Monthly Archives: June 2012

If Angelo’s happens, it will have parking, owners say

A waitress delivering plates of Angelo's goodness back in 1999

After I posted my story about Gina Fasciano-Hogan’s plans to try and reopen her family’s business — iconic Wichita Italian restaurant Angelo’s — in the former Barrier’s spot at Douglas and Oliver, the online comment-a-palooza began. (Of course it did.)

Some commenters claimed to be moved to joyful tears by the news. Many offered words of support. And several articulated one big concern: that the Barrier’s lot would not have adequate parking for the business.

I spoke with both Gina and her father, Jack Fasciano, this morning. If the deal for the space works out, the landlords have offered several possibilities, but all of them include more parking than the single strip that runs alongside the east side of the building, they said.

Fasciano-Hogan is planning a smaller restaurant that would seat between 36 and 40. It’s possible that the Barrier’s building would be split in half and the restaurant would use only part of it, leaving the other side open for a retail business.

It’s also possible, she said, that the back part of the building could be taken off, making room for more parking. The landlord also owns some duplexes on the property that sits to the south of the building, and some of those could be torn down to make way for parking.

Since it’s all still preliminary, Fasciano-Hogan said, nothing is for sure — except that there’d be enough parking for her customers. “That was one of our biggest concerns when we talked to them,” she said.

Can there ever be enough chicken fried steak?

I would like to apologize for the uphill slope on this picture. Not sure if it's the parking lot, my camera or my general equilibrium.

Wichita’s latest  family-style restaurant  is Auntie Mae’s Attic & Cafe at 9125 W. Central.

It opened a little over a week and offers offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cafe’s owners recently relocated their Auntie Mae’s Attic s antique store from Delano to the bigger building and decided to open a café, too. Menu items includes traditional breakfast fare, sandwiches and diner specialties such as meatloaf, fried pork chops and country fried steak. They also served hot cinnamon rolls daily. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-263-1800.

A string of these types of homespun cafes have opened this year, including Kinfolk Cafe, which opened in late March in the former Nifty Kitchen spot at 1815 S. Broadway. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and specializes in breakfast and diner-style dinners, including chicken fried steak, burgers and more. For more information, call 316-263-1468.

There’s also On the Fly Family Restaurant, which opened at 1215 W. Pawnee back in February. Owned by Chris & Sheila Hare, it also specializes in breakfast and dishes such as chicken fried steak. An interesting fact about that restaurant: Servers will bring food over to an attached smoke shop, meaning diners can get around the no-smoking rule in that section. Hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-977-9277.

Angelo’s may reopen in old Barrier’s spot

Gina Fasciano-Hogan chats with a customer on the restaurant's final day in business in 2006.

Jack Fasciano’s daughter, Gina Fasciano-Hogan, is looking to reopen her family’s business, the once popular Angelo’s, in the former Barrier’s building at Douglas and Oliver in College Hill.

Fasciano-Hogan, who grew up working in the restaurant, has partnered up with friend Carrie New, and if everything works out, the restaurant could be reopened within six months, Jack Fasciano said.

The popular family-owned Italian restaurant, known for its pizza, lasagna and manicotti, closed the last location of the restaurant at 1930 S. Oliver in July 2006 after operating in Wichita for 46 years. Fasciano, the son of the restaurant’s founders, had run out of money and couldn’t keep the restaurant afloat. The bank froze his accounts just before he closed.

After the restaurant closed, Fasciano said, he went into a deep depression and said he didn’t leave the house for a couple of years. Then, people started asking him if he would make his famous pizzas and manicotti, which he’s been doing monthly out of his home for a growing list of about 45 friends.

He started thinking he should get the business going again and was looking for a partner when his daughter approached him. She’d been making cupcakes out of her home, mostly for the Blessed Sacrament community. Her children are now 9 and 13, and she told her father she was ready to revive the family business.

Fasciano-Hogan and New are taking entrepreneurship seminars at Wichita State University and are talking to investors. It’s still early in the process, but they have big plans for the building. Fasciano says he’d be involved, working at the restaurant and consulting.

“She’s really interested in getting it going,” Fasciano said of his daughter. “She’s really working hard at it.”

The restaurant would be called Angelo’s and would serve all the old favorites. It’d also offer Italian pastries, take-and-bake pizza, pizza by-the-slice and quick prepared lunches. The restaurant would have patio dining, too.

Jack Fasciano’s parents, Angelo and Anna, got their start making pizzas out of the basement of their home in the late 1950s. Sicilian-born Angelo, who worked at Boeing, would sell the pizzas to co-workers. They became so popular that he opened a small restaurant on South Laura in 1960.

The family moved the restaurant to a building near Harry and Hillside in 1961, then moved to a location across the street in 1976.

Customers loved the distinct pizzas, the salads with the pickled eggplant, and the homey pasta dishes.

