The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Iola’s Eateries


Judd Wiltse

Allen Community College Sophomore and Iola Resident Judd Wiltse canvased the town to find the best eateries for college students.

Judd Wiltse, Features Editor

  1. Iola, Kan. features a wide variety of enjoyable restaurants for the Allen Community College student. However, many go unnoticed due to the lack of local knowledge, and I’m here to change that. So, allow me to give you insight on some of the best places around town to sit down and feast like royalty.
Judd Wiltse
China Palace (110 N State St) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Our first stop takes us to the easily missable China Palace. I say “easily missable” because it looks like it’s closed most of the time. A family run business, their primary attraction is the buffet, regularly stocked with freshly made dishes including noodles, chicken, and dumplings. They also have a salad bar and an ice cream machine for those who like a sweet treat following their meal. In addition to the buffet, menu options include a wide assortments of dishes including beef, pork, chicken, and vegetarian options.

Personal Recommendation: I’d say to try the lemon chicken. The seasoning of the chicken and the homemade lemon sauce is enough to make one forget their own name.



Judd Wiltse
Rookies Sports Bar and Grill (105 E Jackson Ave) is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and open until 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Next we’ll be going a bit east down the road to Rookies Sports Bar and Grill. Don’t let the term sports bar fool you into thinking that they only serve cheap bar food. A menu that features burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads,and pizza means that anyone will find something that suits their taste. In my opinion, the servers are all charismatic and friendly and the kitchen staff are always willing to meet any food request. They also run weekly specials, like on Tuesday’s buy any specialty pizza get 1 single topping free. Rookies will be coming out with a new menu including fan favorites such as the crab rangoon flatbread and the jalapeno cream cheese Bomber Burger in preparation for their 3 year anniversary next week.

Personal Recommendation: Their best dish has to be anything with their house made mac and cheese on it, and gives a  new definition to the term comfort food.


Judd Wiltse
El Charro is located at 17 W Madison Ave in Iola, Kan. They are open every day at 11 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Next we have a double feature, El Charro and El Jimador. Both are Mexican themed and both feature a similar menu. If you ask me, El Jimador has some of the better flavor of food all around, but El Charro is much more generous with their portion sizes. That’s not to say that El Charro’s food tastes cheap or that El Jimador skimps you out on the food. It’s a minor difference between quality over quantity but both restaurants will always fill you up and leave you happy.  A little side note: if your birthday is coming up and you want a place to eat for your birthday dinner, eat at El Charro. You haven’t lived until you’ve had all the servers in a restaurant sing you a Spanish birthday song as they feed you ice cream while you’re wearing a giant party sombrero.

Judd Wiltse
El Jimador can be found at 905 N St Street in Iola. They are open every day at 11 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Personal Recommendation: El Jimador’s best dish is their burrito tapatio, a 10” tortilla filled with steak or chicken, beans, and rice topped with red sauce and queso. El Charro has a wickedly good Nachos Fajita featuring nachos topped with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese sauce.


Judd Wiltse
KINGS SANDWICH SHOP: 321 S State Street, open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Last stop on our tour of eateries leaves us at the humble King’s Sandwich Shop. Open since 1955, this small business has stood the test of time for one simple reason: their quality of food! With a small menu, you can’t help but want to try everything. With large, thick patties that are made fresh, even the lowly college student can eat like a king. They also feature a selection of sandwiches and appetizers which will satisfy any craving that pops up in your day.

Personal Recommendation: I’m going to have to recommend the Double Cheeseburger because no matter what sort of mood you’re in, the cheeseburger will always make it better.

Those are just a few of the food establishments in town but if you want to break the monotony of fast food over and over I highly encourage you to give these eateries a try.