Bernice Zuhr returns to a childhood haunt, June 2002.
Coronado Heights, near Lindsborg, Kansas

Reputed to be the point where the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado turned back in 1541 from his quest for the Yellow Brick Road.

Coronado might have turned back because he got tired of the same old boring food. That hasn't changed much in the last half-millennium. If you are driving across the country on I-70 today the cuisine is pretty bleak (unless you love burgers and fries). But we modern explorers (Kansas is somewhere beyond the twilight zone for Coloradans) made an astonishing discovery in the tiny hamlet of Assaria, just off I-135 (US 81), about 15 miles south of I-70 near Salina: The Renaissance Cafe: a remodeled middle school (beautifully done; it doesn't look like Kansas) that serves outstanding Italian cuisine at very moderate prices by city slicker standards. Worth the detour. You have to see it (and taste it) to believe it. Call for hours or reservations (at peak times). 785-667-5535 or 785-822-6750. 210 North Center, Assaria, Kansas 67416

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