Monthly Archives: May 2011

Amazing Ribs: Wichita’s latest new ‘cue

Wichita’s newest barbecue restaurant is Amazing Ribs BBQ, a family-owned place that opened last week at 3930 W. Douglas in the space once occupied by Lola’s Sports Bar and Grill. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Owner Brian Moses is a former auto repair shop owner who was always encouraged by his friends to open a restaurant to sell his ribs, which he says are so fall-off-the-bone tender that his motto is “Leave your teeth at home.”

He and his wife, Debra, who’ve been married 34 years, put all their savings in to the restaurant plus helped finance it by selling their camper, two classic cars and all Brian’s auto repair equipment. He wanted to open a barbecue restaurant, he said, not a “shack.” Moses giddily told me how a championship barbecue master visited his restaurant last week and told him his ribs were among the best he’d ever tasted.

The huge menu includes ribs, brisket and all the barbecue regulars, plus sides such as breaded green beans, cucumber and tomato salad, breaded mushrooms, macaroni and cheese and more. Moses is particularly proud of his flatbread sandwich, which is grilled on buttery sourdough and filled with smoked turkey, smoked chicken, smoked ham plus pepperjack and American cheeses.

For more information, call 316-440-4130.

Wichita’s latest dining trend: FroYo for all

Yogurt Xplosion is one of the latest additions to Wichita's self-serve scene.

First it was hamburgers. Then it was hot dogs. (Actually, it’s still hamburgers and hot dogs)

Gelato had its moment. So did Japanese hibachi grills, followed by fast food-style Japanese hibachi grills.

The latest food trend in Wichita is frozen yogurt — specifically self-serve frozen yogurt.

Orange Leaf opened Wichita’s eyes to how much fun it can be to pull a lever and dump as much creamy goodness as you want into a bowl, top it with as many crushed up Oreo bits as you can handle and pay the price in ounces — and calories.

I love Orange Leaf, even though I try hard to avoid it, mainly because it’s very hard to exercise self control at such fabulous places. If there were no consequences to eating $10 worth of peanut butter frozen yogurt daily, I’d do it.

This week, I wrote my dining story about all the new frozen yogurt places planned for Wichita, and there are a lot of ‘em. Plan your summer eating tour with my handy guide, which will appear in the Go! section on Friday.

Question of the week: Restaurants we’d miss most

My visits to Joplin's Red Lobster were always a highlight of my year when I was a kid.

The Joplin tornado got me waxing about restaurants I grew up visiting as a kid that hold a special place in my childhood memory.

Both Red Lobster, where I always went with my grandpa, and Fred & Red Chili survived the storm, I was happy to learn.

There’s no doubt that a long list of Wichita restaurants hold similar sentimental value for people here. This week, I want to know which local restaurants have special places in your personal history? Which ones have sentimental value that goes far beyond what the kitchen puts out?

Answer in the comments section below.

Old Mill Tasty Shop opening for weekend dinner

She’s been mulling it over for a while, and Old Mill Tasty Shop owner Mary Wright has finally decided that there’s no time like the present to extend her weekend hours to include dinner.

Starting this weekend, she’ll keep the restaurant at 604 E. Douglas open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

She’s hoping to attract crowds with her summer-friendly soda fountain and ice cream offerings. She also wants to help increase foot traffic downtown but says dining options are mostly bar-ish. She’ll offer a place for families to go.

Friday nights will be mashed potato nights, meaning Wright and staff will create some type of entree that’ll have mashed potatoes on the side. On Saturday nights, she’ll have a Southwestern specialty.

Wright plans to continue the later weekend hours through late August or early September.

Waiting for news on Joplin’s finest dining

Fred & Red was (is??) at 1719 S. Main in Joplin.

I’m back from a little weekend adventure in Joplin that I’d rather not relive ever, ever again.

And now that I am back and coming down from the ordeal, my mind keeps drifting to Joplin. My mom grew up there, and as a kid, I spent every Thanksgiving and much of my summer visiting all my grandparents and aunts and uncles there.

Even as a kid, restaurants were important to me. I lived in Dodge City, where the arrival of Applebee’s in the mid-1990s was beyond huge dining news. So I considered Joplin to be the ultimate fine dining destination. At my insistence, every single trip there included a visit to Red Lobster, where I’d eat cheesy biscuits until I couldn’t move. My grandpa — he died a few years ago — always paid the tab.

My parents also were big on Fred & Red Chili, a greasy spoon diner that, sort of like NuWay, had just a horseshoe shaped bar for seating. (Anthony Bourdain featured in in an episode of “No Reservations” earlier this year.)

Fred & Red specialized in chili, specifically chili poured over tamales and chili poured over spaghetti. The spaghetti concoction is called “spaghetti red” and my mom made it for dinner all the time when I was growing up. “Can’t remember a time they were not there,” my mom said in a text message last night. “Dad says 50 or 60 years.” Actually, Fred and Red opened in 1923 and moved to its Main Street location in 1943. Mom and dad hadn’t even been born.

I’ve scoured the internet today and am getting conflicting reports about whether Red Lobster or Fred & Red survived. I so hope they did.

