Monthly Archives: June 2011

I like a man who knows what he wants

This nearly made me choke on my Panera coffee.

My colleaugue Lori Buselt forwarded me the below e-mail exchange between her and her hilarious husband, Brian.

She asked him to look at my Father’s Day dining story and choose where he’d like to go.

Feed your father on Sunday

Restaurants are of the belief that dads like beef.

I always feel bad for dads. Restaurants don’t feel the need to roll out the buffet carpet for him as much as they do for mom or for Easter and Thanksgiving.

Sorry, dad.

Still, there are plenty of places willing to give dad a deal and a meal this Father’s Day, which is Sunday. Check out my story, which will appear in tomorrow’s Go! section.

It’s dining chat day! It’s dining chat day!

After an absence lengthier than I’m okay with, the dining chat will return today. I hope you all haven’t forgotten how to do this.

Log on to Kansas.com at 1:30 p.m. and follow the link at the top of the page to join in. Or, you can sign up for an e-mail reminder via this do-hicky below. We’ll talk about Father’s Day food, The Anchor, the restaurant merry-go-round at 29th and Rock, and any other thing we can think of.

See you then?

Edge Lounge & Cafe takes former Da Nang space

The former Da Nang space at 1556 N. Broadway, has a new tenant — Edge Lounge & Cafe, which opened today.

The lounge, owned by local real estate agent Bach Pham, serves a menu of salads, sandwiches, wraps, hot dogs, wings and other appetizers. It doesn’t have a full bar, but it does serve beer. Pham’s also serving smoothies and coffee drinks.

Inside, the space doesn’t look anything like the former Da Nang. Walls have been added making for a smaller seating area fitted with booths and tables, some sporting table-top touch screen video games. The space also has a couple of private rooms, which customers can rent for karaoke parties. Edge also offers free Wi-Fi.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. The club is starting its “soft opening” today but will have a grand opening in on July 1. For more information, call 316-425-3310.

Question of the week: Is “eating local” important to you?

My friend and colleague Annie Calovich recently wrote an interesting story about the “eat local” movement, which is making its way into Wichita.

I’ve spoken to several restaurateurs lately who are either dabbling in or committed to serving locally-produced food: Old Mill Tasty Shop, The Anchor, Lotus Leaf Cafe among them. Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt has centered its entire approach around serving local food.

My question this week: How important is eating local to you? Which restaurants in Wichita do you patronize to do that?

Answer in the comments section below.

Update on The Anchor’s hours, menu, remodel plans

The Achor's door announces its intermediate intentions.

I sat down for a chit-chat this morning with Anchor owner Schane Gross and her new chef, Doug Pitts, to talk about the changes underway at the bar and restaurant at 1109 E. Douglas. More changes are coming.

Here’s a breakdown:

Hours: As Gross and Pitts work to resolve service issues and decide what they want The Anchor to be, they’ve temporarily altered the hours. They had been closed on Mondays and Sundays, but now, they’ve reopened on Mondays. Sunday hours will return eventually, and Pitts will serve a Sunday-only brunch. Look for that in the next six weeks or so.

Menu: Several weeks ago, Gross and Pitts streamlined the previous menu, keeping customer favorites and eliminating what they described as “redundancy.” The current menu has about 30 items — appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, salads and other favorites. On June 27, Pitts will add daily dinner items to the menu, including a steak frites. He also will add several items to the core menu and will begin offering a streamlined after-10 p.m. bar menu, which will feature appetizers and a couple of burgers. Gross and Pitts also are trying to focus on more local, seasonal ingredients and have begun offering products from Yoder Meats.

Remodel: Gross says she finally has bids and is working on getting the banks lined up so she can break ground on her remodel. She’s changed her plans from when she originally announced last year. The wall separating her two dining rooms will remain, she said. The west side of the restaurant will lose its bar and serve exclusively as a dining room. The east side will be the bar area. Though she doesn’t have specific dates yet, Gross hopes the remodel will be underway before summer’s over. She still plans to annex the space just east of the building for a banquet hall.

Gross said she’s send me the completed menu in the next couple of days, and I’ll post it then.

Wanted: Wine news

Wichita loves its wine. So much so that I’m in the planning stages of adding a wine feature to this blog. (Let me know if you have any ideas.)

In the meantime, there’s a wine tasting coming up this week.

Carrabba’s at 3409 N. Rock Road, which puts on monthly wine samplings, will offer the June installment at  6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the restaurant. It will feature samples of five wines paired with food, and proprietor Joe Parten is planning a sneak preview of some menu items he plans to roll out in July, including Sicilian ribs, chicken speidini and mixed berry crostata. It’s $35 and will be limited to the first 50 people who RSVP at 316-315-0777.

