Fork in the Road: Family-owned Kreem Kup a Wamego tradition

Live at Five
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:47 AM CDT
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WAMEGO, Kan. (WIBW) - Wamego is known as the home to the Oz Museum, the windmill in City Park, the Columbian Theatre, the colorful water tower on the west edge of town and -- for more than 70 years -- the Kreem Kup Restaurant.

Many eateries have come and gone since 1952, when the Kreem Kup first opened its doors.

The restaurant is located at 601 US-24 highway, on the northeast edge of Wamego. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Kreem Kup owner Phil Stultz, who bought the business in 1973, says a lot of “hard work” has gone into keeping the restaurant open all these years. He credits his staff for the restaurant’s success.

“I can’t say enough about my staff that works with me out here,” Stultz said. “We offer great customer service, a good quality of product and serve them in a clean and friendly environment.”

The Kreem Kup is a favorite destination for those looking for a good meal at lunch and dinner time.

“We offer 25 different sandwiches here,” Stultz said, “so it gives you a lot of varieties to choose from.”

Specialties, Stultz said, include “a killer Reuben sandwich”; the Texas burger; the Philly cheesesteak sandwiches; turkey-bacon ranch; and in the summertime, the bacon-lettuce-and tomato sandwich featuring locally grown tomatoes.

Food items are prepared fresh for customers, Stultz said.

“We cook everything to order here,” he said. “I think my customers are worth it. When you come in and order a sandwich from me, we cook it fresh right then and there for them.”

The Kreem Kup menu is constantly changing. A few years ago, broasted chicken was added to the menu, and it’s proven to be a big hit for customers.

“Like everything else, it was kind of by chance,” Stultz said of adding chicken to the menu. “But this time of year, especially with the basketball tournaments going on and friends gathering one way or another, why, they come in and get ‘em a big box of chicken and some cole slaw -- we make that fresh here -- and some mashed potatoes and gravy, and it’s an easy way to serve a group of people at home.”

As its name would suggest, one of the restaurant’s main calling cards is its ice cream.

“We serve a great quality of ice cream, and we get that locally from either Nebraska or Wichita dairies,” Stultz said. “It’s a special formula that they make. It’s very creamy and tasteful and we still offer that in chocolate, vanilla or twisted together.”

Stultz’s daughter Lindsay Bartlett, who now lives with her family in Waverly, grew up working in the restaurant.

She has many fond memories of her time spent at the Kreem Kup.

“It’s a good family tradition,” she said. “My brother and I were both taught that you treat others the way you want to be treated, that service with a smile goes a long ways.

“And even when I’m back home, and I want to have a happy thought, I think about giving someone a good ice-cream cone.”

This year marks 50 years since the Stultz family took ownership of the restaurant, and special events are being planned to mark the anniversary.