Monthly Archives: April 2011

A whole new Heroes

This is what Heroes looks like without carpet.

Heroes in Old Town has been closed since Sunday while workers pound away on a half-million dollar remodel. New manager Jason Fisher had hoped to be ready to re-open this afternoon, but things got behind, as they tend to do.

If all goes well, though, he’ll be ready to open at lunchtime on Friday. When customers re-enter, they’ll find a new-and-improved Heroes, complete with a carpet-free concrete floor (better for sloshed beer absorption), new standup drink bars and brand-new booths and bar stools.

A new, expanded patio should be ready to go by Cinco De Mayo (May 5), and Fisher and Co. also are working on adding 19 new items to the menu, including bierocks, enchiladas, salmon and several new salads.

I’m going to inspect the new menu sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll report back. All I can say is that Fisher BETTER leave my buffalo chicken pizza right where it is.

I’m kidding. Kind of.

Bloomin’ onion for lunch, hibachi eggs for breakfast

If you read this blog, you know that  restaurateurs are a very giving people. Every week, our town offers more ways to eat for a cause.

But I really like the sound of these two approaching food fundraisers, mainly because they give people the opportunity to do something they don’t usually get to do, namely eat Outback Steakhouse food for lunch and watch their breakfast being cooked on a Japanese hibachi grill.

Sake Japanese Steakhouse, the new business in the former Kobe Steakhouse building at 650 N. Carriage Parkway, will open special for a charity breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Attendees will be asked for a $20 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and they can watch as chefs prepare traditional breakfast items on the restaurant’s hibachi grills. For more information, call 316-689-0888.

Then on Monday, students and staff from Paul Mitchell the School-Wichita will be serving lunch at the Outback Steak House at 2020 N. Rock Road (which normally isn’t open for weekday lunch), to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Via Christi Health. Diners can buy a $15 ticket for either an 11:30 a.m. or a 12:30 p.m. seating, and they’ll get a choice of a chicken or steak dinner, Bloomin’ Onion appetizer, side salad, baked potato and beverage. Tickets must be purchased prior to the event by calling 316-630-0600 or at Paul Mitchell the School, 3242 N. Rock Road.

Question of the week: Best brunch?

More and more restaurants are offering lavish Sunday brunch buffets with lots of extras — and not just on holidays. I’ve always loved the eggs Benedict station at the Granite City brunch, and Yia Yia’s has recently added a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar to its weekly buffet.

In honor of Easter, one of the brunchiest of holidays, I’m asking you to share your choice for best brunch buffet. Need a refresher on who’s serving? Read my story that’s going in this week’s Go! section that offers a guide to Easter Sunday brunches.

Oh, and answer the question of the week in the comments section below. Please?

A peek inside Tanya’s

We meant to take a picture of our food before we dug in, but we were so excited when the food arrived, we totally forgot.

I know I’ve been blogging a lot about Tanya lately, but I hope you will indulge one more post. (I get the feeling you all are interested, after all.)

On Saturday, I finally got a chance to check out the new Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, which opened a week ago today at 1725 E. Douglas. We arrived at 1:15, thinking we’d be smart and miss the lunch rush. But alas, the line to the counter wound OUT THE DOOR. We left, did a little shopping, and came back a half hour later when the line was still long but at least contained indoors.

I decided to order my old favorite on my first trip back — tomato bisque with half a Milano.

My tastebud memory was instantly awakened to that silky sweet tomato goodness, and I’d forgotten how much I loved the basil mayo on the sandwich, which also is made with roast beef, Parmesan cheese and romaine on ciabatta. The food is exactly what you remember. I had almost forgotten about Tanya’s delicious green salad, topped with her crunchy homemade croutons and tangy homemade vinaigrette, and I had forgotten about her fabulous, slightly pink, slightly fruity iced tea.

My Tanya's lunch dates, Jaime and Annie, glowing in the bright new dining room.

My sister, Annie, ordered a pumpkin soup that was like savory pumpkin pie in a bowl, and Jaime had the chicken tortilla with a half a Cindy The Boy. We also couldn’t resist bread pudding for dessert, even though Tanya had already treated us to a big slice of her brother and business partner Warren’s red velvet birthday cake.

The dining room felt smaller, even though it isn’t, but the wait was shorter because of Tanya’s new order-at-the-counter method of service. I also was happy to see the return of the famous counter made out of salvaged doors, a touch from the previous location I’d forgotten about.

Business is going well in the first week, Tanya told us. She described daily lines, giant numbers that dwarfed anything she used to do in the old location, and another problem she’s trying to figure out. Sales were so good that Tanya simply ran out of food and had to close without keeping her advertised late hours on Friday and Saturday. She and her handlers told me they’d be able to fix that problem as they got a better feel for the new business.

I can’t wait to go back.

Bread pudding with caramel sauce. Same as it ever was.

