Toby’s Tier List: Top 9 Restaurants in the McPherson Area


By Toby Leigh Leffew

Food: We love it. In fact, we can’t live without it! Even though we need food to live, sometimes we crave something more than we need, something we want. The food at the cafeteria is okay, but sometimes, you just want something special, something extra tasty. I’ve compiled a list of the top nine restaurants in McPherson, and I hope that this list can point you to somewhere new!

            Just three quick disclaimers; this list is subjective and shouldn’t be treated as objective fact. I didn’t include any chains on this list, because I like to encourage others to eat at local restaurants. I must also note that I definitely haven’t eaten at every restaurant within the area. These are just the restaurants I’ve been to.

            With that being said, let’s get right into the list!

9. Hank’s

            On Euclid Street, there’s a little bar and grill called Hank’s. It’s not too bad, all things considered. The atmosphere isn’t really my thing, but others might enjoy it. It’s a bar, and I guess that’s just not what I’m used to. It serves the average stuff you’d find in a restaurant like that. It has food like chicken fingers and sandwiches. When I went, I got chicken fingers, fries, and mozzarella sticks. They were tasty, all things considered. 

Overall, I’d rank this restaurant as number nine, because even though it’s good, it just isn’t very notable. Maybe I’d feel differently about Hank’s if I could drink. Even though it wasn’t a bad place, I probably won’t be going there again.

8. Indigo Moo’d

“But Toby, this restaurant isn’t even in the McPherson area-“ Shut up, I don’t care.

Just 23 minutes away from the college, you’ll find a cute little ice cream shop, nestled in Lindsborg. On the outside, it just looks like a tiny little shop. Heck, on my way there, I had trouble finding it! But once you go inside, you’re greeted by a tiny little ice cream shop, hidden inside a cute little building. The building is decorated with the usual Lindsborg charm, which is hard to describe. Luckily, you’ll know when you see it. Which is why I’m providing a picture.

            I ordered a scoop of Cookies and Cream ice cream. I took a bite, and my mind was blown. It was sweet, but not overly so. Creamy, but not rich enough to make you feel sick. The Oreo bits provided a slightly crunchy bite to the soft, silky ice cream. 

            Despite all the awesomeness that Indigo Moo’d contains, I had to rank it as number eight on the list because the distance from the college. I mean, the ice cream is good, but not “drive all the way to Lindsborg” good.

7. Noffy’s

            Noffy’s is the first (and definitely not the last) restaurant on this list on Main Street. Within walking distance of the college, tucked next to a barber shop, there’s Noffy’s. They serve salads, alcohol, charcuterie boards, and most notably, sandwiches.

            The atmosphere of Noffy’s is cozy and warm, but very tight, and a little claustrophobic. If this is an issue for you, Noffy’s also delivers via DoorDash. 

            I ordered the Roast Beef sandwich and some potato chips. The bread was good, the beef was savory, and the vegetables were fresh. The potato chips were kettle-style chips, which paired nicely with the sandwich.

            Overall, I’d rank Noffy’s as number seven on the list. I will definitely be returning to Noffy’s in the future, but it isn’t the best sandwich place in town…

6. China Star

If you keep going on Euclid until you see The Pink Flamingo, and turn left, you’ll see China Star. China Star offers many different dishes. It even offers bubble tea! The atmosphere is bright and open, but if you aren’t feeling like sitting down and eating, you could get takeout.

My favorite thing to order is the Broccoli and Beef with steamed rice. However, this time, I ordered the chicken and broccoli meal with fried rice and a sushi roll. I don’t remember what roll I got here, but I remember it being tasty. Here is a photo of it.

The meal was scrumptious. The chicken and veggies were sauced to perfection, coated in a savory, glossy sauce. The fried rice was fluffy, and the flavor complimented the meat and veggies well. Not pictured here, was an egg roll which came with the meal. The egg roll was bursting with flavor, and the wrapper was crisp. 

Overall, I’d rate China Star as number 6 on the list. It’s pretty good, but there are still better restaurants in McPherson.

 5. Tres Amigos

Tres Amigos is on Marlin Street and could be easily overlooked if you aren’t looking for it. However, if you seek it out, you’ll find a beautiful little restaurant.

Tres Amigos has a nice, inviting atmosphere. The staff is nice, and it’s a very bright place to be.

As you can see in the photo, I ordered a Chile Colorado platter (Beef in a red chile sauce, with rice, beans, and flour tortillas). Even though I’m not a big flour tortilla person, they were palatable, especially when paired with this meal. The rice was just okay, not bad, but nothing special. The refried beans were full flavored, but the Chile Colorado was the star of the show. It was spicy, savory, and overall, mind-blowing.

When I went to pay for my meal, I saw a mini-freezer full of Mexican sodas, which delighted me. I ordered one for the road, which was the cherry on top of this wonderful meal. 

Overall, Tres Amigos earns the ranking of fifth on this list. If you’re ever in the area, you should check them out!

