Bobo's - Topeka, KS

Junior Burger
2008/08/27 23:05:40
This burger joint was featured on DD&D late last year. It even has Guy's autograph on a '50s-style globe light fixture hanging from the ceiling over the cash register. I visited it with my brother just the week before last.

Bobo's has been around for over 50 years and looks like it. Has all the visual charm of a wet beagle. It's also one of the last true drive-ins in the area - if you want car service you pull in, park, and turn on your headlights. There's also (very) limited seating inside. We went in.

Speaking of charm, our server had none. I don't know if she was having a bad day or trying to be the quintessential '50s diner waitress or what. But although we spent over half an hour in the place - and asked several questions - we never got more than 2 or 3 words out of her. Grumpy, to say the least.

But on to the burgers. Fresh beef - not frozen - and from what we could tell by peering into the kitchen, hand pressed. Kind of thin, though. We had double cheeseburgers, and I'm thinking a single patty would've been lost in the shuffle. The were good, though, really good. Fresh lettuce and tomato topped both burgers, along with fresh cheese and I'm thinking a dollop of mayo. Not greasy at all and the buns, although I'm sure not fresh baked, had that fresh baked smell.

OK, the burgers were great. But the much-touted "homemade apple pie" was a disappointment. I remember the homemade pies my Grandmother made and they were three inches or so tall with big chunks of apple and nice, light, flakey crusts. This pie was almost flat, the filling had no discernible texture (or real apple taste, for that matter), and the crust tasted like the top of a can of Crisco. We sprang for the a la mode and were further disappointed to find not real ice cream but a whirl of rather bland soft-serve on top of each piece.

I highly recommend Bobo's for a burger if you're ever in the Topeka area. But two caveats: Make it a double, and skip the pie.
Junior Burger
RE: Bobo's - Topeka, KS 2008/09/18 18:50:26
You didn't catch her on a bad day...that is her standard demeanor. The pie has been better than what you describe. We have a theory that certain regulars get better slices of pie than others.
We had a meal there last week, and we saw these beautiful looking thick slices of pie going to other tables, so my wife ordered a slice. What came was closer to your description. When I mentioned it to the server, she replied you asked for pie, and you got pie.
Junior Burger
RE: Bobo's - Topeka, KS 2008/09/19 15:31:59

Well at least you got her to talk. And, yeah, we'd ordered the pie for the exact same reason your wife did - some old codger (whom everyone knew by name) was sitting at a table by himself with a slice about the size of a dictionary. I don't know - maybe he brought his own.

Pie aside, though, next time I'm in the KC area I plan to go back. Their burgers are still worth the drive.
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Bobo's - Topeka, KS 2008/09/21 16:10:44
I never thought Bobo's was that great - it;s about a mile from my house, and I can't remember the last time I went there.
Junior Burger
RE: Bobo's - Topeka, KS 2008/09/21 23:46:41
Niagra -

You might very well be correct. It's like the old saying, though, that it's not the destination, it's the journey. Sometimes it's not the burger itself, but getting to it that makes it special. Simply being on the road - as in away from home, traveling - often makes the ordinary look, feel, and even taste extraordinary. There are places around my house I wouldn't give a second thought but which people on the road rave about.
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Bobo's - Topeka, KS 2008/09/26 17:55:37
I visited Bobos aabout 5 days after you did, and was also disappointed by the pie, which an acquaintance said I "had to get."

You didn't mention the onion rings, which I thought were the best thing. Edging out the burger.

I posted some photos with my review at