Monthly Archives: December 2012

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse opens Friday

Check out the awesome ice balls used at Siena Tuscan Steakhouse’s bar.

They’d originally hoped for a New Year’s Day opening. But managers of Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, the new restaurant inside the Ambassador Hotel at 104 S. Broadway, say it won’t open until dinnertime on Friday.

Its first time to be open to the public and serving from the menu will be Friday evening, when it will open for dinner. (There’s a big party in the hotel tonight, but the restaurant won’t be open in its usual capacity.)

The restaurant is now taking reservations. Starting on Saturday, the restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. It also will join the big Sunday brunch fray.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago outlining what would be on the menu, but I did not mention this very interesting ice ball making device the restaurant has. These balls are supposed to to be superior to cubes for chilling your whiskey and other drinks.

Here’s the restaurant’s new Facebook page, which features food shots, info and more. For reservations, call 316-239-7100.

Where to dine on Christmas Eve

Bocconcini Italian Eatery will be serving until tonight.

Restaurants are pretty unpredictable on Christmas Eve. Some are open regular hours. Some are closed entirely. Others shut down mid-afternoon.

We called around to some of Wichita’s most popular places to compile this list for Christmas Eve diners.

Here are a few places that will be open into the evening hours. If you don’t see your favorite on the list, call. Ya never know. (Unless your favorite is Old Chicago. They’re closing mid-afternoon.)

Bocconcini Italian Eatery, 4811 E. Central: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Chapada Chophouse and Churrascaria, 2142 N. Tyler Road: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ciao Italian Kitchen, 1720 N. Webb Road and 2121 N. Tyler Road: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Redrock Canyon Grill, 1844 N. Rock Road: Open 5 to 9 p.m.

Outback Steakhouse, 2020 N. Rock Road and 233 S. Ridge Road: Open 4 to 10 p.m.

Bonefish Grill, 10250 E.13th St.: Open 4 to 9 p.m.

Hereford House, 1400 Terradyne Drive, Andover: Open 5 to 9 p.m.

Chester’s Chophouse, 1550 N. Webb Road: Open 4:30 to 8 p.m. by reservation only

Newport Grill, 1900 N. Rock Road: Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Scotch and Sirloin, 5325 E. Kellogg: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

YaYa’s Euro Bistro, 8115 E. 21st St.: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A.V.I. Seabar and Chophouse, 135 N. Waco: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Hana Cafe, 315 N. Mead: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sabor, 309 N. Mead: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Granite City, 2244 N. Webb Road and 2661 N. Maize Road: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Logan’s Roadhouse, 353 S. Rock Road and 2424 N. Maize Road: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

BJ’s Brewhouse, 7960 E. Kellogg: Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sake Sushi, 650 N. Carriage Parkway: Open 4:30 to 10 p.m.

P.F. Chang’s, 1401 N. Waterfront Parkway: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Red Robin, 9990 E. 13th St.: Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On the Border, 1930 N. Rock Road and 2347 N. Maize Road: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

TGI Friday’s, 2441 N. Maize Road: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Christmas opening for casino’s steakhouse

The dining room at the Kansas Star Casino’s soon-to-open Woodfire Grille

The Kansas Star Casino’s fancy new steakhouse, Woodfire Grille, will open on Christmas Day.

The restaurant will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner, and those interested in visiting should make a reservation.

The steakhouse will be the last of the casino’s several permanent restaurants to open. Already open are The Kitchen Buffet, a 250-seat buffet restaurant that features chefs carving meat live; An Pho, a small Asian noodle bar; and Shark Bar, a sports bar that serves food and has bar seating only. The new Panini Jo’s, which is a deli, opens on Friday.

Woodfire Grille will be a fine-dining restaurant that will feature items such as steak, cedar plank salmon, Chilean sea bass, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque and more. When possible, chefs are using local products to prepare their dishes.

Executive chef Adam Correa at Kansas Star Casino’s new Woodfire Grille

The dining room is decorated with warm earth tones, deep red chairs, fireplaces and a wall of wine. Entrees, which are served with vegetables, will cost $19 and up. The seasonal menu will be updated four times a year.