The restaurant grew in popularity and expanded. At one point, five Angelo’s were operating across the city. The family also had restaurants in Andover, Hutchinson and Tulsa. Anna Fasciano died of complications from diabetes in March 2004. Angelo died a year later, in March 2005.

Jack Fasciano said when the restaurant closed that he hoped to revive it some day, preferably as a neighborhood mom-and-pop spot. He described the College Hill location as “gold.”

Take my construction site quiz

This quiz probably won’t be too hard. In fact, if you read my story about all the new restaurant construction in Wichita, which will be published in Go! on Friday, it’ll kind of be like an open-book test.

But I still thought it would be fun to toss up a few photos that I took of our active construction zones and challenge you to guess what they are. At least one — the one with the sign already up — should be a gimme.

Type your guesses in the comments section. I’ll tell you the answers later.

Have fun!

 

1. This giant restaurant will be ready to go mid-July and will have a menu not to dissimilar from its already existing neighbors. 

Construction zone No. 1

 

 

2. A location of this restaurant operated years ago in this neighborhood but closed. It’ll make its glorious return in September.  

Construction zone No. 2

 

 

3. The parking lot will be the next thing put in at this construction site, which is good because this summer, it’s going to be filled with tents.

Construction zone No. 3

 

 

4. Okay, this one is a gimme. But isn’t it nice? It should be open on June 28.

Construction zone No. 4

 

 

5. So far, it’s just a big hole in the ground. But this fall, it’ll hold the second site of a new-to-Wichita chain.

Construction zone No. 5

It’s dining chat day

Our last chat was two weeks ago, and it was a good one. Let’s see if we can out-chat it at 1:30 p.m. today. We’ll talk about all the restaurant construction in town. I can give you juicy details from the Celebrity and Chef Cookoff. We can debate the merits of Burger King’s new bacon sundae. Whatever we want!

See you then. Bring a friend.

Febres commits a Celeb & Chef Cookoff three-peat

Tanya Tandoc, right, announces Taste & See's Jason Febres the winner of the cookoff.

As I stated earlier, the Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, a benefit for the Orpheum that happens each summer at the Corporate Hills Marriott, is one of the must fun fundraisers put on in Wichita.

I was a judge for last night’s event, along with Chef Tanya Tandoc and Beth Bower of the American Institute of Wine and Food, and our job was hard. We had to taste the dishes come up with on the spot in 45 minutes by eight teams of local chefs paired with well-known Wichitans, who worked as their sous chefs.

The experiment Febres conducted in these test tubes was a total success.

Though we didn’t want to be predictable, the dish prepared by Taste & See’s Chef Jason Febres was definitely the best. He’s already won the past two years, so we tried everything we could think of to talk ourselves out of giving him the title again. But we couldn’t. He created a four-course tasting that included a fried egg/scallop/bacon combo and a test tube gazpacho shooter. His flavors were all clean and fabulous.

We also loved the dishes prepared by The Petroleum Club’s Jake Lippincott, who along with partner Kelly Uran of Bank of the West, made a delectable salmon and scallop duo. And the dish by Kevin Derks of Newport Grill included some amazing fried potato and brussels sprouts shavings that I’d love to eat again. His partner was Splurge magazine publisher Jody Klein.

The event also included plentiful samples of dishes from restaurants all over Wichita, including Lotus Leaf Cafe & , The Anchor, Cero’s, Two Brothers BBQ and more.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

Congressman Mike Pompeo, right, was paired with Marshall Roth, the executive chef of Treat America at Beech Activity Center.

Splurge magazine publisher Jody Klein, right, and her partner chef, Kevin Derks of Newport Grill, prepared another of our favorite dishes.

The judges: Tanya Tandoc, Beth Bower and me.

Bocconcini's chef Nathan Toubia with his partner, the WSU Foundation's Elizabeth King. The duo prepared a homemade ravioli.

Event emcees Dick Honeyman and his wife Bonnie Bing.

The Petroleum Club's Jake Lippincott, with his partner Kelly Uran, made a delicious salmon/scallop duo.

Tallgrass Country Club chef Ben George.

Question of the week: Build your own?

A Chipotle order is a very personal thing.

Sometimes, I like to build my own meal. Chipotle is a good example. I know exactly what I want in my burrito or burrito bowl, and I know exactly how much of it I want.

Other times, build-your-own is too hard. For example, I want the fine folks at Picasso’s Pizzeria to tell me what to put on my slice. The list of ingredients all sound so good, but I’m not sure what would be best together.

Lots of restaurants in town offer customers the opportunity to build their own sandwiches, burgers, Mongolian grill creations and ice cream mixtures.

My question: Do you like this option? Do you use it? And in which restaurants have you best been able to master it?

Answer in the comments section below.

“Chef Race” in town filming Tuesday and today

Crews are filming right now at the Cress Center. At right is one of the chefs who is competing on the show.

Camera crews have been crawling around Wichita since Tuesday afternoon, and now we know why.