Know of any other wine tastings/dinners/events? Send them my way.

Dining dispatch from 29th & Rock

I drove out east today to check on Oh Yeah! China Bistro, the restaurant formerly known as Zen (and formerly known as vegetarian), and I was struck by how much restaurant activity is going on in the block of Rock between 29th and K-96.

Oh Yeah! opened at 3101 N. Rock Road with its new name and approach on May 15. The restaurant had operated as a vegetarian place for a couple of years, but the owners decided to put meat back on the menu and rename the place.

Across the street, a sign announces that El Agave will soon take over the space at 3320 N. Rock Road that most recently held Top China, a Chinese buffet place. El Agave will be a Mexican restaurant with a big tequila and margarita menu, and its owners hope to have it open later this summer.

A little further south, another sign announces that Wasabi, the sushi restaurant downtown at 912 E. Douglas, will open its east side location in the former Froz spot at 3242 N. Rock Road. Owners say it should be open in August.

And of course, right on the corner of 29th and Rock, Ben Arnold is busy working on his new breakfast-and-lunch spot in the former Chelsea’s space at 2949 N. Rock Road. He plans to open in July.

The new Noodles & Company is on that block, too, at 3300 N. Rock Road, and it’s always busy. And Amber Dunn just opened her Yogurt Xplosion yogurt shop at 3236 N. Rock Road.

That doesn’t even count the recently closed restaurants on the block, including the Bossa Grill at 3242 N. Rock Road and the Taco Tico at 3131 N. Rock Road. Wazabz Sushi Bar and Grill, which just opened in February at 3236 N. Rock Road, also is already closed.

The only restaurants on that block not hopping on merry-go-round, it appears, are Carlos O’ Kelly’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings,  Il Ponte, Jimmy John’s, and Jimmie’s Diner.

And Hooters.

Lord’s Diner gets Cajun leftovers

It was 7 p.m. when the tornado sirens sounded at the Wichita River Festival on Thursday, canceling events and sending festival-goers scrambling for shelter. Unfortunately, 7 p.m. is exactly when the annual Cajun Food Fest, which was underway near the Tripodal outside of Century II, traditionally experiences its big rush.

That was bad bad bad for the fundraiser, which each year benefits Goodwill Industries. The event definitely will not make money this year, said Goodwill’s Gayle Goetz. In fact, it most likely will suffer a loss.

The extra food — and there was a lot — was donated to the Lord’s Diner, where clients should be feasting Cajun style all week, Goetz said.

“No one can say anything about the weather,” she said. “That’s the way things go.”

Pulled pork sliders tonight, carnitas tacos tomorrow

Shrimp po' boy with muffaletta pasta salad.

Attention: This will be my last 2011 post about Wichita River Festival food. (I hope. )

Last night, before terrifying tornado sirens sent me screaming into the wall-clouded night, I finally got over to the new WaterWalk Pavilion, where the festival is serving food from local restaurants from under a giant tent filled with lots of tables.

Festivalgoers also can hear music from local bands (my friend Jaime’s band The Mudbugs were playing last night until terrifying tornado sirens sent them screaming into the wall-clouded night), and they also can buy adult beverages, including beer, wine and mixed drinks.

I was happy with the shrimp po’boy I had. The Hyatt’s head chef Paul Freimuth was under the tent, frying up the shrimp and squirting on the zesty Cajun sauce himself. The whole plate of food you see above cost me $8, and it was filling. I thought that was a good deal considering that my favorite burrito over at the main food court also costs $8.

You have two more nights to check out the WaterWalk Pavilion. I can personally vouch for the quality of both restaurants and for the quality of all the bands. My friend, Adam, plans in Mumblin’ Jones, and Mudbugs lead singer Carter Green pulls double duty in very fun cover band Smugglin’ Yo Yo’s.

See you there?

TONIGHT

Mumblin’ Jones, 6 to 9:30
Food from Toni D’s,
served 6 to 8 p.m.
Beef and pulled pork sliders, $10
Vegetarian sliders, $10
Both served with potato chips, choice of potato salad or
Italian pasta salad & homemade cookie

SATURDAY

Smugglin’ Yo-Yo’s. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Ten Day Wish, 7 to 9:45 p.m.
Food from Abuelo’s, served 6 to 8 p.m.
Bacon wrapped shrimp with chile con queso $9
Carnitas tacos  $6
Steak fajita taco  $6
Chicken fajita taco $5
Chile con Queso, chips and salsa $5
Fresh guacamole, chips and salsa $6
Chips and salsa $3