Monthly Archives: March 2011

Chat with Denise Neil about Wichita restaurants at 1:30 p.m. today

After a short hiatus, the live dining chat will return at 1:30 p.m. today. Just log on to talk live via computer about Wichita’s best barbecue, all the food fundraisers on the horizon and any other thing you can think of.

Palmers Grill will open Monday

The long-empty building that previously (and very briefly) housed Fritz Co. Grille at 3421 N. Toben has a new tenant.

Palmers Grill, owned by former Old Chicago manager Trey Downer, is set to open on Monday.

It’ll be open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and will serve burgers, steaks, pastas, sandwiches and standard bar foods such as buffalo wings, nachos and spinach and artichoke dip. You can see a full menu here.

The menu item that caught my eye: The Juicy Lucy, a takeoff on a famous method of burger preparation which involves stuffing the patty full of cheese before cooking.

For more information, call 316-634-8338.

Question of the week: Who does ribs best?

I loved the ribs at When Pigs Fly, the restaurant I reviewed this week.

But I also know enough to know that everyone who loves ribs has a pretty firm opinion about which ones are best.

Who, in your opinion, serves Wichita’s best ribs? I’m talking restaurants, here, people, even though I’m sure your Uncle Jim knows his way around his backyard smoker.

Answer in the comments section below.

Cooking up some tasty fundraisers

Avivo is among the restaurants planning to feed folks for a cause.

The coming weeks offers lots of opportunities to eat for a cause. And as you well know, when you eat for a cause, the calories don’t count.

Chipotle starts it today with an excuse to eat burritos. Lots and lots of burritos. Diners who print and take this flyer to any local Chipotle today and order a burrito, burrito bowl, tacos or a salad will have 50 percent of the proceeds from their purchase donated to the Humane Society to help homeless animals in Wichita.

Avivo at 2441 N. Maize Road  is helping Big Brothers Big Sisters on Tuesday by offering a special buffet loaded with pizza, pasta, salad and a soft drink for $10. The buffet starts at 6 p.m., and all proceeds will be donated to the cause.

Chris Cakes, the local cook famous for pancake flipping and sausage slinging, will star in the Fourth Annual Wichita Scottish Rite Pancake feed at the Wichita Scottish Rite, 332 E. First St. It’ll be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, and tickets are $5 at the door. Proceeds will help with continued restoration of the building.

Back Lot Carry-Out, which serves to-go barbecue, burgers, bierocks and more at 37th and Topeka, will donate $1 for every combo meal sold to anyone who mentions Big Brothers Big Sisters from Monday to April 8. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday. Call 316-640-6261 for more information.

Hereford House is putting on a Spanish wine and cuisine tasting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 7. The event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Andover, is $40 a person, and all proceeds benefit polio eradication. Call 316-733-7800 for more information.

Death By Chocolate is Saturday

If there’s a good way to go, this is it.

Death by Chocolate, a sweet annual fundraiser for Exploration Place, is this Saturday at the venue, 300 N. McLean.

I’ve attended the past two years, and I can attest that this event offers the impossible:

Too. Much. Chocolate.

Last year's panel of chocolate judges included, from left, Brett Harris, Tracy Cassidy, Joe Stumpe, yours truly, Suzanne Perez Tobias and Kathy Deane.

Death by Chocolate features people all dressed up roaming the common areas of Exploration Place and sampling chocolate treats from some of Wichita’s best sweetmakers: Cocoa Dolce, Connie’s Cookies, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, the Airport Hilton, etc.

This is a place where you’ll find no-bakes next to cupcakes next to cookies covered in edible glitter. Last year, we sampled a creation we haven’t stopped thinking about since: Melted chocolate and bacon sandwiched between two pieces of French toast and topped with powdered sugar.

Though I was supposed to be a judge at the event again this year, a family obligation has taken me away, and I am pretty upset about it. Suzanne has promised to sneak a few chocolate morsels into a Ziploc baggie in her purse.

