If you find yourself driving through the heartland on your way to somewhere else and you start seeing signs for the Oz Winery, let me assure you that unless you just want to buy a $7.00 wine with a cute $13.00 label, you can skip it. This isn’t a ‘winery’, it’s a gift shop, and a small one at that. The grapes aren’t even grown in Kansas and there isn’t much else to do in Wamego unless you want to check out the Oz Museum (we didn’t).
However, if you get hungry on your drive and you’re anywhere near Overland Park (Kansas City, MO) stop at the Rock and Brews in Prairiefire. I thought Rock and Brews was a Hard Rock knock-off with over-priced, mediocre tourist food. The only reason we chose the place was because they have a dog-friendly patio that is covered and climate controlled. On a 55 degree day that seemed an excellent option. Lucky us!
Founded by a team of entrepenuers that includes Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, Rock and Brews does have the Hard Rock vibe. Price-wise it was more than what we’d planned to spend on a quick lunch stop, but the food was excellent. Overland Park is the brand’s first midwest location and franchise expansion rights are in place.
It was about 1:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday and though busy, they were beginning to thin out. It took a bit for our server to actually come take our order, it was obvious she was dropping checks, but we were greeted immediately. Another server brought us and the dogs water and menus. ‘Menus’ is plural because they have a dog menu, too!
Once our order was taken, our food came very quickly. The service was excellent and the staff was friendly to the humans and the dogs.
Featuring a rock icon mural over the bar, concert-style lighting and rock ‘things’ on the wall that I didn’t bother to check out, ‘Rock’ is definately the theme. Some of the TVs showed music videos and some showed sports. The music was loud. Cause it’s rock.
The ‘Brews’ is a long and fantastic list of beers, a multitude in bottles and over 30 on tap. Some I’d had, some I’d only heard of, some I couldn’t pronounce. I decided I had to try the Fruli Strawberry Wit. If I can find this locally, I’m about to drink a lot of it!
For lunch, we ordered the Fish Tacos, the Fire Grilled Salmon BLT and a pretzel to share (my friend and I, not the dogs). The pretzel was huge and perfect, but the Salmon BLT was the real winner. Instead of a salmon patty it was an actual filet, and instead of mayo they used an Ancho Cherry Jam that gave it just the right zing. It was also the first time I’ve ever ordered any kind of BLT in a restaurant and didn’t wish they’d put more bacon on it.
Since we were on the road and the dogs were going to have to be back in the car for a few more hours, we didn’t order anything off the dog menu. They got bacon bites and pretzel pieces instead. If we’d been stopping for dinner and staying the night, we would have, but car-sick dogs aren’t very much fun.
If you go there with your pups, you may want to request to be seated AWAY from the children’s play area. Picnic style seating placed us on the end nearest nearest the laughing, playing, (screaming) kids. The place is definitely family and kid friendly, at least at lunch. Something tells me the crowd might be a little different after 8:30 p.m.
In any case, don’t sit by the kids. They are loud and want to pet your dogs, and the place is already a little loud. The dogs just want to chill and look for stray fries. I’m guessing that when the weather is nice enough to uncover the patio, it won’t seem as noisy. In fact, I think it’ll be pretty great.
The Prairiefire District is a 58-acre mixed use development where Rock and Brews is located. In addition to a few other restaurants and dog-friendly shops, including Anaphora which sometimes has a Golden Retriever sitting in the window, it features the Museum at Prairiefire, Pinstripes Bistro Bowling and Bocce, and a theater.
The Museum at Prairiefire is a collaboration with New York’s famed American Museum of Natural History and is the first venue outside of New York to continually host American Museum of Natural History traveling exhibitions. They aren’t dog-friendly, but you can walk around the exterior, which is architecturally pretty cool looking by itself. The museum or Pinstripes either one would be a great place for Dad to take the kids, while Mom sat on the patio of Rock and Brews with Fido and had another beer, or wine, or cocktail. Dad can also drive home.
Prairiefire and Overton Park make a great case for further exploration of Kansas City, which is on our Travel Tails travel list. We’ll definitely be going back to the area and there’s a good chance we’ll stop at Rock and Brews. We’ll hope the weather is nice and this time Henri can have dinner.