Monthly Archives: September 2011

Bocconcini’s first wine dinner

Bocconcini Italian Eatery, the popular neighborhood restaurant at 4811 E. Central owned by Nathan Toubia, is putting on its first wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

It’s $65 a person and will feature a five-course meal, each course paired with a wine. Among the dishes: a cured salmon salad with shaved fennel and orange, and braised short ribs on a bed of fresh spaetzle.

Advance credit card payments are required by calling 316-613-2523. If you think you can handle it, you can drool over the full menu here.

U Grill should open Wednesday

The soon-to-open U Grill.

U Grill is a new restaurant scheduled for a soft opening** Wednesday in the former Linkhaus space at 7817 E. 37th St. N.

The restaurant, owned by recently relocated Oklahoma lawyer Will Clark, will include a Mongolian Grill, where patrons load up a bowl of meats, veggies and sauces and watch as the concoction is cooked. It’ll also serve Philly cheese steaks sandwiches, burgers, brats and hot dogs. Patrons who order those will be given a smaller bowl and can fill them up with whatever toppings they’d like for their sandwiches.

The big draw, Clark said: Everything will be under $7.

Dining room hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. A drive-through will be open  until midnight Sundays through Thursdays and until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 316-425-5730.

By the way, a **soft opening means that the restaurant is getting its bearings, training staff to work with real people and seeing how the flow goes. So if you go, bring patience and a forgiving attitude.

Lots to eat downtown this weekend

A Wagonmaster and his chili.

As I start my weekly assignments for the Go! section today, I’m realizing how many opportunities there will be to stuff one’s face downtown this weekend.

One is at the annual Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff, which will be set up along Douglas on Saturday. Visitors can sample chili made by nearly 50 competitors (including restaurants such as Fizz and Old Mill Tasty Shop.) They also can sample competitive salsas, get free ice cream, listen to bands and (I’m not making this up) watch a group of fire eaters attempt to break a world record by having 200 people swallow fire simultaneously. All the details will be in my Go! story on Friday.

Also this weekend, Old Town is celebrating its 20th birthday with two nights of outdoor parties in Old Town Square. On Friday night, several Old Town Square restaurants will be selling boxed meals to people attending a concert on the square at 2nd and Mosley. Organizers are still finalizing the list of who’s in, but several Old Town Square restaurants will be participating. The Old Town Warren Theatre even will be grilling hamburgers outdoors on the plaza. And on both Friday and Saturday nights, those restaurants will be selling adult beverages that can be taken from the restaurants and enjoyed on the square, along with live music. I’m putting together a story with those details, too.

Both stories should be on by Thursday.

Pasta for the Cure next Friday

If you’re planning to Race for the Cure next Saturday, you might as well Carbload for the Cure on Friday night.

Pasta for the Cure is a fundraising dinner planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. next Friday, Sept. 23, at the Commons at WaterWalk, which sits on the west side of the building. Those holding a $20 ticket will be served a dinner prepared by Carrabba’s consisting of Caesar salad, grilled chicken Marsala, pasta, Italian bread, chocolate dream dessert, wine, beer or iced tea.

Purchase tickets on line at or call 316-683-8510.

Dutch Mill closing leaves cinnamon roll hole

You may have seen the news yesterday that the Dutch Mill Bakery in Yoder closed suddenly after 32 years in business. (Anyone besides me find it too strange that the store closed during the Kansas State Fair, the very time that many people would stop in on their way into Hutchinson?)

I’ve covered the Kansas State Fair for 14 consecutive years (!!!!!) and one of the parts of that assignment I always looked forward to was that Yoder Road exit off of K-96. I almost always saw a family clopping along in a horse-drawn carriage. And I would almost always stop either at Carriage Crossing for lunch, at Yoder Meats to buy a flatiron steak, or at Dutch Mill to bring back a plate of cinnamon rolls for my co-workers. That made me very popular.

Several of my colleagues were distraught yesterday to learn of the closing of the bakery, which they count as a Kansas fixture. (I couldn’t drum up much despair on my live dining chat, however.)

How about you? Does the Dutch Mill’s demise make you depressed? Where will you get you cinnamon roll fix now?

Three restaurant closings

I’ve learned of three restaurants that have closed in recent weeks. Hope none of them were your favorites.

One is The Fortune Cookie Restaurant, whose address is 620 S. Holland St., but the restaurant faced west Kellogg near the Ridge exit. A reader named Marie wrote me lamenting its closing, saying it had “fantastic food.” (Now I’m kind of sorry I never made it there.)

I went by the restaurant yesterday, and its doors were locked during what were posted as regular business hours, and the grass was growing tall all around the building. (Never a good sign.)

