Fork in the Road: North Topeka’s favorite Pad

Fork in the Road: North Topeka’s favorite Pad
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:42 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Pad is one of North Topeka’s oldest eateries.

“Since about 1966,” regular Jim Juffey said, when asked how long he’s been eating at The Pad.

“Back in 1972, and we started coming down here on weekends,” Elmer Ent, of Holton, answered. “It’s been a popular place for me.”

“The pad was here when my husband taught at Seaman in 1974 for 13 years,” Elaine Karr, of Emporia, said. “So, a long time.”

“We’ve been run by the same family, my grandpa started in 1961,” Co-owner Troy Mentzer explained. “Before that he had other restaurants in North Topeka and NOTO. My grandpa had great ideas, my parents worked the heck out of them, and there’s a lot that’s been here before I took over in 2000.”

“It’s definitely a family business,” Ent said.

“I got my mom still back there working with me,” Mentzer continued. “Right now, I have my cousin my daughter and my son back there, and probably about 40 cousins and nieces and nephews have worked here. We’ve been Topekans our whole life and we’ll be here forever.”

It’s a consistency customers appreciate.

“A lot of things have changed here in Topeka, but this hasn’t,” Bob Karr said. “And that is a good thing for an old fellow like me.”

But how has the Pad stayed in orbit so long?

“Oh it’s the food, the main thing is the curly cue fries, and the frostys,” Juffey said. “They’ve always been good.”

“The food and the atmosphere,” Ent affirmed. The Karr’s agree.

“On Thursdays it’s always our favorite restaurant because they have homemade noodles,” Elaine explained.

“I think it’s the atmosphere, the good people,” Bob said. “You walk in here and it seems like everybody is a friend... and the food is special.”

“People really notice,” Mentzer said. “Customers are smart, they understand when they’re getting a high-quality product, so we try to that every single day.”

And notice they do.

“It’s kind of a gathering place,” Juffey surmised. “A lot of Seaman people. there’s just a lot of Seaman people that like to come here, and even when they move out of the city, they still come back to North Topeka to eat at the Pad.”

“We don’t have anything like this in Emporia,” Karr confirmed, “so I guess that’s what makes it special.”

“We’ve been blessed to have good food that people like, and it’s a pretty awesome atmosphere,” Mentzer expressed. “People are happy they’re eating, and we do our darnedest to take care of them.”

Ent is a fan.

“Keep on coming back!”

You’ll find The Pad at 1730 NW Topeka Blvd. It’s open 8-9 p.m. every day except Sunday.