Wichita’s dining past in pictures

Remember when Willie C's was the place to be? This lady was bemoaning a possible restaurant smoking ban in 1996.

While rifling through our archives this morning for a picture of Chateubriand, the once-famous Wichita steakhouse that operated for nearly 20 years until it closed in the mid-90s, I came across a gold mine.

Though I didn’t find a picture of Chateubriand, I did find old photo after old photo of Wichita restaurants. Some are still in business, and I found pictures of them on the eves of their openings. Others are long gone, forgotten by some, missed by others.

I thought it would be fun to share a few with you. I’ll start with some of my favorites today and share some more next week.

I love old pictures! Old pictures of Wichita restaurants are even better. (You can click on any of these to make them bigger.)

By the way, if anyone has a picture of Chateubriand in your archive, I will buy you lunch! Also, if you have any classic restaurant pictures, I’d love to see them. E-mail them to me.

I couldn't love this one more. Scott Redler, who today keeps himself busy opening Freddy's Frozen Custards all over the country, is captured sitting in Timberline at 21st and Tyler in July of 1997, just a few days before it opened.

In this shot from June of 1994, Youssef Youssef (now owner of Mediterranean Grill at 335 S. Towne East Mall Drive), busies himself cleaning up tables just after Le Monde opened at 602 N. West St.

Portobello Road was out of business before I moved to Wichita. It operated in the Rock Island Depot building, 711 E. Douglas. It had previously operated since 1973 at 504 S. Bluff but was torn down to make way for Kellogg expansion. It served steak and seafood.

Ahhhh! Does anyone remember the old Truffles restaurant in the Wichita Art Museum? Here are operators Julie Fowler and Denise Fowler in 1996.

I also love this one so much. It shows Ashok Aurora in September of 1994, just as he was about to open Passage To India, which now operates at 6140 E. 21st St. N. Pretty sure they're still using those tables and chairs!