Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dining Panel review: Harry’s Uptown

It’s almost patio season, and one of the most fun patios in town is the one at Harry’s Uptown Bar & Grill at 3023 E. Douglas.

I don’t think to go there often enough, but every time I have, I’ve had a great time.

This week, Wichita Eagle Dining Panel member Brandi Koskie wrote a review of Harry’s and declared its burgers among the best in Wichita.

Check out her review, then check out Harry’s this weekend.

A few Friday restaurant tidbits

Happy Friday, food friends. I have a few bites of restaurant tidbits to serve you, so open up!

Doo-Dah Diner opens next week: Patrick and Timirie Shibley say they are close to opening their new Doo-Dah Diner, which is going in the spot at 206 E. Kellogg recently vacated by Jade Garden Cafe. It might even be ready to go by next Friday, Sept. 7. The sign just went up, and today, the menu and hours are being finalized. On weekdays, the couple plans to open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. serving breakfast and lunch items.

They also plan to open for Sunday breakfast and will serve amped up items that might be a bit much for the weekday crowd. Examples: Deep fried French toast with peanut butter and bannanas and sweet potato waffles smothered with candied pecans, mini marshmallows served with house-made turkey sausage and vanilla or pure maple syrup. (Yum.)

Gindi closes as soon as it opens: Gindi Asian Gourmet Burgers, which Phillip Say bought from former owner Roungaroon “Lou” Kumgoo then reopened on Monday with a focus on burgers, is already closed. The doors are locked, and sources say that the owner was facing some financial problems.

Country Breakfast Cafe is moving: Gonzalo Delgado is moving his Country Breakfast Cafe, which now operates at 240 N. Main in Haysville, to a building at 2804 S. Seneca in Wichita. He’s remodeling the spot, which he hopes will help him get more business. He plans to close the Haysville spot on Sept. 30 and be re-opened in Wichita by Oct. 15. The restaurant serves breakfast items such as skillets plus hot sandwiches at lunch and items such as steak at dinner. For more information, call 316)-719-3837.

Toni D’s turns 25: On Sept. 1, 1987, Toni and Danny Shadid opened Toni D’s, a deli and catering business at 650 N. Carriage Parkway. Next week, the couple will celebrate 25 years in business with specials. All day Wednesday, customers can get any sandwich, plus chips and a drink for $5. The Shadids also will be giving away slices of birthday cake. Toni D’s is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday. For more information, call 316-686-5996.

A new Sonic for the west side: A new Sonic opened on Wednesday at 37th St. N. and Maize Roads.

Ambassador’s planned restaurant has a chef

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, the upscale restaurant scheduled to open inside the new Ambassador Hotel at Douglas and Broadway when it opens at in December, has named an executive chef.

Marshall Röth, who most recently worked as executive chef at the Hawker Beechcraft Global Delivery Center, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked for famous chefs such as David Burke and Todd English.

He started his career at Burke’s Park Avenue Cafe in New York City and also has worked at the Regent Wall Street, at English’s Olives Aspen in the Aspen St. Regis Hotel, at the Palace Hotel in San Fransisco, at Hotel Phillips in Kansas City. He also founded Dog Nuvo in Kansas City with Harry Blasco.

He lives in Wichita.

The Ambassador Wichita will be a 14-story, 117-room luxury boutique hotel. Siena Tuscan Steakhouse will be a fine-dining restaurant featuring traditional dishes from the Tuscany region of Italy. The 2,400-square-foot restaurant will have floor-to-ceiling windows, seating for 100 and a 500-square-foot patio facing Douglas. It will be visible from the street and is expected to open at the same time the hotel does.

It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, provide catering for events at the hotel and serve hotel guests as well as locals.

Question of the week: What food truck is Wichita lacking?

Espresso To Go Go is one of the newest mobile food vendors in Wichita's fleet.

I love the fact that the food trucks in Wichita keep multiplying. In this week’s dining story for Go!, I’ve listed the half dozen or so that have popped up over the past year.  Wichita now has mobile vendors offering things such as coffee, cupcakes, hot dogs, sandwiches, tacos and more.

But all this goodness makes me want more goodness. Now I’m craving a food truck that specializes just in gourmet tacos. I’d take a sushi food truck. Or maybe one that sells various types of banh mi Vietnamese sandwiches.

What kind of food truck would you open if you had the money and talent?

Answer in the comments section below.

Gindi now specializes in Asian burgers

Gindi, the Asian food/ sushi place at 7010 W. 21st St. N. that opened in January of 2009, has a new owner — and a new concept.

Phillip Say said he recently bought the restaurant from Roungaroon “Lou” Kumgool, who opened Dawn Thai Steakhouse & Sushi Bar at 1220 N. Rock Road in Derby earlier this year.  He’s changed the name, slightly, to Gindi Asian Gourmet Burgers, and he’s populated the menu with burgers made with Asian flavors and toppings. Monday was his first day executing the new concept.

Say has kept a few of the Thai dishes and sushi items previously available at Gindi, but he wants customers to try his Asian burger concept. He makes his own buns and makes his patties from fresh beef, topping them with ingredients such as wasabi, kimchi, cilantro, green onions, fried eggs, Sriacha sauce and more. He also has salmon burgers and serves fries. The burgers average around $5, he said.