4. Neighbor’s Cafe

            Neighbor’s is a nanoscopically sized restaurant which is full of big flavor! I went to Neighbor’s before I even started attending McPherson College, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but Neighbor’s rules. Even though it’s a very compact restaurant (especially when it’s busy), it still feels very cozy and warm. The air is alive with the chatter of customers and employees alike, as well as the sizzling of various breakfast foods being cooked. It makes me feel nostalgic for a memory that I’m not sure if I’ve even had.

            I ordered the Chicken Fried Steak breakfast with a biscuit. However, Neighbor’s serves a myriad of breakfast foods, such as pancakes and omelets. The smell on the air is amazing, and I’d pay just for the aroma.

            I’d rank Neighbor’s Café as the fourth best restaurant in town. I’d rank it higher, but I just like these upcoming ones more!

3. Main Street Deli

I bet you can’t guess where the Main Street Deli is!

Main Street Deli is a quirky little place, and its atmosphere goes where no atmosphere has gone before. It was more than just cozy, it was pretty. The deli has a unique little gift area in the front of the store, and in the back, it has seating. The lights are dim, but warm. Soft music plays from the speakers, further adding to the comfort there. However, if it isn’t your scene, they do have food to-go. It offers a variety of sandwiches and other treats, even though my favorite is the grilled Roast Beef sandwich with mayo, Swiss cheese, and spinach.

It was a great place to unwind and have a little treat after a day of schoolwork. It earned its place as the third best restaurant in the McPherson area.

 2. Naoko Hibachi Japanese Express

Naoko Hibachi – Japanese Express is a food truck in McPherson, and despite its unassuming appearance, it “goes hard,” as the kids say. It serves hibachi meats, as well as sushi rolls. The employees are very polite, and the food is to die for.

 I ordered the Hibachi Steak Meal, as well as the Super Mario Roll. When I opened the Styrofoam food trays, I wasn’t expecting a lot, but I was greeted by a massive quantity of food. The portions were bigger than I expected, and amazing considering the prices I paid for it. No hate to China Star, but I paid roughly the same amount at both restaurants and got way more at Naoko. 

The sushi roll was coated in both spicy sauce and savory sauce. The rice provided the substance, while the filling (tempura shrimp, crab, and cream cheese, if I remember correctly) and sauce provided the flavor. It was huge, and I felt so full after eating it that I had to save the rest of my Hibachi Steak meal for dinner that night (I ate the vegetables with the sushi roll).

The Hibachi Steak meal came with chunks of steak in a delicious sauce, egg fried rice, and vegetables. In the image pictured, I stirred it all up and put it in a bowl. The egg fried rice was bursting with flavor, the sauce was sweet but meaty at the same time, and the steak was juicy. It was as if the idea I have of “steak chunks” in my head suddenly came into being, it was just as succulent as I imagined it to be.

Overall, Naoko is the second-best restaurant in town. It’s beaten only by…

1. Ristorante Italiano di Famiglia

            The best restaurant in town is the Ristorante Italiano di Famiglia, hands down. When I started this list, I had no clue I’d love it so much, but here we are. When I first told everyone I was doing this list, they told me “You have to put the Italian place as Number One!” “You have to try that Italian place!”. I thought that everyone was overhyping this place. I thought “Oh, it can’t be THAT good.”

            They were not overhyping this place; it was THAT good.

Where do I even begin? The restaurant, much like Main Street Deli, was more than just atmospherically pleasant. It’s the most pleasing to the eye out of all the restaurants in the area. The lights are warm. Right as you walk in, the staff are attentive and kind. All the restaurants on this list have good, polite staff, but the staff of La Ristorante went above and beyond. When I went there, there was this baby, and she started getting cranky and yelling about something. One of the staff members crouched down to get on the child’s eye level and speak with her. The waitress was trying to get the baby to relax, and I was lucky enough to get a photo.

But, of course, you can’t eat pleasant atmospheres, and you definitely can’t eat dedicated employees. It’s time to talk about the food.

I ordered the Tour. The tour includes fettuccini alfredo, meat lasagna, and chicken parmigiana. It also had two pieces of bread included with it.

The bread is all homemade! The inside of the bread is fluffy and soft, and the seasoning on top of the bread is salty and craveable. I’ve always been a sucker for delicious bread, but I’d do crimes for another piece of this wonderful restaurant’s bread.

Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that this restaurant uses Dr. Pepper in their bread? Well, now you know! I wonder if the entrancing nature of their bread has anything to do with their magical secret ingredient. 

The main meal was also awesome. I’ve never been a big lasagna fan, but their lasagna is devilishly delicious. The chicken parmigiana was wonderfully crisp on the outside, but juicy and tender on the inside. The tomato sauce in both the lasagna and on top of the chicken parmigiana was wonderfully vibrant. The fettuccini alfredo was otherworldly: it was smooth, rich, and definitely more than just a creamy, cheese sauce. I couldn’t tell what else was in it, but it was divine. After I took my first bite, I almost dropped my fork, and quietly mumbled an exclamation of joy (I can’t say it here, but let’s just say it invoked a strong reaction within me).

La Ristorante Italiano di Famiglia has earned its place as the best restaurant in town. If you haven’t been there, you need to.