Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn [email protected]
Dodge City has long been on this Okie’s bucket list. It took this long to get there as its really not on the way to anywhere, which is good because Dodge City has modern conveniences yet has still preserved and promoted its popular western romance of the 1870’s.
Dodge City has developed its own catch phrase: “Get Into Dodge.”
Of course that is an ironic take on the wild west phrase of a lawman to an outlaw of, “Get Out Of Dodge.” I say, referring to one of the City’s heroes, “Wyatt Earp Never Had It So Good.” This popped into my brain during my trip’s final dining experience at Prime on the Nine restaurant, while reflecting on the good experiences had in Dodge.
Overlooking a golf course, the Prime on the Nine restaurant, offers the highest of service and food to informed tourists and locals. www.primeonthenine.com
If you have followed my articles for some time, you know I like the traditional dining experience of Martini, and perfectly cooked tender local steak to medium plus. The Prime Rib, risotto, tasty goat cheese starter and the five star tiramiso, were a real treats. This elegant venue with a window table, filled my requirements to perfection and the perfect closing meal to my 3 day visit to Dodge City. Truly Wyatt Earp in his short stay in Dodge, “Never Had It So Good.”
Another outstanding dining experience is the Central Station Bar & Grill, www.centralstationdc.net where you have the option of dining in an authentic 1950 railway car. With a salute to the rails that opened up Dodge City to the cattle markets, its only proper to order a steak as well. I devoured a rib eye steak, side salad, sweet potato fries with onion rings. With four kinds of steaks to be mesquite grilled or with other choices including chicken varieties there is something to satisfy your western appetite. Despite being there on a very popular night, the service and quality of my meal did not suffer. To top off the entree the hot apple cobbler delight dripping with caramel and ice cream was an exquisite and unexpected finale. This venue also offers a dance floor and sports bar amenities as well as guest entertainers.
For a quick casual fix, the homemade pizza while you wait is offered at Dodge City Brewing, www.dodgecitybrewing.com, but closed on Monday and Tuesdays. To hear how vodka and gin is distilled, visit the Boot Hill Distillery, www.boothilldistillery.com with tours and tastings available. More interesting than the process is the building’s history and location on top of Boot Hill cemetery. The Vodka is mild and mixes well while the Gin is heavy on botanicals sold at a premium price.
You must save time to tour the Boot Hill Museum, www.boothill.org/, where a large new museum building is in progress. http://www.boothill.org/construction-update The Museum hosts an extensive gift shop with artifacts and memorabilia upstairs. The best part of admission is being able to walk into a replicate of the Old Dodge City wooden store fronts, including the Long Branch Saloon, complete with bar and piano. Other stores offer remembrance of shops that might have been in old Dodge City on front street. Walking back and forth on the wooden board walk you might feel a moment in old west time.
A walking tour of the town takes you by many of the bronze statues remembering many celebrities made famous by the Myth of Dodge city. Of course there is Wyatt Earp and even Matt Dillon.
I drove up from Oklahoma City on what is casually called the Northwest passage on state highway 270 and 183. While the online map suggested a drive time of 4 and 1/2 hours its more like about 6 hours,but worth it for the destination and a chance to see the unspoiled landscape of western Oklahoma, accented by a few wind farms. A mirage when first approaching Dodge City you see a large hill covered in black. At first you wonder what vegetation or mineral causes the blackness, and soon you see it is a massive panorama of black cattle, the prime resource of Dodge. All of this can be explained if you take the trolley tour, which also goes through the remaining inhabited buildings of Fort Dodge. Also you can learn about the founding of Dodge, the Santa Fe Trail, the cattle industry and the impact of the railroad.
I happily stayed and the conveniently located Best Western North Edge Inn, where my first story room had an exit just feet away from my parked car. Of course they offer all the amenities you expect from a Best Western including the free morning breakfast to start your sight seeing off right.
And you too may come away from Dodge never having had it so good.
So much to see and do in Dodge City so please check out more at: http://www.visitdodgecity.org