SF Chronicle: Michael Bauer’s trip to Kansas: $17 main courses and homes for $75,000


The restaurant has a full bar; a mixed drink will cost $6, and a glass of wine starts at $3.50. The special was a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, which came with a salad and a side dish such as baked potato or asparagus. It was $16.99.

I’m still processing that. How can they serve those large shrimp at that price? A 12-ounce steak is about the same price, and a massive plate of spaghetti and meatballs is less than $13. I took five other people out to dinner and the bill for six was just under $125. The week I left town, my bill for two at Che Fico was $166.

This three-story Victorian house in Independence, Kan., sold for $75,000 two months ago.

I feel his pain having done the reverse move a few years ago (Ohio to Boston).

That was worthy of a HS newspaper.
Jeez Louise. Let me ponder for awhile
and think :thought_balloon:


Funny how his conclusion certainly wasn’t that he was planning to move … (hint: I suspect salaries in the area also reflect said cost of living- well, and now you live in a small town in kansas, so there’s that)

I can’t speak for Kansas but some cities in the Midwest absolutely pay “coastal” salaries even though the cost of living is 1/4 the cost. They have to attract talent so have to pay comparable wages.

Those of us who left.(including Michael) rarely return, at least to the rural part of the state. The bigger population centers do OK, if not exactly booming. A cultural fabric that makes life worth living is missing out that way. There are pockets of coolness. :slight_smile:

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Well you know any good towns that are veg friendly looking for a women’s fashion designer ??? :joy: maybe i need suburbia and a house…!

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“Since my family lives in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, I’ve always claimed to what’s outside the San Francisco bubble., but this trip made me take a harder look at where I live.”

His lack of awareness applies a lot closer than the Midwest. A 16 oz ribeye at the restaurant he went to, Brothers in Kansas, is $24.99. For a the same price, you can get a 14 oz ribeye at Cattlemen’s in Dixon, an hour or so from San Francisco. Not that he’d ever review such a place.


Lawrence is actually a wonderful place with good food and activities courtesy of the University.
Or you can come visit us in Ashland. A few
Cloths designer types here (Red’s Threads) but Shakespeare has a huge wardrobe & costume shop and an inventory they rent to other theatrre companies.
But we have a nifty food and spirt scene.

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Come to Pittsburgh! (Join the thundering hordes from Brooklyn, I should say. . . )
Although this is a meat eating town, I’ll admit.
Come to think about it, the clothes here could use an upgrade! (Seriously. All the bakers and roasters and makers busy here making life better for us all and ugh, the street wear is still. . .I can’t even. . .and I’m no better than the average. . …)


I lived in Columbus Ohio for 20+ years - if you’re serious you should check it out, you’d be surprised . . . I’m not saying it is NYC but I’m saying you’d be surprised. And all the Limited brands and now spin offs are based in Columbus, so there is a LOT of retail fashion work in Columbus. (Abercrombie, Victoria Secret, Express (I can’t remember what some of the other spin offs are now called).

Just saying you’d be surprised - and you can buy a house . . . and save in your 401k . . . and travel . . .and still have some money left over . . . . and eat some good food - though i will say that while Columbus has come a LONG way from when I first moved there, it doesn’t have the breadth in a category as a major coastal city has.

Honda is based outside Columbus for example, so we have some good Japanese restaurants but NOT 50 good Japanese restaurants to choose from. Ohio State is there, so we get a lot of foreign students, so we have a few good Chinese restaurants but you’re NOT going to get 10 specializing in Szechuan and 10 specializing in Cantonese, and a few Dim Sum . . . . . there are 2-3 that are good. You have to seek them out.

Okay I"m done trying to justify life in the midwest (I grew up in NJ outside NYC fyi . . . . ) live where you want to . . . . I told my family for years “Columbus is a great place to live, maybe not the best place to vacation”.



Thanks for posting that. (Am not sure but I think the meal was at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden even space.)
Re: gentrification, yeah, lots of blue collar people & the babushkas have been priced out of old-timey neighborhoods now. Since that was made, Google, Uber & Amazon have flooded quadrant of the core city & the people spending $100 pp are 35 (or younger). There’s still a lot of original Burgh feeling to the city, though, and boroughs within five miles of the city limits where you can buy a house for the price of a nice car. How much longer? Hard to say.

Hubby & I can relate-we are leaving the Bay Area this summer & moving to Omaha, NE. Bought a 4 bedroom, 3 bath brand new house for $120,000. We also can afford to send Small Girl Child to private school-all one one income. We are also looking forward to less traffic.

My ex was from Omaha. Great place.
Except the Bohemian Cafe closed. :frowning:

Apparently, in Kansas, they throw a big hunk of sirloin on a piece of bread for a steak sandwich. None of that wissy sliced roast beef or chopped beef we coastal people use. How cool is that??

My very good friend went to college in Columbus! Actually design offices for limited brands are in nyc even though corporate headquarters are in columbus. I think the buyers come to nyc for market weeks. My friend goes back to visit columbus with some frequency and has told me the best vintage shopping is there! Haha, maybe i’ll go with her at some point and check out the area…ya never know!

Agreed. It’s always been a fairly hip place - historically it was the abolitionist capital of Kansas (as opposed to Topeka, the pro-slavery capital) and the university always attracted the more adventurous Kansas kids. William Burroughs lived there for many years and there was an extremely lively punk rock scene there - not that there isn’t now, but The Outhouse was something else as punk venues went.

Columbus and Pittsburgh are college towns too, and both have famous art schools, thus also have lively local art/music/film scenes.

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And look, Tom Colicchio is opening a restaurant in Kansas City. And I’ll be able to get there in 20 minutes because everywhere is 20 minutes.