Hibachi Hut: A Renaissance Tale

Kansas college town favorite closed & reopened.

HibachiHutSign.-jpgI am highly unlikely ever to eat a Belly Bomb at the Hibachi Hut in Manhattan, KS (“The Little Apple” as local boosters call the town). This house specialty burger is described on the menu as “our own freshly ground beef blend char grilled then served on a toasted bun and topped with whatever you desire.” The list of the whatevers includes Swiss, cheddar, BBQ sauce, Cajun cheese sauce, red gravy, Jamaican jerk, mushrooms, sour cream, jalapeños, sautéed peppers, blackening spices, caramelized onions, blue cheese and bacon pork belly. It wouldn’t work for me, but it’s a signature dish in the restaurant that opened in 1969 in Aggieville near the Kansas State University campus.

Hibachi Hut interior with hold back bar, cool lighting and very blue chairs -- not royal purple, the official KSU color.
Hibachi Hut interior with old (or old-looking) back bar, cool lighting and very blue chairs — not royal purple, the official KSU color.

So why write about it here? Because I just learned that the tired old restaurant with the Japanese-ish name that was known for Cajun dishes and American comfort food closed in May 2103 and reopened early this year under new ownership in a historic downtown building.  I’m a fan of independent restaurants and also of businesses in historic downtowns. And I have a soft spot in my heart for college town classics (The Sink in Boulder comes to mind). The new location is reportedly furnished with a combination of refurbished items from the original and new stuff, and from the picture, it looks very cool. Even though the Belly Bomb isn’t my kind of food, some of those Cajun specials look very good, as does the décor. HibachiHutBeer Perusing the Hibachi Hut’s Facebook page, where I also found these images, I see that The Hut offers food and drink specials — seemingly, whenever they see fit. And no, there’s not a hibachi in sight — and hasn’t been in many years. That was a burger gimmick more than half a century ago.

.Hibachi Hut on Urbanspoon