MonkeyButt Saloon -- Iola, Kansas
Sometimes I wish RoadFood would have a classification for "Dives."
I just love Dive Bars with good food!
Small town. Way out of the way. If you find yourself here you're not having a good day. There's some decent but ordinary Mexican food in town but your other option is a sports bar that closes at 11 pm, regardless of how the game's going...one of the pretty okay Sonic Drive-Ins (no roller skates, but afficianados of onion rings say *this* Sonic makes 'em better. But I digress...
Despite its potentially off-putting name* the MonkeyButt Saloon cooks up a serious hamburger.
* The bar's name is actually an "awww" story.
The MonkeyButt is basically a tavern. They open at 10 a.m. and cook until 9 p.m. or until the orders stop; whichever comes first. Retired farmers dominate the daytime hours at the MonkeyButt. They play spades and demand the Weather Channel dominate the big screen TV. Eavesdrop on any day and the talk is about rain; too much or too little. Never the right amount.
Anyway, the signature offering is the MonkeyBurger. A half-pound of lean beef, cooked on a slow grill, with grilled onions and mushrooms and Swiss cheese and all sorts of trimmin's. They ask you what trimmin's you want. If you don't secify pickels, you won't get 'em on the side. Just order "everything" and build your burger. If you order extra pickels, on the other hand, stock in the Heinz Company goes up. They're generous at the MonkeyButt Saloon if you really want it.
It's hard to find the MonkeyButt Saloon because there' no readable sign until you've found it. From the intersection of US Highway 54 and State Street "Old 169" go north almost a couple of miles and look for the skeleton of an old grocery store. Off about half-a-block east of State Street is the MonkeyButt Saloon. (The old sign blew away in a storm a couple of years ago and they're still haggling with the insurance companies.)
As long as it's legal in Kansas the MonkeyButt will be a smoking venue. So if you're a freak about that, order take-out. If you tip reasonably well you're likely to attract a new girlfriend.
The MonkeyButt doesn't check IDs all that carefully. But after 10 p.m. or so it turns into a stange haunt for Junior College kids drinking illegally. It's usually a good place to get some kid buying rounds of Jaeger Bombs on Daddy's credit card... 'till about mid-October.
Three graduate credits in Sociology with every MonkeyBurger.
But a pretty damned good burger if you're in the neighborhood.