Hours for Woodfire Grille are 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information and for reservations, call  316-719-5000.

The casino sent me a lot of pretty pictures of the restaurants for you viewing pleasure. They’re so pretty, I must share them all.

The Kitchen Buffet at the Kansas Star Casino

The lobby at the new Woodfire Grille

A beautiful shot of the desserts available at Woodfire Grille

Restaurants open on Christmas Day

Mmmmmm, the flavor of Christmas Day.

The chorus of demands for our annual list of restaurants open on Christmas reached a fever pitch this year. Lots of people are either sick of turkey, craving holiday fried rice, or just don’t feel like cooking on Christmas Day.

Here it is.

This year, our amazing intern Matt made the calls and found the usual list of Asian restaurants, hotel buffets and family diners. And TWO of Wichita’s Starbucks will be open on Christmas this year.

Later today, we’ll also provide the names of several restaurants that will be open on Christmas Eve, which has been the second-most requested list by readers.

Doo-Dah Diner changes hours

Doo-Dah Diner owner and chef Patrick Shibley, clowning in the kitchen

The Doo-Dah Diner at 206 E. Kellogg  may possibly have been misnamed, says owner Timirie Shibley.

The restaurant, which has developed a steady word-of-mouth following since it opened three months ago, isn’t really all that diner-ish, customers have noted. The dishes, which include biscuits and gravy, meatloaf and chicken fried steak, all are fresh-made from scratch by Shibley’s husband, longtime restaurant fixture Patrick Shibley. The food might be a bit more cafe than diner, she says with a laugh, but c’est la vie.

Now, the restaurant is changing its hours because of a demand from customers. Previously, the restaurant’s only day off was Saturdays, but weekend breakfast seekers have been disappointed by that and asked the Shibleys to add Saturday service.

Starting this week, Doo-Dah diner’s new hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It’ll now be closed on Mondays.

The Shibleys just introduced a new breakfast special that’s a monster of a meal and includes half-servings of three of its most popular dishes — the crispy corn beef hash, the “Timmy’s Benny,” and the banana bread French toast. It’s “a meal and a half” at $12.99, Timirie said.

For more information, call 316-265-7011.

Cafe 402 inside the YMCA opens next week

The new Hyatt-run Cafe 402 in the Downtown YMCA should open on Wednesday.

Cafe 402, the Hyatt-owned and operated grab-and-go restaurant inside the schmancy new downtown YMCA at 402 N. Market, will open next week — probably on Wednesday, Hyatt managers say.

The cafe will serve a variety of salads and sandwiches as well as items such as tabouleh, hummus and yogurt parfaits. There’s also a long list of coffee drinks.

It’ll be open not only to YMCA members but also to members of the public who want to dash in the cavernous lobby and grab some food.

The central YMCA, which opened on Monday, is the only YMCA in Wichita with a cafe. It’s one of very few in the country, too, said the Hyatt’s general manager Stephen Stewart.

Hours will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 316-264-9374.

Changes at Charlie’s Pizza Taco

Behold: the Pizza Taco

Wichita isn’t Pratt.

So the owners of Wichita’s Charlie’s Pizza Taco, which opened last November at 602 N. Tyler Road, has made some adjustments as it learns to adjust to its Wichita audience.

They’ve added some things to the menu, including a half-pizza taco with chips, chili con queso and pico for $6.50 at the lunch hours. They’ve also added a pizza taco made with chicken.

The restaurant now has a patio for outdoor seating plus live music and $1 beer draws on Friday and Saturday nights. Owners also are getting Charlie’s getting involved with charity projects around town, and those who come in to the restaurant with a church bulletin can get 10 percent of  the cost of their meal donated back to their church.

A pizza taco, by the way, is a beautiful invention that’s pizza in flavor and taco in shape. You can read my review of the restaurant here.

Charlie’s Pizza Taco has operated at 105 W. First in Pratt since 1965. The Wichita location was opened a year ago by founder Charlie Hoffman’s son, Dave, and his brother-in-law, Tim Holmes.