Say is a little concerned that people won’t know that the concept has changed, since the name and signage remain mostly unchanged, and will miss out on trying his Asian burgers, popular in the big city but unknown here, he said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 316-729-5855.

My Tho will reopen next week

My Tho, the popular Vietnamese restaurant at 500 E. Central, finally has a reopening date, and owners say it is definite for sure this time: Sept. 4, which is a week from today.

The restaurant, which has been closed since June for sprucing and remodeling, will have new floors, new ceilings and more seating in the area of the restaurant that previously held pool tables.

Everything is finished, but Sept. 4 feels like a lucky day to the owners, their son said. It’s a Tuesday, and the restaurant is normally closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But during the first week back, they’ll be open both Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, they’ll resume the old hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays.

For more information, call 316-262-5452.

Local chefs to throw down Saturday, Iron Chef style

The Hyatt's Paul Freimuth will defend his Iron Chef on Saturday morning at the Old Town Farmer's Market.

The 10th annual Iron Chef Competition at the Old Town Farmers Market is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the market at First and Mosley.

The competition pits local chefs against each other, cooking live with a “secret ingredient” they learn about just as the competition begins. The reigning champion, Paul Freimuth from the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar will be there defending his title. His competition will be Nathan Toubia from Bocconcini Italian Eatery, Ben George from Tallgrass Country Club, and — in a public appearance first — Rob Schauf from The Flying Stove. (The chef is notoriously shy and usually lets his brother and partner, Jeff, do the talking and appearing.)

The Flying Stove will serve in Old Town Square that day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Old Town Farmer’s Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon.

Midwest Beerfest too big for old venue

Organizers of the Midwest Beerfest realized they had a problem during last year’s event — but it was a good problem.

The event, which each fall fills Century II’s Exhibition Hall with vendors serving up samples of more than 350 beers from around the world, drew a massive crowd last year. It was so massive, in fact, that it was hard to move around. See the photo I snapped here as evidence.

So the 12th annual Midwest Beerfest, scheduled for Sept. 22, will move to the much bigger Expo Hall. The date, beer fans will notice, is earlier than normal. Typically, the Beerfest takes place in October. But scheduled conflicts at Century II necessitated the date change.

Last year's Midwest Chickenfest contenders.

The event, as usual, will include food from local restaurants as well as a chicken wing contest, which the public can participate in.  This year, organizers also have added a “Reserve Room,” which will feature higher-end, higher alcohol-content beers plus food from the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport. Tickets to that room are an additional $25 and must be reserved in advance by calling 316-682-5502.

The day before the grand tasting, on Friday, Sept. 21, three different beer dinners will be staged: A Free State Brewery dinner at the Wichita Marriott, an Empyrean Bewing Company dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport, and a New Belgium Brewing Co. Dinner at Larkspur. The dinners will be at 7 p.m. and are $55 a person. The menus are available online at www.midwestbeerfest.com. 

Tickets to the Sept. 22 Grand Tasting are $40 and can be purchased at Century II’s WichitaTix box office, by calling 316-219-4TIX or online at www.wichitatix.com.

I’ll be back on Friday

Hello blog friends. I’m out of town on a work assignment until Friday but will resume blog posting then.

For the record, my assignment is in no way food related, but it’s in St. Louis, which means I’ll be doing some fabulous dining, hopefully on The Hill.

See you Friday.

Wichita’s newest “food truck” serves coffee

Warren and Ann Tandoc, owners of Espresso To Go Go

I’m pretty excited about the newest food truck in Wichita, even though it doesn’t serve food.

Warren and Ann Tandoc have just opened Espresso To Go Go, a coffee shop on wheels that will travel around Wichita just like The Flying Stove. 

This is the couple’s second week in business. The shop operates out of a giant 1973 Airstream Land Yacht that the Tandocs purchased and remodeled. They invited me aboard this morning, and it’s a pretty awesome inside, too.

Warren Tandoc opened Tanya’s Soup Kitchen with his sister, Tanya Tandoc, in March of 2011.

But the two parted ways shortly after the business opened. Warren and Ann say they’ve always wanted to work together, they said, and Warren has experience working in coffee shops in Lawrence and Overland Park.

They’re serving a menu that includes Vietnamese coffee, lattes, espresso and more. At the moment, I’m sipping on a delicious iced coffee I purchased this morning from the truck, which was parked in the lot at Ruben’s Mexican Grill, 520 W. Douglas.

The Tandocs are getting all their coffee from The Spice Merchant.

Like The Flying Stove, Espresso To Go Go will update its location on its Facebook page each day.

They’re only working through Wednesday of this week because they’re having some graphic elements added to the trailer later in the week.

On Tuesday, they’ll be at Wilson Estates at 8621 E. 21st St. from 8 to 1 p.m. On Wednesday, they’ll open in front of the old Tommy’s at 2121 N. Tyler Road from 8 to 1 p.m.

For more information, call 316-708-1990.