Lexi’s Restaurant and Bar, which opened in June in the former Maharaja space at 3008 W. Central, also is already closed. Owner Jeremy Ga-Ye told me a few weeks ago that he’d had to close down temporarily because of health issues, but now the phone is disconnected and there’s a “for lease” sign in the door. My daughter, Lexi, is quite distressed that we never made it to “her” restaurant.

Lexi's is already closed.

Finally, the Bay Leaf, which opened in Clifton Square in the summer of 2010, also is gone. A “for lease” sign is hanging on its pretty picket fence. I hope something good takes over the space because that building’s patio is too perfect to be wasted.

I have a few more possible closings I’m looking into and will keep you posted.

Live dining chat at 2:30 p.m. today

I’ll be here an hour later than usual this afternoon for our live dining chat, but that’ll give you more time to prepare mentally for the long list of items we have to discuss, including restaurant openings, restaurant closings and my review of Bocconcini. See you at 2:30 p.m.

Question of the week: Wichita’s best pasta dish

This week, I’m reviewing Bocconcini Italian Eatery, a charming and popular new Italian restaurant at 4811 E. Central that offers a nice list of pasta dishes. (Though none of them are spaghetti and meatballs. In fact, red sauce is rare on Nathan Toubia’s menu.)

This week’s question: Which Wichita restaurant serves the very best pasta dish, and what is it?

Please describe your nominee in all its saucy detail in the comments section below.

New things are bubbling at Fizz

A burger and fries from Fizz Burgers & Bottles.

The owners of Fizz Burgers & Bottles, the almost 1-year-old burger restaurant at 7718 E 37th St. N., have some changes and additions planned that’ll keep things bubbling through the fall.

For starters, they’ve begun offering a Mexican specialty every Wednesday, provided by a member of the kitchen staff who wanted to show off his skills. Last week, they offered chicken adobo. Today’s special is beef enchiladas. The dish-of-the-week will be available for lunch and dinner every Wednesday.

Also, Fizz is working on a menu update, which should debut in about a month. They’re adding a couple of new sandwiches, said owner Scott Bergeson, and they’re also putting homemade chili in the menu. Customers who want to sample Fizz’s chili recipe early can try it at the Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff, which is Sept. 24. Fizz will have a booth.

I also asked Bergeson about rumors that he’s eying a west-side location. He said he’s considered that idea but wants to make sure the east-side store is on solid footing first.

For more info about Fizz, call them at 316-260-2888.

A fall bumper crop of new restaurants

El Agave Mexican Restaurant is just a couple of weeks away from opening at 3320 N. Rock Road.

With all that Kansas State Fair food sampling I’ve been doing, my “Comings & Goings” list got a little out of date. So over the past few days, I’ve dialed and driven and dialed and driven to gather a list of updates on restaurants scheduled to open during the next few months.

Some are delayed, but some are so close to opening, I can almost smell the new food goodness. Here’s a quick look at what I learned:

CherryBerry Self Serve Frozen Yogurt, Central and Maize: The signs are up, but the new CherryBerry yogurt shop is still several weeks from opening because of trouble with the electrical system in the building. Look for a late September/early October opening. And if you’re having trouble waiting, there are about – oh – 325 other frozen yogurt shops in town that will ease your pain.

El Agave Mexican Restaurant, 3320 N. Rock Road: The exterior is ready, and now workers are getting the interior ready for an opening, which is just two or three weeks away.The space that El Agave will occupy most recently held Top China Buffet.

The Jaded Pearl, 1716 E. Douglas: I saw Michael Carmody at Zoobilee, and he told me he and partner Angela Mallory are just a few weeks away from opening their new tea shop. He’ll have an exact date when he gets back from Winfield.

Wasabi, 3242 N. Rock Road: Owners say the second Wasabi should be open in the old Bossa Grill space by the middle of October.

Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill,
222 N. Washington: Owner Charlie Badeen says this sister pub to Dudley’s and O’Brien’s should be ready to go at the end of October.

Broadview Hotel, (late October/early November). Ben Arnold still hopes to get his new restaurant inside the newly remodeled Broadview open by the end of October, but a problem with an elevator on order from Canada may push it back to early November, he said.

Fusa, 303 S. Greenwich: Plumbing issues have pushed the opening of this Asian restaurant, which owners are relocating from Towne East Mall, back several months. It could be late November before it’s ready.

I also have calls in about U Grill, the restaurant that’s supposed to take over the former Linkhaus space at 37th and Rock, and about the new Brazilian churrascaria/chop house Tad Fugate has planned for the Ted’s Montana Grill space at 21st and Tyler. I’ll update this post when I know more.