• Last modified 706 days ago (Aug. 18, 2022)


EXPERIENCING MARION COUNTY: New reporter takes a fresh look at the county

Staff writer

Marion County is new to me, and I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve seen so far.

Wichita, where I live, has a horrible self-image problem. Residents often say “There’s nothing to do here” despite concerts, minor league baseball, several unique restaurants, a zoo, and a vast park system.

My guess is that Marion County residents have the same complaint at times.

I thought I would bring a fresh perspective to a few places.

I enjoyed lunch one day last week at Pop’s Diner at the recommendation of Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke. We ended up sitting together, and the cheeseburger and hand-cut fries that the owner of Pop’s made were ah-ma-zing.

I’m definitely planning to eat at Pop’s weekly.

The next day, on my way to Florence to interview someone, I stopped at Flint Hills Market and Bakery. The vibe there was fabulous, and the cinnamon rolls the best I’ve ever had with the exception of my Grandma Millie’s, who, by the way, was completely blind.

I bought a four-pack, ate one, and gave the rest to my 95-pound mother. She devoured them and probably gained an ounce. (Life is not fair.)

On Friday, my husband and I treated my mom to dinner at Parlour 1886 for her 85th birthday. The hubs picked my mom up in Wichita after work and drove her first to the Record newsroom so she could see my new workplace (she’s ridiculously happy that I’m working full-time as a journalist again, as am I). Then we drove to Marion County Lake, which reminded her of the lakes where she grew up in Warsaw, Indiana.

It was fun to hear her — for the 100th time, probably — talk about how she used to live at a lake, waterskiing in the summer. (I don’t mind that she repeats herself; there will come a day I wish she were doing just that.)

Our last stop was the Elgin Hotel, where chef Kari Newell outdid herself. We splurged on chargrilled oysters with garlic butter and parmesan, Cadillac mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese and sausage mixture topped with white wine cream sauce and fresh basil.

My mom and I split the spatchcock chicken, which came with herbed whole new potatoes and asparagus. We split a salad. My husband ordered prime rib, which also came with potatoes and asparagus.

For dessert, it was the “Death by Chocolate” cake.

The cocktails — my husband ordered an old-fashioned, and I drank a grapefruit lime mule.

Before tip, our bill was about $135, which we found incredibly reasonable. Side dishes are an extra cost at many restaurants where we dine.

If you have suggestions about restaurants I should check out, please send me an email at I’m also interested in attending concerts, visiting historic sites, and finding swimming and fishing holes.

Last modified Aug. 18, 2022