A new reality show called “Chef Race: UK vs. U.S.” is in town filming footage that will be included when the show premieres on BBC America this fall.

The show is produced by Fresh One Productions, which is owned by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. There’s a rumor circulating that he’s in Wichita somewhere, too, but I haven’t been able to confirm that detail and producers weren’t talking. (Has anyone seen him?)

The show, from what I’ve been able to piece together, follows two teams of chefs — one from the United States and one from England — as they race from town to town, cooking and participating in challenges. This morning, a team of five British chefs was set up in the Kress building at Douglas and Broadway, selling muffaleta sandwiches, “meatloaf and mash,” shrimp, tilapia and chorizo gumbo, Boston cream pie and Key lime pie. Office workers and construction workers were filmed as they filed in and out, curious to see what was going on.

As they left, producers asked them to sign release forms so that their images could be used on the show.

One of the female British chefs hawks her food in front of the Kress Building.

Supposedly, the American competitors are also somewhere in town, but Go Wichita’s Ken Vandruff, who helped organize the visit for the film crew, was tight-lipped about where they were. (Has anyone seen them?)

I talked to Rachel Klein, whose daughter owns Salon Teased at 509 E. Douglas. On Tuesday night, she saw the film crews walking around downtown and stepped outside to find out what was going on. The next thing Klein knew, she’d invited the five British chefs and two cameramen to spend the night at her west Wichita home. As part of the race, the competing chefs have to find their own lodging as they travel. The two female chefs cooked the pies in her kitchen, Klein said.

I also learned that the chefs cooked on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning in the kitchen at Heroes, 117 N. Mosley. They also were seen hawking their food at the Wichita Executive Centre at 125 N. Market.

The menu

I went down to investigate this morning and ended up buying a serving of the gumbo, which I’m about to try. Producers wouldn’t talk to me, and the chefs weren’t allowed to share details. But the three male chefs on the team did say that they all worked in or owned restaurants in England.

Vandruff said he didn’t know why the show chose Wichita for filming but was glad they did.  “It’s great when we can get this kind of exposure for Wichita,” he said.

I’ll let you know when I find out when exactly the show will air.

Metro Grill III will open Thursday

With all due respect to the many sandwich artists in town, no one makes a better sandwich in Wichita than Michael Gonzalez.

The outspoken chef has a legion of fans in town, earned through years of making gourmet sandwiches and other dishes in the unlikeliest of places — out of a cart in the food court at Towne East Square that he called Metro Grill. By Thursday, he’ll have his latest restaurant open, this one in the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.

Metro Grill III is “the big one,” Gonzaelez likes to say. He’s had his share of personal and business drama over the past several years, which resulted in him selling his Metro Grill II in Andover to an employee — but this restaurant is the one he’s always wanted.

It’s in the former Chill Gelato Space at the Waterfront, 10096 E. 13th St. N., suite 122. Gonzalez has remodeled the space, adding a granite bar, a giant New York City skyline on the wall, and an open kitchen where diners can watch him work.

Michael Gonzalez

There’s seating for about 45 inside and a 16-seat patio outside. Gonzalez will be open for lunch and dinner daily except Monday and has several upscale dinner-ish items on his menu as well, including Pasta V.I.P., made with seared chicken and shrimp over linguine with pine nuts, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, arugula and asparagus, and his Steak Christopher. You can see the full menu here.

Customers order at the counter and servers will deliver the food to the tables and offer drink refills. Gonzaelz should have his liquor license within a month, he said.

He’ll have live, Frank Sinatra-esque music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. He also plans to have live music all day on Thursday, his official opening day.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant can be reached by calling 316-631-1454.

“I want to thank Wichita for giving us so much support,” he said. “Metro Grill is back.”

Two beer events this week

Beer fans can choose from two events that will expand their hoppy horizons.

The first is a beer dinner scheduled for Wednesday (as in tomorrow) night at Chapada Chophouse & Churrascaria, the delicious Brazilian steakhouse I reviewed on Friday. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and is put on by New Belgium.  It’s $45 a person, and would-be attendees should make reservations by 4 p.m. Wednesday by calling 316-201-4694. Keep reading to see the full menu.

Then, on Friday, the Sedgwick County Zoo is putting on a clever tasting event. It will feature 10 to 12 beers that include animals in their names — such as Carlsberg Elephant Beer. Tasters will visit various stations in the zoo, where they’ll sample the beers and enjoy light hors d’ oeuvres.


The event is from 6 to 8 p.m., and admission is $25 for members, $30 for non members. Reservations are due by Thursday by calling 316-266-8213.

Here’s the menu for the Chapada dinner:

Reception- Fat Tire

Fish and chips paired with  Somersault Ale

Aian pork duet paired with Prickly Pear

Jerk grilled swordfish paired with Biere de Mars

Chili rellenos paired with Cocoa Mole ale

S’mores