Monthly Archives: December 2011

Question of the week: Which restaurant gift card do you covet?

It’s gift giving time, and restaurants everywhere are clamoring for gift card buyers, offering incentives ranging from free food to bonus cards.

This week’s question: If your loved ones were to give you a restaurant gift card for Christmas, which restaurant would you want it to come from?

I remember one year I got a Chester’s Chophouse gift card, which was great because I rarely treat myself to that $$$$place$$$$ even though I love it. Another year, I gave a Chipotle gift card to someone who likes to eat there for lunch on a regular basis, meaning he got free lunch for weeks.

What would your gift card wish be?

Answer in the comments section below.

Restaurants open on Christmas

Syed Abbas plans to open his Middle Eastern restaurant Zaytun on Christmas Day.

It might seem a little bit early, but I’ve compiled my list of restaurants planning to be open on Christmas Day. The more time you have to plan, I figure, the better. Plus, I’ve already received about a dozen e-mails from people wanting to know.

As usual, the list includes an interesting mix of Asian eateries, family buffets and a few random restaurants willing to give Christmas hours a go.

There are a few new players this year: Zaytun owner Syed Abbas is planning to open and serve a Middle Eastern brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Day. And the Starbucks at 29th and Rock will open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Christmas. It’ll be the only Starbucks in town that will be open.

Follow this link to see the full list, and if you see that I’ve missed a restaurant, e-mail me. I can still add it between now and Dec. 25.

Outback lunch for the holidays

Usually, fans of Outback’s steaks have to wait till the dinner hour to get carnivorous.

But during the holidays, Wichita’s Outback Steakhouses are cooking at lunch as well.

Beginning on Monday, the east side Outback at 2020 N. Rock Road will be open seven days a week starting at 11:30 a.m. The west side Outback at 233 S. Ridge Road will start its lunch hours on Wednesday. That restaurant will open at noon Mondays through Fridays and at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

There’s no special lunch menu, but diners can order anything off the regular evening menu. Both restaurants will continue lunch hours through Jan. 1.

A few restaurant updates

I have a few updates on some local restaurants that have opened, are about to open or are opening later than they originally had planned.

The Jimmy’s Egg in front of the Office This complex at 4031 E. Harry is almost complete and will open this coming Monday, Dec. 19. The breakfast chain has four other Wichita locations, including one several blocks east at 7906 E. Harry as well as at 8728 W. Central, 7777 E. 21st St. and 220 S. West St.

Chosen Wok, the Great Bend-based fast Chinese restaurant going in the old Starbucks location near Central and Tyler, was originally scheduled to open this month. But it’s taking owners Michelle Chin and William Tsao a little longer than they expected to get the restaurant up and going. Chin now says the restaurant should be ready by the third week of January.

Another restaurant whose opening date is moving to January is Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill, which was originally set to open at Second and Washington in September. Owner Charlie Badeen anticipates he’ll start work on the space soon and predicts an early January opening.

Finally, attentive and hungry Christmas shoppers no doubt have noticed that Towne East Square’s Cinnabon, which specializes in cinnamon rolls that can be smelled for miles, opened on the lower level near Sear’s several weeks ago.

Carlos O’ Kelly’s celebrates 30 with specials

Carlos O’ Kelly’s sure is excited about turning 30. I hate to disappoint you, Carlos, but I’ve done it, and it’s no big whoop. (Ha. Just kidding.)

The Mexican restaurant chain, whose headquarters are in Wichita, opened its first restaurant on Dec. 16, 1981, in Marion, Iowa.

Now, 30 years later, the chain has 41 restaurants, including four in Wichita.

To celebrate the big birthday on Friday, the restaurant is offering several specials.

One is a 7-pound “El Guapo” burrito available on Friday for $19.81. The burrito is big enough to feed many, but if two people can eat it in 30 minutes, they can have it for free. And they’ll get a T-shirt to mark the occasion.

Also, from Friday through Sunday, all Carlos O’Kelly’s will offer half-price house rocks margaritas.

Diners also can pay $19.81 and get one appetizer and two entrees from a special 1980s-decorated menu, recently introduced in honor of the big 3-0.

Wichita’s Carlos O’ Kelly’s are at 7703 E. Douglas, 527 S. Ridge Road Circle, 3025 N. Rock Road and 4872 S. Broadway.

Restaurant closing: Souper Salad

A farewell note posted on the Souper Salad entrance.

While out shopping this weekend, I noticed something somewhat tragic.

Souper Salad, which opened at at 8007 E. Kellogg in 1998, is closed.

I know I’m not supposed to like buffets, but occasionally, I do anyway. Souper Salad had one of those buffets. It was overflowing with every possible salad topping conceivable, and you could fool yourself into thinking that the pile of lettuce, ham, cheese and Ranch dressing you’d just concocted was somehow healthy. The soups were pretty good, too. I particularly liked the vegetable beef soup, and the Tuna Skroodle pasta salad was delish.

There was briefly a second Souper Salad in Wichita, operating on the west side at 4722 W. Kellogg, but it closed in 2005.

Back in the early 2000′s, Souper Salad was the one place my health-conscious friend Jaime would always agree to go. It was also a great place to go with small children, as I was reminded recently watching a 1-year-old shovel in a colorful array of veggies, meats and cheeses to her heart’s content.

Farewell, Souper Salad. I’ll miss you and your Skroodle.

(UPDATE: A reader pointed me to this news from September about Souper Salad’s parent company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.)

Three great restaurant deals on Dealsaver

You might most definitely will want to check out the specials that just launched on the Wichita Eagle’s Dealsaver today.

You’ll find three discount coupons that can be used after the first of the year at Melad Stephan’s Old Town restaurants — Sabor, Luca and Oeno.


Just follow this link, and for $10 you can purchase a gift certificate good for $20 at each of the three restaurants.

They’d make good gifts — or just buy them for yourself. Who doesn’t want to look forward to a fish-taco filled New Year?

Now open: Hamburger Heroes

The relocation is complete.

As of Thursday, Hamburger Heroes — a popular Park City burger stop until it closed in October — is open in downtown Wichita.

Owner Josh Sams and his wife, Bri, are now selling burgers, fresh-cut fries and more at 221 S. Broadway. The restaurant also is open for breakfast, offering items such as biscuit and croissant sandwiches.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The restaurant will be open until 8 p.m. on nights that Intrust Bank Arena has an event scheduled.

For more information, call the restaurant at 316-771-7172.

The chat is back

After a little break, the live dining chat is back today. Come back here at 1:30 p.m. and join in for discussions about new restaurants, closing restaurants and gift ideas for the restaurant lovers on your list.

Bring a friend. See you then.

Gift ideas for your favorite foodie

My dining story for this week is a must-read if you have a restaurant lover/foodie on your Christmas list.

I’ve put together a list of gift ideas that would be edible, educational or exciting to people who are as in to food as you, me and the rest of the readers of this blog.

The picture here should be a hint to one of the gifts I’ve listed. I went to shoot it at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and when I walked in, I found Tanya and her crew in full soup prep mode, rockin’ out to music blaring through the restaurant at top volume.