The return of Dyne Quik

I’ve been surprised by how many readers have asked me lately about Dyne Quik, the little Valentine diner at 1202 N. Broadway.

New owner Richard Jack reopened the spot, officially renaming it to Lil’ Joe’s Dyne Quik (after his 7-year-old son), about a week and a half ago.  He’s now open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

His menu includes daily blue plate specials such as pork chops (today’s special), a hot roast beef sandwich (tomorrow’s special) and staples such as burgers, chicken fried steak, sandwiches, salads and more. He also serves traditional breakfast items daily.

Jack, who used to operate a little restaurant near Manhattan a decade ago, says he’s readjusting to life behind the grill. Dyne Quik closed in 2008, and Jack and his crews have spent the past several months removing “50 years of grease,” he said.

Former fans of Dyne Quik have been stopping in to check out the new menu, and all of them compliment Jack on how nice the place looks.

“A lot of people come in that had come here before and say they didn’t know that the walls were actually white,” he said.

For more information, call 316-263-1117.

Taste the wine, keep the glasses

Georg J. Riedel

If I didn’t get to write about restaurants for a living, I’d be a little jealous of my friend Megahn Snyder’s new job. She left her job as a producer at KWCH recently to take a position  as “special events coordinator” at Hereford House, 1400 Terradyne Drive. She gets to plan parties, coordinate weddings and help organize cool events such as the one coming up on Thursday.

Hereford House has lured Georg J. Riedel, the 10th generation head of the Riedel Glass Company, to put on a wine tasting, his first such event in the United States. Riedel glasses cost up to $125 apiece and are designed to best enhance the flavor of wine.

Admission to the event is $125 a person, which includes appetizers, three samples of wine and four Riedel wine glasses that ticketholders can take home.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. For reservations and information, call 316-733-7800,

One-day sale on Mudbug Madness tix

A typical Mudbug Madness feast.

Wichitans don’t get a lot of chances to eat crawfish until they’re sick.

Prairie Pines finds that unacceptable.

From 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. on April 29 and 30, the venue at 4055 N. Tyler will host its third annual Mudbug Madness crawfish boil. Ticket holders will get all the crawfish they can eat plus homemade jambalaya, and music will be provided by local Cajun band, The Mudbugs. A cash bar also will be available.

Prairie Pines owner Kip Scott is testing Facebook effectivness today only by offering a ticket sale. The normal ticket price is $31.95, but anyone who calls  316-303-2037 and mentions “the Facebook deal” can get tickets for $24.95. I’d pick up the phone and call now, if I were you.

I’ll be there on Friday the 29th helping my friend Jaime, the Mudbugs drummer, sell her CDs. See you there. Aiiieeeeee!!

Lotus Leaf closes during improvements

Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie at 613 W. Douglas is closed until Wednesday as its owner Jacquelyn Keefer works on putting together a new kitchen that will allow her to get food out faster.

During its first months of business, the restaurant’s executive chef James Butler has been creating dishes on a regular four-burner kitchen stove. But when the restaurant reopens on Wednesday, it’ll have a six-burner gas range as well as other kitchen improvements.

For more information, call 316-295-4133.

Tanya’s menu, en total

I’ve seen a lot of pictures of the new Tanya’s Soup Kitchen menu on Facebook this week, but I couldn’t really read any of them to my satisfaction. So I’m taking matters into my own hands.

Click here, and you can view, inspect and drool repeatedly over the menu.

Tanya’s opened Wednesday at 1725 E. Douglas to much jubilation and hype. The menu physically looks identical to the previous one but has a few differences. Here are some highlights I noticed:

1. A flight of soups: Tanya will serve four to six fresh-made soups daily, and for those who just can’t choose, she’s offering a “flight of samples” for $5. Soup is served in three sizes — 10 oz., 16 oz., and 24 oz., and prices will vary.

2. New sandwiches: Tanya brought back customer favorites such as the Milano, Olive, Blue Key North and City Chicken. She’s also added the Junie, a Cuban-style sandwich made with bacon, provolone, romaine and Caesar dressing on a Kaiser bun: and the Lulu, made with edamame and roasted garlic hummus with spinach, roasted peppers, toasted almonds and avocado on wheat toast.

3. Salads and desserts: The menu still includes the Ella, Spinach, Cleopatra and more, and bread pudding is still on the dessert, as well as a “chef’s special” dessert.

Anyone been yet? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.

Question of the week: Where next?

My most recent review was of When Pigs Fly. Where should I go next?

The restaurants keep opening and opening and opening so quickly, how’s a reviewer to keep up?

You can see a list of places I’ve reviewed here. And you can compare it to a list of places that have opened in recent months here.

In your opinion, where should I go next and why? (I’m not saying I’ll do it. Just curious what you think. Haha.)

Answer in the comments section below.