|| The Brookville Hotel traces its
roots back to the 1870's, when the railroad spread their
tracks out across the prairie to meet the expected rush of
Longhorn cattle coming up from Texas along the Chisholm
Originally know as the Cowtown Café,
the hotel was one of three to spring up in what was expected
to be a railroad divisional center. Brookville suffered
greatly when the Union Pacific Railroad relocated its round
house to Junction City. Despite the steady decrease in
population, the Brookville Hotel continued to do business in
the small town.
In 1894 Gus and Mae
Magnuson purchased the hotel. It was Mae's cooking that
started the Hotel's reputation for great food, but it was the
Magnuson's daughter, Helen Martin, who originated the famous
"Family Style Chicken Dinners" in 1915. In 1933, the Hotel
passed into Helen's capable hands.
dining room received rave reviews during World War II, from a
continuous parade of soldiers from nearby Camp Phillips and
the Smoky Hill Air Base. The name Brookville Hotel became
synonymous with family style chicken
Additions were made to the Hotel
in 1948 and 1960, but by third generation family member, Cal
Martin, who became a partner in the management of the hotel.
Further additions to the Hotel were made in 1971 and 1978,
increasing the serving capacity to 200.
1982, the ownership of the hotel passed to Mark and Connie
Martin, the fourth generation to serve the famous Brookville
Family Style Fried Chicken.
In 2000, the
decision was made to move the restaurant to Abilene, locating
the restaurant closer to the Interstate Highway which
continues to bring a steady stream of people searching out the
best fried chicken dinners in Kansas.
Martins have replicated the façade of the original Brookville
Hotel, and the dining rooms retain the decorations and feel of
the originals. The newly build "Spirit of Kansas" room and the
"Brandy's Opera House" room, which was added in memory of the
Martin's daughter, continue the practice of building on a
tradition that began in the 1870's, and was made famous in
1915 when the first Family Style Chicken Dinner was served at
the Brookville Hotel.