Looking for an excuse to take a little Kansas road trip? How about trying 9 of the state’s very coolest old-fashioned soda fountains?
It’s that time of year when Kansas weather seems to have jumped from spring to oppressively-hot-and-miserable. If you’re looking for a road trip that’ll cool you down the old-fashioned way, why not hit up 9 of the state’s coolest soda fountains in the Kansas Soda Fountain Road Trip.
Now we’ve mapped it out with Pamalou’s at Graves Drug being the first and last stop so it forms a loop. Start anywhere you’d like, though.
Pamalou’s at Graves Drug (Arkansas City, KS)
With its checkered floor and bar and classic chrome-stand stools, Pamalou’s inside Graves Drug in Arkansas City, KS is a wonderful little blast from the past. While they serve a stellar lunch Tuesday through Saturday, the soda fountain is open all day for those of you with a sweet tooth for some old-fashioned shakes, malts, and homemade pies.
The Potwin Drug Store in Old Prairie Town (Topeka, KS)
Part of an entire old “village” of buildings, a stop at the Potwin Drug Store inside Old Prairie Town in Topeka is just part of the complete experience of transporting yourself back a hundred years. Featuring a soda fountain that once served drinks for 75 years in the Potwin are of Topeka, the Potwin Drug Store feels like it’s been there for a century or more. Enjoy an old-fashioned cherry cola while a vintage Wurlitzer softly plays in the background. When you’re rehydrated, there’s plenty more to explore in “town” such as a general store, a schoolhouse, and a botanic garden.
The Linger Longer (Bennington, Kansas)
Just as the name suggests, you could pretty easily spend all day relaxing at the Linger Longer of Bennington, KS. Tucked into a building dating back over 100 years, the Linger Longer features a beautiful old-fashioned tin ceiling and historic soda fountain sure to transport you back to a time when things seemed to move a little slower. After you’ve grabbed your hand-mixed sweet, there’s still plenty to see and do as you browse the 3rd largest public collection of Dr. Pepper collectibles and play a little pool or ping pong in the game room. If you’re really nice to them, we bet they’d even turn on the Dr. Pepper model train for you!
Gray Drug and Fountain (Beloit, Kansas)
Blending decades of soda fountain-style with their beautiful wooden hutch and 50s-style bar, Gray Drug and Fountain gives everyone a taste of the good ol’ days while still providing the little modern things we crave like free WIFI. Check your email and send a tweet or two all while enjoying an old-fashioned ice cream treat.
Soda Shoppe Cafe (Hays, KS)
The Soda Shoppe Cafe in Hays, KS takes the concept of a soda fountain and pushes it further into a full-blown cafe experience. In addition to the mouth-watering sweets on the menu, they serve up everything from soups to big ol’ sandwiches and even feature a massive salad bar. It’s a dining favorite for everyone in Hays, and we’re guessing it’ll become a favorite for you as well.
Clark Pharmacy (Cimarron KS)
The vintage sign and clean white exterior of Clark Pharmacy in Cimarron, KS just beg for you to come in and explore. Once inside you’ll find everything from an old-fashioned soda counter to beautiful handmade crafts, creative gifts, and stylish fashions, oh, and, of course, a pharmacy. A staple of the town since 1939, Clark Pharmacy isn’t just beloved by the folks of Cimaron. A few celebrities have even found their way to the charming soda fountain. Oprah and Gayle King stopped by in 2006 (to which the pharmacy officially renamed their Orange Smoothie to the Oprah Smoothie). Be like Oprah. Go here.
Kiowa County Historical Museum
Wait? A historical museum? Yes. This is a perfect opportunity to trick your kids into actually learning something this summer. The soda fountain inside the Kiowa County Historical Museum serves up tasty treats while the museum serves up little nuggets of history. Education + sweets = perfect.
Old Mill Tasty Shop Wichita, KS
Smack-dab in the thick of things in the vibrant, brick-streeted Old Town area of Wichita is the absolutely spectacular Old Mill Tasty Shop. While still serving classic sodas and ice creams just as the shop always has, the Old Mill Tasty Shop also features all sorts of delicious food ranging from sandwiches to hearty Mexican dishes and even breakfast. The exterior and interior, especially the gorgeous marble bar, give the place the perfect nostalgic atmosphere.
RedZ Soda Fountain
Beloved by in and out of towners alike, RedZ Soda Fountain in Norwich, KS serves up some of the best soda and ice cream dishes in the state of Kansas, but they also serve up a few other items you might not expect. Want some dang good pizza? Yep, RedZ is the place for you. How about a cheeseburger or chicken Alfredo or a Philly cheesesteak? Yep, yep, yep. You never know what awesome special might pop up on the menu at RedZ, but you can rest assured it’ll be good and served by good people.
Of course, we’re sure we missed a few good ones, so by all means, let us know in the comments.
That being said, if you’re looking to cool down retro-style this summer, you can’t beat these 9 fantastic soda fountains.