Backroads Journal

Sunday at the Emma Chase

On a whim we found ourselves seated at the locally famous, old fashioned, down home friendly Emma Chase Café in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, sipping our iced tea from a large canning jar.  We had ordered our Chicken Finger Dinners from the three blackboard menu selections, fried chicken, chicken fingers and chicken fried steak and had time to look around in the gift shop and study the great historical vignette paintings adorning the walls of the storefront café in the county seat of Chase County, deep in the Flint Hills.  We were reflecting on the great day and weekend we were having.


Our daughter had come from Denver for a sorority reunion at K-State with our little grand-daughter in tow, the women had spent a girls’ weekend in Manhattan and I met them there after the Artist’s Walk event, where I exhibited in Emporia.
The smoky haze from the spring prairie burns lay heavy in the valleys, great white plumes of smoke from the active burns rose like billowing thunderheads over the hills, the color compliments of lavender Redbud trees and bright green spring foliage accented the hillsides and the contrast between the burnt and unburnt grassland added a new dimension to the views.  As if we needed some added color accents, throw in the bright, colorful biking attire of a hundred road racers going the opposite way on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway and you have a pretty good picture of our day.

We talk about driving up for the Friday evening concerts held on the sidewalk in front of the Emma Chase and take the detour drive down Main Street every time through Cottonwood Falls, but had never stopped for a Emma Chase Café meal until today.  Our tender, home-made Chicken Fingers with fresh green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuit and apple butter were surpassed only by the pie and the friendly service! 

We heartily recommend the Emma Chase to experience the hometown feel of a truly trendy little restaurant.  You can join in the world issue discussions with the Literary Society every morning at 9am, ride your Harley up for Biker Breakfasts every 3rd Sunday, fly up on the 4th Saturdays and receive plane-to-restaurant taxi service, bring your lawn chairs for the music sessions on Friday evenings or just stop in for some great country comfort cooking.


We both agree that we have a new, favorite stop on our old, favorite drive.  We have driven that Flint Hills drive in every season of the year and never gotten tired of it.  Now we have one more reason to head up that way!

Wander a few country roads, stop to study the grasses and wildflowers, feel the sun and wind on your face and enjoy the day!

You can see a complete listing of events and catch up on the doin’s in Cottonwood Falls at the Emma Chase Café web site,
For a detailed look at the Flint Hills Scenic Byway, with Cottonwood Falls as its midpoint anchor, just go to