Anna Murdoc’s feeding late-night munchies

The owner of Anna Murdoc’s Cafe, which opened in July at 209 E. William, has decided he wants to feed the after-bar crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.

Last weekend, owner Gerard Rodriguez added late-night hours and now plans to open the cafe from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

He’ll be serving a rotating menu of dishes that will appeal to overnight diners, such as juevos rancheros, sushi and more. He’ll post the menu on the cafe’s Facebook page around 9:30 p.m. each night. (The cafe does not serve alcohol.)

Anna Murdoc’s also will offer a variety of live entertainment.

In its daytime life, Anna Murdoc’s serves breakfast and lunch, coffee drinks and more from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 316-771-5051.

Flying Stove’s first birthday party

The Flying Stove’s first day in business was Dec. 8, 2011.

A year and hundreds of servings of crying tiger Thai tacos, Umami burger and rolled chicken doobies later, Wichita’s original food truck is celebrating its first birthday surrounded by a bunch of restaurants-on-wheels that followed in its footsteps tire tracks.

The Flying Stove’s owners and operators, brothers Jeff and Rob Schauf, have organized another food truck rally, scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22 in the parking lot south of Intrust Bank Arena at Commerce and Waterman. Many of Wichita’s food trucks will participate, including  B.S. Sandwich PressMMM Sandwiches, Cakeface Bake Shop and Espresso To Go Go. Those same truckers got together in October for a Halloween-themed food truck rally.

If all of you cooperate and vote correctly, I will be reunited with this amazing banh mi sandwich on Dec. 22.

The brothers will be serving free birthday cake and selling their new T-shirts at the Dec. 22 event.

The most exciting part (to me, anyway) is that they’ll also be serving a menu of their greatest food hits from the past year, as voted on by their customers.

The Flying Stove’s Facebook page has on it a slide show of some of the truck’s most popular dishes, including my all time favorite banh mi sandwich. They’re asking customers to vote for their favorites by “liking” the pictures. The top vote getters will make it on to the new menu, which will be served at the rally.

I beg of you all: VOTE FOR THE BANH MI!!!!!!!!!

Voting is open through Friday. Go to the Facebook page and look for the post that’s titled “2012 Greatest Hits Menu.”

A sneak peek at Siena Tuscan Steakhouse

Every time I’ve driven past the under-construction Ambassador Hotel at Douglas and Broadway over the past few months, I’ve wondered what’s going on behind the paper in the windows.

This afternoon, Marshall Roth, the executive chef at the hotel’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, offered to show me.

He gave me a tour first of the 14th floor “Rock Star” suite (amazing), followed by a look at some of the more standard guest rooms plus the hotel’s new banquet and meeting rooms.

Chef Marshall Roth tests out a just-installed banquette in the bar of the about-to-open Siena Tuscan Steakhouse inside the Ambassador Hotel.

We finished the tour at the almost-complete restaurant, where workers were busy putting together bar tables, rolling in new banquette seating and unpacking dishes in the shiny and sparkly kitchen. The dining room is classy and comfortable, with a black/red/grey color scheme. It seats 60, and the bar has another 35 seats.

The plates, bowls, platters and more were the most exciting part for Roth, who said that opening the boxes was like Christmas for him. He spent weeks choosing exactly the right silverware and German made-dishware he wanted. The ones he chose, he said, will give guests a feeling of quality and luxury as soon as they sit down.

Chairs waiting to find their spots inside Siena Tuscan Steakhouse.

He also let me peruse the menu he’s working on, which won’t be set until he does final-stage recipe testing and VIP tastings during the next several weeks. At the moment, it contains several interesting dishes, such as a panzanella salad, first-course pasta dishes such as mushroom risotto, several steaks, a pork osso bucco dish, a seafood stew known as cioppino, and “duck fat fries,” which are French fries cooked in duck fat.

Chef Roth’s beloved German clay dishes, which just arrived.

The restaurant will have a “soft opening” after Christmas, which is for invited guests. Then, it’ll be used as part of the hotel’s grand opening New Year’s Eve event. It should be open for regular service to the public on Jan. 1, Roth said.

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. I’ll update you as construction gets closer to complete.