busy with gas stations, convenience stores, fast food and chain restaurants.)
We located Gella’s Diner & Lb. Brewing Company, and things were far from sleepy in there! This place has a clean, fresh look that ranked it as a restaurant fitting for any major U.S. city. The literature described it as “inspired by icons of the Midwest”, with it’s handpainted farm murals, industrial agriculture lighting, open spaces and references to early railroad (one of the most obvious references was a part of the restaurant sectioned off my box-car style sliding doors.
This building, built in 1922, was used by Western Union and Midwest Energy, then closed up for many years until local investors were inspired to create the pub. The brick walls, light wood and use of metal piping and brushed aluminum against black surfaces gave clean lines to the entire place. Even the bathroom sinks were great – gooseneck faucets over flat white marble – the sinks were at least 1.5″ x 1.5″ with a 1″ lip.
“Fesh” is their motto, with as many ingredients as possible homemade and homegrown (mustards, dressing and ice cream all made in house; meats with no preservatives and never frozen, vegetables prepared on site and nothing ever microwaved.) The only contradiction to this were the colorful jars of pickled vegetable products that lined large sections of walls – giving the place beautiful color, although I noticed they were pickled products from Jake & Amos in Lancaster, PA. Continue reading