Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS

Why Americans Fear (2)

Thankfully, you don’t have to eat in a box in Manhattan, Kansas if you don’t want to. Skip the chain and fast-food restaurants. Here are 6 of the best ethnic and locally-owned restaurants in the Fort Riley/ Manhattan area.

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  1. Baan Thai
  2. El Tapatio Restaurant
  3. Full House
  4. Little Apple Brewery
  5. Tasty China
  6. Negril Caribbean Restaurant
  7. Thomas Taste of Chicago
reuben-at-Little-Apple-Brewery Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS


The Best Locally-Owned Restaurants 

Fort Riley, Manhattan and Junction City Kansas 

There aren’t a ton of really good restaurants in Manhattan. And if you use Google, the same restaurants always come up. However, I’ve eaten at most of them. However, I haven’t found anything special in what is offered on the menu, the flavors, or the variety. So we decided to do our own research for something good to eat.

We love to eat out on Friday night– it’s our date night. And using a little imagination and the power of the Internet, we’ve managed to find a few good restaurants. Here are a few of the best ethnic and locally-owned restaurants near Fort Riley, Manhattan and Junction City, Kansas.

Khao-soi-at-Baan-Thai-Restaurant-in-Manhattan-Kansas Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS

Baan Thai

Thai Food
Delicious Khao Soi

I’ve tried a few things on this Fort Riley Boulevard restaurant. And while Baan Thai is a little more expensive than many of the restaurants in Manhattan. The food is very good. It’s one of the only places I’ve found khao soi— spicy chicken curry and noodle soup. It’s hard to pay $13 for a bowl of khao soi when a year ago I paid $2 for the real thing in Thailand. Khao soi is a northern Thai dish. It is made with yellow curry and coconut milk. In Chiang Mai, the soup includes a chicken drumstick, but here its sliced chicken. You can also get beef, pork, or shrimp– which is not authentic. And it’s topped with crunchy noodles. The layered flavors and sweet, sour, and spicy. And it’s served with a side of red onions, herbs, and a lime wedge.

El Tapatio Restaurant

Mexican Food
Filete De Pescado Con Camarones

El Tapatio is a very popular restaurant with locations in both Junction City and Manhattan. The Manhattan restaurant, in my opinion, is definitely better than the other one. The food is flavorful and authentic flavors and the homemade spicy salsa turns everything on the menu up a notch. My favorite dish is the grilled tilapia and shrimp fajita (which I don’t eat). It comes with grilled onions and peppers, topped with guacamole, sour cream and cheese, and a salad.

Full House Chinese Food

Chinese Food
Spicy Cumin Lamb

Full House just opened a few months ago in Aggieville. And it has already made the top places to eat in my opinion. The cumin-rubbed lamb is not meek nor mild. Pun intended. It has quite the kick. Although you may find it odd to find lamb on a Chinese menu. It’s not, it’s a very common and popular dish in China. However, the spicy cumin lamb cannot be found on the regular menu. There is a “special” menu for their favorite customers. Jk, ask for the traditional menu and you’ll find it and some other lesser-known Chinese fare. It’s served with white rice.

Little Apple Brewery

Craft Beer & Restaurant
Crab Cakes, Reuben and Creme Brulee

This place is the Cheers of Manhattan, Kansas. Everyone knows your name because it has a loyal following. This Manhattan restaurant makes the list because it’s more specialty than an ethnic restaurant. I haven’t eaten a single thing I didn’t like at Little Apple. And I’ve tried almost everything. The burgers, steaks, and all the starters are delicious. They also have a full all you can eat salad bar. I’ve gone there to eat dinner or just to have a creme brulee which is fabulous. And it still makes me smile to hear that first crack after I tap the top.

Tasty China House

Chinese Food
Shrimp Fried Rice, Beef Bulgogi & Chicken on a Stick

And Tasty China House makes 6. I included it on the list because I really like the place. Tasty China is located in Aggieville, near the KSU campus. It serves more than the typical Chinese food fare, which is normally not a good signal. However, I love their beef bulgogi and my husband is hooked on the chicken on a stick, from Korea and Thailand, respectively.

chicken-curry-at-Negril-Caribbean-Restaurant-in-Junction-City-Kansas Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS

Negril Caribbean Restaurant

Jamaican Food
Beef Patties

If you love Jamaican food, you will love the locally-owned Negril Caribbean Restaurant in Junction City, which is near Fort Riley. It’s not much to look at, but its authentic flavors make it one of my favorite ethnic eats in the city. If you come on a weekday during lunch, you’ll probably end up watching the soaps with the staff. I found out about Negril’s on an outing to Prairie Fire Winery. The owner couldn’t stop praising the beef pies.

I had the curry and Steven had the jerk. Both were fall off the bone delicious, served with a large helping of rice with beans and cabbage. We full, so we took our pies to go. And they were good too. The crust was flaky on the outside and buttery on the inside. And the meat had the perfect amount of kick.

Thomas-Taste-of-Chicago-Italian-Beef Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS

Thomas Taste of Chicago

Chicago Style
Dipped Italian Beef

You’ll find another of the locally-owned restaurants in Manhattan. Thomas, a native Chicagoan, replicates the cities classics. The Taste of Chicago menu includes hot dogs, gyros, and, burgers. But it’s the Italian Beef that will bring you back.

Tender strips of beef in a soft but firm bun covered in a tangy mix of giardiniera vegetables. Giardiniera is an Italian vegetable mix that includes: cauliflower, carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers, and onion. They are pickled in vinegar, turmeric, and water that produces a delicious salad. The whole sandwich is dipped into an au jus. And should be eaten immediately because the bread will not hold up forever.

Creme-Brulee-at-Little-Apple-Brewery-in-Manhattan-Kansas Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS
You-dont-have-to-Eat-fast-food-683x1024 Best Ethnic & Locally-Owned Restaurants in Manhattan KS


  1. Oran

    I am surprised you don’t have have Harry’s or the Little Grill on your list. Do you know if the Little Apple Brewery open yet? That cumin lamb sounds good, I’ve seen that place in Aggieville, but haven’t tried it yet.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I ate at Harry’s last year during the Taste of Downtown Manhattan last and it made my top 3. But its’ on everybody’s list and its expensive, something I wouldn’t do every weekend. And no as far as I know Little Apple hasn’t re-opened yet. I do miss their crab cakes.

  2. Cynthia

    Has Little Apple Brewery opened back up yet? I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I really liked the food there.

  3. Stephanie

    I have been to 4/6 and must agree. I recently tried the Crazy Noodle dish and it was delicious! You will have to try out El Patron if you haven’t yet.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      It’s so frustrating because we love eating at new places on the weekend and their is very little to choose from. We did go to El Patron and YES it was very good— totally enjoyed the food, atmosphere and prices. Even receivea 10% duscount without asking because we used our USAA credit card. Will definitely go back— great suggestion. Less enthusiastic about the Fish and Chips at Keltic Pub around the corner. They were bland but my hubby enjoyed the lamb burger. I always try the fish and chips at a pub bc I think they should nail that item. Did enjoy my cocktail though and the corned beef egg rolls with horseradish sauce, so I’ll try something else next time.

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