Tickets are $75 a person and include access to chocolate, non-chocolate appetizers, three open bars serving wine and beer, live music, a fashion show and a viewing of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. (As if anyone cares now! Hrmph!)

For tickets visit the Exploration Place website or call 316-660-0671.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen to open April 11

Tanya looking saucy in the aprons she'll have for sale, along with Soup Kitchen T-shirts.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen at 1725 E. Douglas should open on Monday, April 11, assuming that the inspection process goes smoothly, Tanya Tandoc told me this morning.

I called her because I’ve been teased lately by Facebook posts put up by Tanya and her brother/biz partner, Warren, showing the restaurant in progress. (I’ve also seen her husband and head construction dude Wayne around town lately, looking exhausted and dusty.)

The restaurant is taking shape, she said. She had to shout over the noise in the background, which she told me was crews putting her new floor in. She has light, and all of her kitchen equipment — including a fancy 10-burner range — is in the restaurant waiting to be installed.

“Everything is sort of gelling,” she said. “You know how you wait and wait and wait for something to gel and all the sudden it’s there?”

Tandoc’s plan is to open at lunchtime on April 11, then throw some sort of grand opening celebration later in May. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Also, Tanya has posted her daily soup specials on Facebook for those of you wondering when your favorite will be available: Mondays — chicken noodle on mashed potatoes; Tuesdays — gumbo; Wednesdays — chicken curry on rice; Thursdays — chili; Fridays — chowder and tomato curry; Saturdays — chicken tortilla. She’ll have tomato dill and bread pudding every day.

Keep scrolling for a few more pictures from the construction zone.

Read More »

Restaurant comings and goings and etc.

Leave town for a week and the whole restaurant scene goes nuts. Carrie was very busy last week reporting all sorts of restaurant shenanigans. Here’s a quick roundup for you:

Uptown Bistro is closing on Saturday. This makes me sad because it was once made a killer steak frites, and the space is so pretty. Maybe something else fabulous will fill that space someday.

Burger Barn is for sale, as is evidenced by the sign posted in front of the restaurant. Owners have some family health problems to attend to.

Linkhaus is making some changes, the most notable of which is that it plans to move to a more affordable strip center location. In the meantime, it’s lowering prices starting on Saturday.

A new Little Caesars is coming to 35th and Woodlawn.

Everybody’s Family Restaurant, owned by Fat Ernie and Co., has just opened in the former Brownstone Grill space at 3105 E. Harry.

Whew. Now I’m hungry.

Make a bid for Make-A-Wish

Some of the K-State memorabilia up for auction.

Applebee’s is classing up its 2035 N. Rock Road location, and in preparation, it’s auctioning off much of the sports memorabilia that decorates its walls.

Those who stop in the restaurant between now and midnight on Thursday can make bids, silent auction style, on items from the Kansas City Royals, NASCAR, the Kansas City Chiefs, K-State and more. Click here to view a sampling of some of the items up for bid.

All the proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, that awesome organization that let me judge meatloaf recently.

Those who really want to help the Make-A-Wish cause also can do so by dining at Wichita Buffalo Wild Wings locations on Wednesday.  Diners should bring along this printable coupon and a portion of the meal ticket will be given to the cause.

On another note, I missed you. What’d you eat while I was gone?

See you in a week

I get to take a week off starting on Monday, which is good for me but bad for this blog, which I will cover with Saran Wrap and hope it doesn’t go stale while I’m gone.

See you all on March 28.

Question of NEXT week

The beautiful weather earlier this week made my BFF Jaime and I eager to do some patio dining, and we chose Il Vicino. My daughter, unfortunately, decided it wasn't spring enough for her taste.

I know, I know. You JUST answered my question of the week. But since I won’t be here next week (YAY SPRING BREAK!!), I’m going to have to quiz you a few days early.

So here’s what I want to know: We got a definite taste of warmer weather earlier this week, which makes me and many diners eager for outdoor dining.

In your opinion, which Wichita restaurant has the best patio for outdoor dining?

Answer in the comments section below.