OPINION: Best places to eat in Hays for newcomers and residents alike


Imagine you pull into Hays after driving hours on the slow ride across Kansas — a ride which takes even longer when you have to drive through multiple towns slowing down your once steady pace to only 30 MPH. Greeted by Vine Street, your stomach is rumbling and picking a great food stop becomes very important.

With my unique palette I have become something of a self-made restaurant critic. I have wanted to try as many new places to eat as possible, which is harder than one would think on a college student budget. Being new to Hays or just being indecisive can lead to a difficult time picking a good restaurant to eat, so it is my goal to help. These are my top five places to eat in Hays:

At 1011 Elm, you can find the restaurant featuring a sign of the town in capital letters. Mexican heritage is celebrated not only through the color-bursting sign but through the amazing food. 

Starting off with an appetizer is a good way for any dinner, but this might be a problem since in most restaurants you have to pay for the apps. However, you do not have to worry about this since chips and salsa are complementary. 

With an abundance of food choices no one will get bored eating here. You could go everyday for a month and try something new each time. My personal favorite is the seafood fajitas.

At 2522 Vine Street, Osaki is an affordable option for a nice date night. This place has it all. From the side salads with dream-like ginger dressing to sushi as you please you cannot go wrong choosing this place to eat. 

If you like your sushi cooked, raw, or with tons of sauce they have got your back. The hibachi dinner comes with a soup, salad, and enough of whatever you ordered to take home and eat for a midnight snack. 

My personal favorite is the crunchy fried calamari. At most places when I order calamari, I do not get my hopes up because it is always chewy. However, in Hays this is the best appetizer anyone could ask for with the perfect dipping sauce. 

At 2505 Vine Street, Dominos is ready for curbside pickup or even better speedy quick delivery. This is a college favorite because of the late hours they stay open. I have ordered multiple things and delivery only took a max of seven minutes, two minutes to cook the food and only five to deliver. 

The best option for food would be the bone-in buffalo chicken wings. These can either be just for yourself or if you have friends over and want to share. With Dominos’ coupons an order can turn into a great deal for a great bite. The pizzas are delicious, the wings are endless, and the sandwiches are crisp. 

At 3201 Vine Street, an old-timey, nostalgic sign leads the way to a diner-style breakfast restaurant. If you are not ready for a big helping of home-cooked food, then you are not ready for this delicious place. 

The only thing better than their famous pancakes are the chicken-fried steak with white homestyle gravy. If you are ever homesick and cannot eat microwave noodles anymore, this is a place for you to eat pancakes that are just as good as grandma makes them. 

With a heaping of food, the price is perfect for a sit-down breakfast. The everyday specials give you a sweet deal while still filling you up. 

At 2520 Vine Street, last on the list is another great Mexican restaurant. In the back of the street you can find Jalisco, a classy restaurant with amazing food. When you walk into the building, the first thing you notice is the table cloths. Even though these tan cloths decorated with images of Mexican heritage may have been more popular in the past, they have a warm homely feeling to them. 

You will want to have a conversation with anyone who walks in because the atmosphere is so welcoming. The food choices are amazing from burritos to fajitas, you cannot go wrong with any dish. The best part of my experience at this restaurant is the guacamole to eat with the chips. You will be full before your plate of food makes it to the table with some of the best guacamole a mexican restaurant can offer.

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