It’s obvious from our travels that great food can be found just about everywhere. One of the things that elevates a good meal, to the status of great, is the atmosphere. You have probably found yourself enjoying a delicious meal in a location that felt cold and less than welcoming. While not every restaurant will have world class dishes, we know that eateries in the Midwest are usually filled with friendly faces and welcoming smiles. When we traveled to Fort Scott, Kansas we were confident that we would find Crooner’s Lounge hits the mark for Midwest hospitality.
We want to thank Visit Fort Scott and Crooner’s Lounge for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Located in historic downtown Fort Scott, Crooner’s Lounge has been serving up delectable dishes since 2012. While this frontier fort city is just an hour south of Kansas City, for some reason we had failed to thoroughly explore it, until now. During our research, we found that there is an upscale dining option located just a couple of blocks from the historic fort. It was an easy decision to add this to our itinerary. We arrived in the early evening, and found that the Happy Hour was still running for a few minutes. The quaint bar area was dotted with groups of friends catching up on life over drinks. As our host directed us toward the dining room, we were welcomed by some of the local patrons. It certainly made us feel right at home.
As we made our way into the main dining area, we noticed the mural that gives Crooner’s Lounge its name. Crystal made note that we should get a selfie in front of it, but for now we would have to wait for some of the other diners to finish. Scanning the menu, we noticed lots of the dishes rotate depending on availability of ingredients. The restaurant is dedicated to using the freshest stock they can get, so that means that the menu is always in flux. With so many intriguing options, we decided to order salads to buy us some more time to choose.
By the time our salads were finished, our minds had been made up. Crystal was intrigued by the description of the Walnut Chicken. Crooner’s Lounge hits the mark with this delicious dish. A baked chicken breast is coated with honey Dijon and crushed walnuts. While this all sounds so simple, it was a flavor combination that we had not found in any of the places we have visited. Kudos to these inventive chefs for designing this unique dish. They paired it with mashed red potatoes and steamed vegetables to complete the meal.
While we were still trying to decide on our meals, owner Jared Leek dropped by our table to welcome us. Our discussion turned to the menu, so I asked him to point out some of the local favorites. He explained that each week they drive to Kansas City to get fresh seafood for their weekend visitors. Jared recommended I consider a dish from that portion of the menu. Once I read the description for the Crab & Shrimp Louie, I knew I had found my choice. The dish begins with one of Crooner’s flavorful crab cakes for a base. On top of that, it is garnished with diced shrimp, boiled eggs, and avocado. Some mixed greens and a house-made sauce help tie all of these flavors together. This dish would rank highly on the menu of any seafood place that we have ever experienced.
While eating our dinners, we noticed a table nearby ordering dessert. What was delivered to their table intrigued us. While we knew we would be full by the time we completed our meals, our neighboring table’s plate was calling our name. Jared noticed we were nearing the end of our dinner, and came by to tell us about their tempting desserts. With a pastry chef on staff, Crooner’s Lounge hits the mark when it comes to sweet endings. We asked what we were witnessing just a few feet away, and he told us it was a Lemon Raspberry Cake. It took no prodding to convince us that a slice of this delectable dessert was in our immediate future. We waited anxiously, while a slice was dished up for us. This amazing treat has a well balanced mix of flavors, that come through in each bite. It was a lemony delight that teased our taste buds with hints of raspberry flavor. Although we knew we may regret it, the entire slice was quickly devoured.
Midwest Hospitality Shines Through
With our bellies nearly bursting, it was time to get our legs back under us. Jared asked us if we would like to see the Liberty Theatre, which is housed in the same building. As we made our way through the building, he told us that the theatre is used for musical events throughout the year. He then led us outside to a patio that is often used as a music venue, as well. It was apparent that the entire complex was designed to provide a sophisticated environment that would be welcoming to guests. We made a mental note that a return visit would be required to check out one of the musical events.
Crooner’s Lounge Hits the Mark
Before we left, Crystal insisted we get that selfie. While the earlier diners had departed, others had replaced them. It was clear to us that Crooner’s Lounge is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike. We decided to just go with the circumstances and grab our photo. While we didn’t see any live entertainment during our visit, we could imagine the sweet sounds of crooners flowing through the building. This visit reminded us that you can find some of the most unexpected pleasures in places you don’t expect. How many of you have dined at Crooner’s Lounge in Fort Scott, Kansas?