Monthly Archives: January 2011

Pitts out at Press; Harvest has new chef

Chef Douglas Pitts, whose resume includes a long list of Wichita restaurants, has left his job at Press at 1720 N. Webb Road.

Pitts opened the restaurant and cocktail lounge with Oeno/Uptown Bistro/Sabor owner Melad Stephan in November. He notified me today that he’d left Press but didn’t want to elaborate.

I’ve got a call into Stephan, so I’ll report what I find out about his search for a new chef.


Speaking of the Chef Shuffle, popular local chef David Wirebaugh, who was always good for a local cookoff, has left Wichita’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt to open a new restaurant called Q Restaurant at the Hyatt in San Antonio.

His replacement is new executive chef Paul Freimuth, who previously worked as the executive sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.

Sloppy Joe’s will serve… Sloppy Joes

Well, what else would they serve?

Sloppy Joe’s is a new restaurant going into the space at 803 N. West St. that in the past several years has housed Sonic, Si Senor and other short-lived businesses.

This one is owned by Mark DeMoura, who also owns Mark’s Transmission Service nearby at 502 N. Anna.

Mark and his wife, Windy, will specialize in Sloppy Joes but also will serve burgers, fries, hot dogs and other diner-style items. They hope to be open sometime in February and are still deciding important matters, such as what type of bread to pile the Joe on and what the hours should be. (He’s toying with the idea of opening for breakfast.)

Sloppy Joe’s will offer both dine-in and carry-out options. And lots of napkins.

The final word on Metro Grill II

Michael Gonzalez is about to open his Metro Grill II, as evidenced by the yard sign marketing campaign popping up. The answer to the question on the sign is that the Infamous BOB is a sandwich made with chicken, arugula, tomatoes, a huge hunk of fresh mozzarella, all served on toasted, crunchy bread.

The man himself, Michael Gonzalez, called me on Friday to let me know that he will definitely, 100 percent for sure be opening Metro Grill II at 321 S. Andover Road in Andover on Feb. 7, which is one week from today.

He’ll serve his Metro Grill menu of amazing sandwiches, pastas and other entrees from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.


On Sunday evenings, he’ll do reservation-only gourmet dinners, starting with a pair of special Valentine’s Day dinners next weekend. On Feb. 12 and 13, he’ll serve a five-course meal and allow couples to bring their own wine with no cork fee.

Hours for the Valentine’s meal are 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday (when he’ll stray from normal hours and close to the general public) and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call 316-807-5229.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I’m doing a story for Friday’s paper about special meals and dinners being offered around town. Let me know if you’re aware of any I might miss.

A delicious way to build morale

I’ve been asked several times to judge employee cooking contests. Earlier this year, I went helped Davis Moore judge an employee chili cookoff for charity. And today, my friend Jill Laffoon, marketing manager at the Kansas Masonic Home, asked me to come help judge an employee hummus contest.

Well, you know me. Anything for a friend.

Although I now have garlic breath to spare, I was amazed by the creativity the Masonic home kitchen staff displayed.

All the entries were good and ranged from red peppery to bursting with tahini flavor. Jill and I ultimately awarded first prize to the hummus prepared by Aaron Wurtz, director of dining services. It was citrusy and well balanced, even if it wasn’t the most beautiful of the entries.

I’m thinking about proposing some sort of cookoff throwdown here at the Eagle.

But I’m thinking something sweeter, like Chocolate chip cookies or apple pie or cupcakes.

Who’s in?

Two good ideas for lunch

Martha and Alberto Valdez, owners of La Tradicion Tortilleria

When a reader takes the time to e-mail me about a little-known restaurant, I go ahead and assume that it’s probably pretty good.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve received two such delicious e-mails. One was from Cindy Sundell-Guy, who urged me to try La Tradicion Tortilleria at 1701 N. Broadway. She raved about the $5.99 lunch buffet, the green chile with pork and the poblano and onion with cheese. Occasionally, La Tradicion serves mole, tamales and soups such as hominy stew.

“The first time I went in, the owner dipped me up a spoonful of everything on the buffet so I could taste it all,” she wrote. “I felt like I had gone to a Mexican covered dish dinner. What a treat.  He is really accommodating.”

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

**UPDATE** I went to La Tradicion for lunch today and enjoyed the buffet, which is different from a usual buffet in that the owners serve it up for you. Turns out it’s in the former Maharaja building.

Some things were better than others. And I smell like friedness now. But it was a fun experience. **END UPDATE**

I must admit I’ve never heard of the other restaurant that received reader praise: D’s Dairy Freeze. It opened last July in a former Pig-In Pig-Out space at 1935 S. Hydraulic.

The small restaurant, which has seating but does mostly drive-through service, sells ice cream, malts, shakes, burgers, salads, onion rings, pies and more. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, but starting at the end of March, it’s open until 10 p.m. nightly.

Reader Lou Ann Ward works nearby and says people need to know how good it is. She wants it to stay in business but at the same time is afraid she’ll have to start standing in line when people realize what a value it is.

Lunch is in an hour. Go!

Wichita Pizza Co. review

If you get my Dining with Denise newsletter, then you know that the mystery picture I posted on Monday came from Wichita Pizza Co., a restaurant I’m reviewing for Friday’s paper.

The picture was of a taco pizza topped with a huge pile of crumbled Doritos. Wow, was it good. I’ve been a fan of taco pizza since I was a kid and we used to get them at Pizza Hut.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wichita Pizza Co. since it opened and all of them were true. The food is homemade and delicious — the kind you think about for a few days after you leave. You can read my review today, but it’ll be published in the Go! section in the morning.

Talk to Tanya today on the live chat

I’m back with a live chat at 1:30 p.m. today, and I’ll have a special guest.


Tanya Tandoc, who announced yesterday that she’d be reopening her much-loved Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, has agreed to hop on that chat at 2 p.m.

But don’t let that stop you from joining me for the first half hour. There’s much to discuss.

Question of the week

Valentine’s Day is coming right up. How do you plan to celebrate, culinarily speaking?

Do you plan fight the crowds to take your sweetheart out, and if so, where will you go?

Answer in the comments section below.


Big, huge dining news over on Carrie’s blog.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen is going to reopen in a new space with a slightly different approach. Read all about it.

Pei Wei + patience = Free Korean BBQ

Pei Wei at 2441 N. Maize Road will distribute cards good for a free Korean BBQ Beef entree to diners who visit the restaurant today and Thursday.

The cards are redeemable starting Monday, when the restaurant debuts the new dish, and are good through Feb. 6.

The new dish features beef sauteed with green apples and red peppers and is said to have a sweet and smoky flavor. For more information, call 316-729-7285.