I also got a kind note yesterday from Scott Redler, one of the founders of Freddy’s Frozen Custard. He knew my family was from Joplin, and we’d often talk about how much he liked it there. (He once had a Timberline in Joplin as well.) The Joplin Freddy’s was destroyed in the storm, though none of the employees or customers were hurt.

I’ll update this post when I get a firm answer on Red Lobster and Fred & Red.

*Update: I just got a response from a Joplin-ite on a Facebook forum, who says Red Lobster is standing. She saw it with her own eyes. Yay!

**Update No. 2: Helpful blog reader TJW pointed me to this picture, which clearly shows Fred & Red still standing. It’s to the right in the frame below. You can recogize the sign. Whew!

Fred & Red is visible on the right of this picture. It's still standing!

Two updates, as promised

Bowman, right, with Tandoc at her restaurant today.

Update No. 1

He said he would, and he did. Today, Richard Bowman and his buddies ended their restaurant quest, during which they lunched at all 48 restaurants local chef Tanya Tandoc recommended in a story we published last year. They ended the project, appropriately, at Tandoc’s new Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. Here’s the picture Richard just sent. I love the worn and highlighted newspaper clipping.

Update No. 2

Heritage Restaurant passed its inspections, owner Michael Choi said, and it’ll reopen tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.

Restaurant odds and ends

Please feast on this little roundup of restaurant tidbits, which includes ribs, hot wings and a Sue Sylvester moment.

Mr. Ka-Pow’s, a restaurant at 4734 S. Broadway, is putting on a hot wing eating challenge for charity on Saturday. Competitors will attempt to eat 12 Dragon Fire hot wings, presumably the hottest of the hot. The first competitors to finish win prizes ranging from $300 in cash to a $100 gas card. Participants are encouraged to donate $30, and money raised benefits Alternative Gifts International. The first heat starts at 1 p.m. Register here or call 316-522-5276.

Fire It Up BBQ at 4626 S. Senca is serving all-you-can-eat ribs for $9.99 from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. The deal is for dine-in customers only, though the restaurant also is serving $12.99 carry-out slabs.

Panda Express at 11787 E. Kellogg will donate 20 percent of the proceeds taken in from  from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Participants must present a flier that can be picked up at any Via Christi gift shop or from Via Christi Foundation at 723 N. McLean, Suite 310.

This might not be the most appropriate time to share this, but I vowed that next time I wrote about Panda Express, I’d try to include this Sue Sylvester moment from a recent episode of “Glee.” (I, for the record, sorta liked Panda Express.)

Who had a White Castle?

Now I didn't know those burgers were hole-y. Did you?

The Square Burger Award goes to my friends Beccy Tanner and Jaime Green, who quite competently covered the pandemonium that was the White Castle birthday celebration yesterday in the Dillon’s parking lot.

A pressing work commitment kept me away, but I heard lots of stories from those who were there — stories of 90-minute waits, slider shortages and grilled onions. My friend Katie texted to tell me she went but left empty handed. “We lasted about three minutes in line,” she said. “We’re not waiters.”

Another friend described the scene as a “a mess of humanity and beef.”

Were you there? Was it worth it? Let me know if you had a “gut bomb” and how you’re feeling today.

And if you missed it (or if you’re also not a “waiter,”) watch Jaime’s video below.

Heritage restaurant recovers from fire

The Heritage: So fresh and so clean.

Heritage Restaurant, the fire-damaged diner at 4551 S. Broadway that was consistently the state’s largest seller of Kansas Lottery tickets and a popular hangout for Keno players, is waiting on one more city inspection before reopening. The Heritage could be back in business as early as Saturday.

The February fire, caused by faulty wiring, left the restaurant with $250,000 in damage. Owner Michael Choi spent $300,000 completely redoing the restaurant, which he says regular customers won’t recognize. I stopped in this morning and accidentally crashed an inspection. The space was clean, bright and smelled like fresh paint.

The Heritage’s menu focuses on “meat and potatoes” diner fare, Choi said. It also has been a popular south side breakfast destination. It’s an 0pen-24-hours kind of place.

Choi will let me know when he’s picked a firm re-opening date, and I’ll update this post.

Delano’s La Galette turns 25

This week, I wrote my dining story for the Go! section about La Galette, one of my favorite neighborhood eateries. The restaurant’s owners, Tony Abdayem and his family, are celebrating 25 years in business this week.

This is an accomplishment considering that many restaurants these days struggle to stay open past 25 months. And it’s especially amazing when you consider how much the restaurant has grown from the tiny, seven-seat, can’t-afford-a-sign operation it was on May 17, 1986.

I sat down with Tony on Tuesday, the actual anniversary, and before I knew it, more than an hour had sped by. He’s an interesting many with a passion for his business.

What do I love best at La Galette? There’s no better fattoch dressing in town, in my opinion. Their’s is a vibrant purple-pink color and is made with sumac, olive oil, lemon juice and emulsified red onion. I also am addicted to their quiches, made in individual round crusts, which to me taste like dessert. And for actual dessert, I can’t get enough of the crumbly French petit fours and the heart-shaped, crispy-sweet palmiers, which are visible just in front of Tony in my picture above.

Happy Birthday to a Wichita treasure.