Brookville Hotel has become Legacy Kansas.

Legacy Kansas – Writing The Next Page

Abilene, Kansas held a few surprises for us. Some of you may have heard of the Brookville Hotel, which originated in Brookville, Kansas in the late 1800s. When it moved closer to the interstate, the story moved to a new page. Another generation of fried chicken lovers began discovering this iconic classic. The story doesn’t end there, as another ownership change happened in 2022. A long-tenured Kansas ranching family took the reins and has changed the menu to include prime beef. The name has changed to include Legacy Kansas, which is a fitting description for this marriage of flavors.

We want to thank Visit Abilene Kansas and Legacy Kansas for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.

The sides make the meal at Legacy Kansas.

History Abounds

In the early days, cowboys were driving Texas longhorns north on the Chisholm Trail. The town of Brookville sprang up along the route and quickly grew in population with the aspiration of attracting a railroad center. When Union Pacific settled on nearby Junction City, it was a crippling blow for the town of Brookville. Even though the population dwindled, the Brookville Hotel continued with business as usual. At the end of the century, the Magnuson’s purchased the hotel and would set it on a path to foodie fame. Mae Magnuson was a renowned cook and her food drew customers from all around. Her daughter, Helen, came up with the idea of serving “family style” dinners, which is still the hallmark of the Brookville Hotel today. 

Diners gather for family-style meals at Brookville Hotel, which is now Legacy Kansas.

A Big Move

The hotel/restaurant continued to flourish throughout World War II, as soldiers from nearby bases became frequent guests. In 2000, a decision was made to relocate the Brookville Hotel to Abilene, Kansas. The new location puts it within sight of travelers heading along Interstate 70. The original building would not survive the move, so a new replica was constructed. We felt like we were passing back in time, as we entered the dining room. It was easy to imagine diners from various eras stopping in for a meal.

A new bar area, at Legacy Kansas, allows for casual meals.

New Addition

While the story of Brookville Hotel has turned through a lot of pages, the book isn’t finished. The Munson family has added a bar area, where guests can choose from a menu that allows for casual dining. We didn’t try a burger but the beefsteak we ordered proved that their beef is grade A. Their full-service bar is a great place to relax when the lines necessitate a wait. 

The family-style meals tradition still exists at Brookville Hotel, now Legacy Kansas.

Mountains of Food

Back in the dining room, I discovered our server had begun loading our table with a variety of sides. Pennsylvania-style Cole slaw (sweet & sour), creamed corn, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, pickle slices, and a plate of biscuits soon adorned our table. They returned with a plate of their signature fried chicken, and the beefsteak covered in grilled onions and mushrooms. The next thing we knew, they asked if we needed anything else. Really? Maybe a little help eating all of this food. We were reminded that ice cream is served after dinner. I scanned the area for a wheelbarrow to haul away leftovers.

The authors face a mountain of food at Legacy Kansas.

Different Mindsets

An Extended Visit?

Clearly we were going to need to do a lot more walking after this visit. Not wanting to shirk from our duties as travel bloggers, we dove in and gave it our best. As we dined, we found ourselves striking up conversations with the staff. They shared some stories from recent visitors. The common theme was the abundant amount of food served to guests. Legacy Kansas has continued the Brookville Hotel tradition of making sure their guests leave satisfied. From the size of our spread, we don’t think anyone should leave hungry. Well, now it’s time for some ice cream. 

24 thoughts on “Legacy Kansas – Writing The Next Page”

  1. Victor J Lipari

    I never have eaten there but will have to try it on my next Abilene visit.

    I really miss the Kirby House where my parents and I enjoyed many fine meals and wonderful service. Gone but not forgotten.

    God bless Abilene and Kansas!

    Victor Lipari
    Albuquerque, NM.
    Kansas Explorer #1502

    1. We loved the Kirby House as well and would celebrate Mothers Day, birthdays, anniversaries along with many other occasions. They had the best CFS!!!

  2. They have good food and yes, a lot of it. If you ever want to try more Kansas fried chicken, just head south on 69 Highway. Just before you get to Pittsburg, you will see the sign for Chicken Mary’s, the winner of the Travel Channel’s chicken war.

  3. Kansas is renowned for chicken. You should go to Pittsburg and eat at Chicken Mary or Chicken Annie next to each other and featured by HGTV for a duel.

  4. You wanted to know how the new place compares to the original. If you closed your eyes, once you got inside, you would think you were in Brookville at the original restaurant. There are a few more rooms, but most are an exact duplicate. I love that about the new place. The first time I dined at Brookville Restaurant in Brookville was in 1972. The cost of a meal was quite different then. The first number being a single digit. Lol. It was one of the most unique and delicious places I had ever been. My new husband in 1986 and I even went there on our wedding night. It is such a special place in my heart, and did I mention…the chicken and sides are delicious!!!!!

  5. Connie Martin is my sister, so many of our family dinners were held in Brookville for many years. It was sad to leave, but the food is still delicious. The new place offers some extra space, but I still miss the creaky floors! HA! When they built t he new place, then even brought over some of the original doors, cabinets, fixtures—everything they could to keep the ambiance and historic feeling of the old hotel. It was an emotionally difficult move, but I love it!

  6. My husband and I visited the old Brookville Hotel. I wondered if we were properly dressed. I had heard they white tablecloths on the tables and cloth napkins. We were dressed in shorts. My husband said, “I am sure we are dressed enough for a place you have heard about all your life.” My friends held their Family Reunions there for years.

  7. Lawrence Miles

    I’m from Salina, KS so I know the restaurant. A few years after joining the Navy we had a port call to Hong Kong. At a bar, I struck up a conversation with a British couple. Discovering that I was from Kansas, they asked “do you know the Brookville Hotel? We ate there last year and it was marvelous!”.

  8. Kenny and Barb Burt

    Eating at the Brookville Hotel has become a wedding anniversary tradition for us…celebrating there each year. We had fried chicken dinner on our wedding day 53 yrs ago, and have continued eating fried chicken every anniversary. Brookville Hotel has the BEST chicken plus extremely great side dishes.We have made wonderful memories of many years of dinning there on our anniversary…plus we love the atmosphere because I love all the styles of the days past.

  9. Thank you for such a nice article. I had the opportunity to eat at the original restaurant in Brookville and the new one in Abilene. Unfortunately, the Brookville closed in October 2020, probably a victim of COVID.

  10. The Brookville Hotel has been purchased under new ownership and will reopen in Mid June. The people who bought it had a steakhouse in Junction City that burned down so instead of rebuilding it they will be serving chicken and steak at
    Brookville in Abilene.

  11. I enjoyed working at Brookville in the kitchen cooking chicken part time. I would welcome that experience again! Great home style chicken.

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