I ventured over to our neighboring town of Sharon Kansas on Saturday night to get a hamburger at the BULL PEN. Two things to note here. The Bull Pen is a new little tavern in a town of around 200. Because of the spirit of this small struggling rural town there are only a handful of businesses. The COOP, Liquor store, a repair shop, a small grocery that is struggling to stay open with volunteer help (great sausage made once a week). And the Bull Pen.
The other thing of note is that Sharon is the home town of Martina McBride. You can imagine the pride of the residents of not only the town but the whole county and state.
When I stepped into the Bull Pen the place was busy as can be. In an old 1800's former grocery building. There is a great tin ceiling that is original and never meesed up. Wood floors and an old double door on the front that has a tendency to swing wide open and let the winter wind in if it is not caught quick.
I prefer places like this to visit over any uptown offering in the big cities. I sat at a table with people I did not know because there was the only space left. No problem, we visited like we knew each other for years. Then the GYP HILLS BAND started playing. Just two songs in and guess who came on the big screen TV with the Grand Ole Opry on. You guessed it Martina! The band took a break the TV was turned up to hear the home town star and everyone loved it. I thought only in small town rural America would this happen.
You know there are great little places all over rural America just like the Bull Pen. We have The Lumber Yard, Buster's, and the Vintage house all in easy drive of this county of 4500 people. Each place with great food, people, and atmosphere.
Maybe you can find one of these little places not far from your home and instead of giving money to an out of state conglomerate, have a good meal and help keep a little atmosphere alive.
Here in Kansas we have The Kansas Sampler Foundation that helps locate these places and keeps rural America alive. Why don't you find a guide book for your area? Besides you can use the fresh air, get to see some great country, and support some great people.
I hear there is a great hamburger at Mo's in Beaver,KS I heard of another place in Macksville. Guess it is time for a little road trip.